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Life on the Islands

Like some other places associated with a long association with the sea, there is a tradition on the Isles-de-la-Madeleine of painting houses in bright colours; on these islands, it is usually combined with contrasting trim on the windows and doors. The first permanent settlers here were Acadians who settled here after they were expelled from their original homesteads in the Maritimes. Before that time, native Mi'kmaq and Basque fisherman had visited the islands.


Many homes overlook the ocean. At La Grave on Ile du Havre-Aubert, there are a number of souvenir shops and cafes in older wooden buildings; there are also fishing boats tied up at the wharf here. Apparently, this island was the one that gave the islands their English name. Champlain called this island "La Magdalene" on a map dated 1632; he called the group of island "Îles Ramées". Officially, the "Isles-de-la-Madeleine" were named after Madeleine Fontaine, the wife of Sieur François Doublet, a French seigneur put in charge of the islands. grave


A ferry travels between Souris on Prince Edward Island and Cap-aux-Meules, the main settlement on the islands.