The DOM-TOMS (France outside of France)

I don’t remember how we got on the subject (I was probably going on and on about Quebec again), but David mentioned a few weeks ago that he can ask to be transferred to St. Pierre et Miquelon. These tiny islands south of Newfoundland are not even an overseas département, but a collectivité territoriale. They are the only remaining former North American colony of New France still under French control. And even though the islands are 16 miles from Newfoundland, the culture is still very French and not North American. The currency is the euro, electrical outlets and phone jacks are French, and most cars are Renaults or Peugeots. Even the milk is imported from France. Though there is one major American aspect. The houses are made of wood and painted in bright colors, with tambours attached to the front doors (I’m not sure what this is called in English) to  allow extra space to wipe snow off boots before entering the house.

The population is only just above 6,000, with 90% of the inhabitants living in St. Pierre and the rest in Miquelon. The original French settlers were Basque, Breton and Norman fishermen so today there is an annual Basque festival and the accent spoken is similar to Norman French. The weather can often be windy and rainy in the summer (highs in 60-70 F range) with a lot of fog and winters are snowy but not bitter cold. The more I learn about this place, the more intrigued I am. And I already checked to make sure they have high-speed internet (1723 households subscribe to DSL, which is a huge percentage of the overall population) since I could not live without internet. David & I were already planning on visiting Montréal and Québec next summer for vacation, so why not stop in St. Pierre too? Maybe we’ll decide it would be a nice adventure to move there, even for only a year or two.

And then I started thinking about the other DOM-TOMs (overseas departments and territories) and how we could live in such distant and unique places that belong to République Française, but are not in France. Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy are in the Caribbean; Guyane is in South America, La Réunion and Mayotte are in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, Nouvelle-Calédonie, Polynésie Française, and Wallis et Futuna are in the Pacific Ocean. I’m not even sure which TOMs David could work in, since we originally thought he could only work in the DOMs (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, and La Réunion).  With the exception of Guyane, all are islands and I have never lived on an island before. I think I would get a little restless not being able to go on long car trips and knowing that I had to take a plane to go anywhere else. So now I’m thinking I’d rather just visit all the DOM-TOMs, like Rosie Millard is doing, just to experience how far French culture and language extends around the world. Of course we’ve still got several régions in France métropole to visit, including Corsica. Someday I will see all of France. Someday!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed.
  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Brandi

    Hmm… If I had a choice between an island off the coast of CANADA and an island in the Caribbean. Frozen tundra vs Tropical Island. Tough decision;-) I would be begging to be in Martinque or Guyane.
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Got iPhone? =-.

  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Brandi

    Hmm… If I had a choice between an island off the coast of CANADA and an island in the Caribbean. Frozen tundra vs Tropical Island. Tough decision;-) I would be begging to be in Martinque or Guyane.
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Got iPhone? =-.

  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com/ Sally

    Wow – I had never heard of this place either. Thanks for your informative blog post!
    .-= Sally´s last blog ..Naked cyclists =-.

  • http://twentyeighthofmay.wordpress.com Sally

    Wow – I had never heard of this place either. Thanks for your informative blog post!
    .-= Sally´s last blog ..Naked cyclists =-.

  • http://boeingbleudemer.blogspot.com/ Cynthia

    Lol I do not hold St. Pierre et Miquelon close to my heart since there are issues between the island and Canada.

    By the way Montreal is such a great city ;)
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Musée Cernuschi =-.

  • http://boeingbleudemer.blogspot.com/ Cynthia

    Lol I do not hold St. Pierre et Miquelon close to my heart since there are issues between the island and Canada.

    By the way Montreal is such a great city ;)
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Musée Cernuschi =-.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com/ David

    St Pierre & Miquelon…
    Not the best choice.
    If you can survive the weather (but living in Savoie, I assume you can), you’ll still have to survive the people (that you’re kinda forgetting in the picture, I feel).
    A friend of mine lived there for a couple of years, and he hated it, not because of the remoteness or the crap weather, but because of the people.
    Most backward and closed people he’s ever met (and he also mentioned widespread alcoholism and inbreeding, which doesn’t surprise me)…

    Now, you do what you want…
    But yeah, if you want to go to a DOM, there are many more interesting choices (all of them actually)
    .-= David´s last blog ..The Story of Stuff =-.

  • http://davidsswamp.blogspot.com David

    St Pierre & Miquelon…
    Not the best choice.
    If you can survive the weather (but living in Savoie, I assume you can), you’ll still have to survive the people (that you’re kinda forgetting in the picture, I feel).
    A friend of mine lived there for a couple of years, and he hated it, not because of the remoteness or the crap weather, but because of the people.
    Most backward and closed people he’s ever met (and he also mentioned widespread alcoholism and inbreeding, which doesn’t surprise me)…

    Now, you do what you want…
    But yeah, if you want to go to a DOM, there are many more interesting choices (all of them actually)
    .-= David´s last blog ..The Story of Stuff =-.

