Houses in living color in Saint-Pierre-et- Miquelon

Inspiration

Saint-Pierre-et-MiquelonCultural Heritage

Woning op het Ile aux Marins, behorend bij de archipel Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
© Madame Oreille - Woning op het Ile aux Marins, behorend bij de archipel Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 30 June 2023

If there's one thing that surprises any visitor to the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon archipelago, it's how colorful the houses are! Check out the whole vibrant spectrum below.

Saint-Pierre, urban way

Vue sur la ville de Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Vue sur la ville de Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

Although there are a few stone buildings in Saint-Pierre, most of the town is still made up of wooden houses, often very colorful, reminiscent of Nordic countries like Finland or Greenland as well as mainland Canada.

Wooden houses

Maison en bois, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Maison en bois, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

The forests of the archipelago do not allow for extensive lumber exploitation: the trees are small and grow very slowly. The wood for the houses, therefore, comes mainly from Canada or the eastern United States. As early as the 19th century, when the oldest local houses were built, oak, beech, maple and cherry boards arrived in Saint-Pierre by boat. Building wooden houses was also a financial choice, as this material was much less expensive than stone or brick.

Hygge spirit

Maison en bois, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Maison en bois, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

The houses of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon are all different but form a harmonious whole. All are shingled, with unshuttered windows (almost) always decorated with patterned curtains. The home's entrances are through the drum, a typical small airlock, where one can take off one's shoes and coat without bringing the cold into the house.

The grey house

Maison grise, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Maison grise, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

The grey house was once a saltworks: a warehouse where fishermen could store their equipment. It now houses the part of the Ile aux Marins museum dedicated to dories, the traditional boats of the region.

Dare to be bold

Maison à Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Maison à Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

In the past, to protect it, the wood of doors and windows was coated with red or yellow ochre-based paint mixed with an odd ingredient—cod liver oil! This oil, once a dreaded cure-all for children, was abundant, as cod was one of the most plentiful fish at the time. As for the bright colors of the Saint-Perraises and Miquelonnaises houses, they date back to the 1950s: the inhabitants used the remains of the paint intended for the boats to paint their houses.

Always more color!

Vue sur la ville de Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
© Madame Oreille - Vue sur la ville de Saint-Pierre, à Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon

Purple facade and green window frames. Red facade and white doors. Orange and blue, yellow and green, green and orange, mauve and pink, blue and white—the inhabitants of Saint-Pierre take great pleasure in displaying bright colors throughout the town, sometimes attempting daring associations. Winter is undoubtedly milder when you spend surrounded in color, don't you think?

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