Image: At the heart of the French Shore

Grandois/St. Julien’s is located 10 km north of Croque along Route 438.

St. Julien Island appears on the earliest maps of Newfoundland. The French fished in the area as early as the 1500s. Along with the nearby harbours of Grandois and St. Julien, this was a popular destination for French vessels because of its close proximity to the administrative headquarters at Croque. Grandois, pronounced GRAND-swah, comes from the French Les Grandes Oyes, meaning Great Geese. Bricks from French bread ovens, gravesites and engravings have been found throughout the area.

In 1822, the French hired George McGrath as the guardian of their fishing premises during the winter months. By 1857 other settlers had appeared, and after 1874, the French had moved most of their fishing operations farther north.

The permanent population of Grandois and St. Julien’s never surpassed 135 people and by the 1980s the smaller harbours had been vacated, with some of the people moving to Grandois. The fish plant by the government wharf operated until 1992 when the provincial fishing moratorium ended the 400-year tradition of inshore fishing in the region. Today’s community calls itself Grandois or St. Julien’s interchangeably.

As you arrive in Grandois/St.Julien’s along Route 438, you will see the broad expanse of Grandois Harbour and surrounding islands. A visit to this community includes:

St. William’s Church
Overlooking Grandois Harbour, the quaint St. William’s Church houses a wooden folk altar built by Jack Fitzgerald in the early 1900s.

St. Julien’s Boardwalk Trail
Just before you reach the community of Grandois, a 1.5 km boardwalk trail leads to an old French fishing site at St. Julien’s. Discrete traces of the once-bustling fishery remain along the trail. Barbecue pits, picnic tables and tent platforms are located along the trail.

French Point Trail
A rough walking trail leads across the harbour to an old French fishing site called French Point. There are two tent platforms and picnic tables along this trail.

Offshore Islands and Ghost Outports
A boat tour can be arranged to visit the resettled communities of St. Julien’s Island, Fischot Islands and Harbour de Vieux. Depending on the time of year, a boat trip to these sites offers close-up views of drifting icebergs and migrating whales.