  • http://toutesdirectionspourlafrance.blogspot.com/ L

    You should watch La Veuve de St Pierre, a great movie with Juliette Binoche et Daniel Auteil. It’s set in the 19th century, so not representative of current life on the islands, but I imagine the winters are just as tough.
    .-= L´s last blog ..RAPPORT DE STAGE FINISHED!!! =-.

  • http://toutesdirectionspourlafrance.blogspot.com L

    You should watch La Veuve de St Pierre, a great movie with Juliette Binoche et Daniel Auteil. It’s set in the 19th century, so not representative of current life on the islands, but I imagine the winters are just as tough.
    .-= L´s last blog ..RAPPORT DE STAGE FINISHED!!! =-.

  • S

    My husband is from Reunion, and I have to say it’s an amazing place. Well worth a visit, although I’m not sure you’d survive long if you don’t have a high tolerance to chili!
    I’m fascinated by the idea of being born in a tiny island in the indian ocean, but having an identity as a french person. Maybe one day it’ll be the topic of a thesis, who knows :p
    Just something to think about; many DOM residents refer to the metropole as ‘l’outre mer’, not the other way around. Who’s to say that the islands are DOMs, and not the opposite?

  • S

    My husband is from Reunion, and I have to say it’s an amazing place. Well worth a visit, although I’m not sure you’d survive long if you don’t have a high tolerance to chili!
    I’m fascinated by the idea of being born in a tiny island in the indian ocean, but having an identity as a french person. Maybe one day it’ll be the topic of a thesis, who knows :p
    Just something to think about; many DOM residents refer to the metropole as ‘l’outre mer’, not the other way around. Who’s to say that the islands are DOMs, and not the opposite?

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com/ Leah

    Ah, I see the connection now that I actually read blogs again! I say if you’re already over thatta way, why not visit it and give it a chance? As for living on a tropical island, it definitely would be an experience, you might as well look into it!

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com Leah

    Ah, I see the connection now that I actually read blogs again! I say if you’re already over thatta way, why not visit it and give it a chance? As for living on a tropical island, it definitely would be an experience, you might as well look into it!

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    I’m not sure St Pierre and Miquelon is that nice. It’s supposed to be cold and isolated, even by Canadian standards! In fact, I only really learned about it in Canada.

    I can see that Martinique and Guadeloupe are still quite close to France. A friend of mine is teaching in La Réunion too.

    But the Pacific islands… that’s crazy to think it still “belongs” to France!
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Developing Interview Skills (6/10) =-.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    I’m not sure St Pierre and Miquelon is that nice. It’s supposed to be cold and isolated, even by Canadian standards! In fact, I only really learned about it in Canada.

    I can see that Martinique and Guadeloupe are still quite close to France. A friend of mine is teaching in La Réunion too.

    But the Pacific islands… that’s crazy to think it still “belongs” to France!
    .-= Zhu´s last blog ..Developing Interview Skills (6/10) =-.

  • http://www.rosiemillard.co.uk/ Rosie Millard

    Having just got back from touring the world via the Dom-Toms I have to say its an incredible experience. The most challenging, without doubt…Guyane. The most beautiful…La Reunion. The most glam…Polynesie. The coldest…St Pierre et Miquelon. And so on. Have a look out for our films about the six that we visited, on the Travel Channel from Jan onwards, or check out the blog – http://www.rosie-millard.co.uk.
    Good luck!

  • http://www.rosiemillard.co.uk Rosie Millard

    Having just got back from touring the world via the Dom-Toms I have to say its an incredible experience. The most challenging, without doubt…Guyane. The most beautiful…La Reunion. The most glam…Polynesie. The coldest…St Pierre et Miquelon. And so on. Have a look out for our films about the six that we visited, on the Travel Channel from Jan onwards, or check out the blog – http://www.rosie-millard.co.uk.
    Good luck!

  • Alex

    Bonjour! J’aime votre site! Je l’ai trouvé au hasard en faisant des recherches pour un projet concernant l’industrie touristique en France. Présentement j’étudie à Aix-en-Provence (j’ai vu que Provence est un des régions ou vous aimeriez vivre!) et je voulais vous dire que toutes les choses nord américaines que vous manquent me manquent aussi! Surtout le fromage « cheddar » … Bref, merci de votre site, ciao!

  • Alex

    Bonjour! J’aime votre site! Je l’ai trouvé au hasard en faisant des recherches pour un projet concernant l’industrie touristique en France. Présentement j’étudie à Aix-en-Provence (j’ai vu que Provence est un des régions ou vous aimeriez vivre!) et je voulais vous dire que toutes les choses nord américaines que vous manquent me manquent aussi! Surtout le fromage « cheddar » … Bref, merci de votre site, ciao!

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

Support ielanguages.com

The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 or paperback book for $29.95.