St-Pierre, part 1
Did I mention foggy in my last blog? How about thick as pea soup. We were in the harbour in Saint-Pierre and couldn’t tell!!! Unfortunately, we had to cancel a tour of the island by minivan which would have been very interesting. Instead, we walked up and down the back streets which were chock full of brightly coloured houses that stood out in the haze.
How can you tell you’re in France, you ask??
E-VE-RY-thing is French, from the doorknobs, street signs, street poles, boucheries, boulangeries, Peugots, fast moving cars on narrow streets…and the smell of fresh bread baking. Yep, that got to me!
We are sleeping at the brand new Hotel Jacques Cartier, a very modern urban-style design with luxurious rooms that still maintain a warm atmosphere and all the modern amenities. Don’t forget your power converters…They’re French, remember?
If we had arrived by cruise ship, it would have been a 20-minute walk from the wharf to the Place de Gaulle centre, but from the hotel, it’s only 15 seconds away.
Another foggy day forced two more cancelations, namely a tour to Miquelon and Langlade,(so sorry we missed that…) and a tour of the coast by zodiac. Soooo, on to plan B…
more walks and a not-to-be-missed visit: The Prohibition Tour. You think you heard the story…you haven’t… there is so much more. In 1922, in St-Pierre, the importing and exporting of over 300,000 bottles of liquor a month changed things. The trade, which lasted only 12 years and was perfectly legal, altered the life of St-Pierrais in that, through small duties paid on each bottle, and on ships coming in port, the local government was able to pave roads, install water and sewage systems, build schools, etc., and thus bring the island into the modern age. The visit includes a tour of the Maison Héritage, a private museum housed in what used to be the place of business of Mr. Morazé, well know “homme d’affaires” I was treated to scenes of days gone by: a classroom, an operating room and surgical instruments, a chapel along with religious items, more dories, and old photographs of St-Pierre’s bustling harbour.
In the prohibition display, you can see actual FULL cases of FULL cognac bottles, now well over 80 years old! Don’t bother offering to buy them. They’ve had offers before…very generous offers, but the museum’s owner, Mr. Chatel, insists his collection is his passion, not his business.
On the upper floor, you‘ll admire a huge mural painted by Mr. Olierro and showing the history of St-Pierre. Many of the people who played a role in the town’s growth are hidden within the scene. I could have stayed there for two days… We finished the tour with a slideshow while sipping an Orangina at the Chat-Luthier bar.
Our last stop was at the Délices de Joséphine, a tea room offering specialty teas and great pastries made on the premises. They also offer light lunches (they close at 6 pm). Ms. Patricia Jugan, the owner, also operates a small B&B next door called Nuits St-Pierre and sells knitted scarves and tuques made from Alpaca wool under the brand name Mailles de Brume, a knitting club-turned small business. Ooohhh!! so soft… perfect for today’s cool and damp weather. Bring it on! I’m ready for more fog. Too bad they’re giving sunny weather tomorrow….