The area along the shore between Digby and Yarmouth is often called the "French Shore" for good reason. This area does not only offer dramatic beauty of ocean views, it is the home of Nova Scotia's largest Acadian population. You will often hear Acadian French being spoken, a distinct dialect with many old-French words. The bilingual inhabitants along this shore are descendants of the first European settlers, who came from France in the early 1600s. After the Expulsion of 1755, many of Nova Scotia's Acadians came to this area years later to build new communities, turning to the sea for their livelihood. You’ll see Stella Maris - the Acadian flag – flying from many of the houses. You can recognize this flag by the tri-colours with a single star in the blue portion, representing their patron Saint Maria.

Some interesting facts:

  • Meteghan is the French Shore’s busiest port, settled in 1785. Scallop draggers, trawlers, herring seiners, and cod and lobster boats anchor here.
  • Sunset along the French Shore
  • Meteghan is also home to one of the oldest home La Vieille Maison Museum, where you can step back in time for a taste of l9th-century Acadian life.
  • Smugglers Cove thanks its name to its role during the rum-running days
  • The spire of St. Mary’s Church at Church Point, which rises an impressive 56 m (185 ft.) above the surrounding countryside, is ballasted with 36 tonnes (40 tons) of rock to resist swaying caused by the often-powerful winds of St. Mary's Bay.
  • St. Mary's Church is the largest wooden church in North America.
  • Powered by the Meteghan River, the Bangor Sawmill, a 19th century water-powered turbine lumber mill, is among the last functioning sawmills of its kind in North America.

Things to do:

  • Visit some of the amazing churches along this shore. They represent a great part of local heritage and culture. The St. Mary’s Church at Church Point is the largest wooden church in North America, the Sacred Heart Church at Saulnierville (one of the oldest churches in the area) and the church at St. Bernard are a couple of good choices.
  • Learn about Acadian Culture at  Rendez-Vous de la Baie Centre: a great little cafe, Acadian Culture interpretive centre and more await you. This place is located right on the Saint Anne's University grounds in Church Point.
  • About 1 km (0.5 mi.) north of Meteghan River Bridge, turn right on Placide Comeau Road and watch for signs leading to St. Benoni waterfalls.
  • Visit the Bangor Saw Mill, one of the last functioning sawmills of its kind in North America.
  • Visit Mavillette Beach Provincial Park, which offers a lovely long expanse of sand and dunes. This beach is a favorite with beachcombers for its wealth of attractive seashells that are brought in with each new tide.
  • Smugglers Cove Provincial Park affords a splendid view of St. Mary's Bay. A small path leads down to a pebble beach and a natural cave that was used to store contraband rum during the days of Prohibition.
  • Walk along the 5 kilometer trail hugging the shore of the Acadian Coast and freshwater wetlands at Belliveaus Cove. While on this trail, stop to visit the first Acadian cemetery and The Little Chapel or "La petite Chapelle". A monument erected beside the chapel describes the historical significance of this site.
  • Try a rappy pie at one of the restaurants along the way for lunch, or go for a nice seafood chowder.

The Yarmouth and Acadian Shores website actually has some great information on things to do along the way and is well worth a visit when planning your trip through this area.

Getting here (if you don't have a car):

  • Rent a car for the day from Enterprise.
  • Take a bicycle. The only way to really be able to do this is if you take Kings Transit until Weymouth, from where you can continue by bicycle. The Kings Transit will cost you $3,50 one-way – your bicycle can go on front of the bus.
  • Hook up with guests who may have a car and similar plans :-)