Travel responsibly and sustainably

The Newcomer's Five Commandments


After three years as residents of the Magdalen Islands, we can now say that we know the area a little better. Still, there are a few things we wish someone had told us the moment we set foot on the Islands. So without any further ado, here are my five commandments for the newcomers.

1. Thou shalt not hope for the arrival of spring.

The friends you left on the mainland will envy your move to this paradise on earth. The exception? Spring, this mythical season that has never truly been observed on the Islands - or at least, not if your definition of spring includes sunny days and temperatures above 20 degrees. Here, spring rather rhymes with cold & rainy. When that time comes, you'll be the one envying your friends' backyard. Fortunately, we find our silver lining in the arrival of lobster, scallops and crab season!


2. Thou shalt make peace with the sand in your car.

To manage to keep your car clean on the Islands would require a miracle. There's not enough will in the world to keep the entire beach from filling up your car within weeks. Even during the winter. There's no avoiding it. And if you're real lucky, you'll even find some in your bed. All. Year. Long.

3. Thou shalt orient your car with the wind.

The Islanders have a sixth sense: they all instinctively know where the wind is coming from and, without even thinking about it, they park their car accordingly. Believe me, it'll only take you one door-in-the-wind metallic shriek to make that common practice a second nature.

4. Thou shalt not laugh at the Islanders complaining about traffic.

We were quite amused when we first heard our colleagues complain about the summertime traffic jams in Cap-aux-Meules. But better keep your worst jokes to yourself, it shouldn't take you long to understand (and share) their suffering.

The thing is, they're not wrong: making a left turn is close to impossible during the summer. After a couple of weeks, you'll start planning your route to go through all your errands without having to cut traffic. Oh, the time you'll save!

5. The lateness of transports thou shalt expect.

Insularity is felt the most when there's a need to leave. Thanks to storms and fog, the date and time of departure are always an estimate, never a guarantee. Seasoned travellers keep a "buffer" day between their ticket out of the Islands and their following travel arrangements, since 24-hour delays are unfortunately fairly common.

Guillaume & Stéphanie


There you have it! We still have much to learn, but that should give you a head start. In the light of our newfound insights, would we have done things differently? Absolutely not! The joy of living on the Islands overcomes it all and leaves us hungry for more.

So what would your commandments be? Any advice we missed?


Par Guillaume Pitre & Stéphanie Lepage

Born on the “mainland” and residents of the Îles de la Madeleine since a little over a year, the two of us are passionate about adventures, discoveries and gastronomy. It didn't take long for us to become two island lovers who are completely #fousdesiles!

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