No typo here! You can indeed drive from Canada to France, and this summer, I’ll show you how to do it in an electric vehicle. So, if you are wondering how to drive to France from Canada, I’ve got you covered.
In this post, I will share the many considerations and factors that went into planning my trip to Saint Pierre & Miquelon including ferry schedules, insurance coverage, and charging a North American EV in a European country.
What and Where is Saint Pierre & Miquelon?
Tucked off the southern shores of Newfoundland is a somewhat secretive gem. Saint Pierre & Miquelon are 100% French owned and just a 1.5-hour ferry ride away from Canada.
This collection of eight archipelago islands has a population of around 6,000 French-speaking inhabitants. The currency is the Euro and their croissants, reportedly, are legit.
Originally claimed by Jaques Cartier for France in 1536, the islands have a unique history of bouncing back and forth between British and French control. Along the way, there were debates on joining the USA and years of smuggling booze during prohibition. The flip-flopping of control continued all the way up to 1958 when a referendum passed to make the islands a territory of France.
Today it remains a relatively unknown and unique part of France…and I want to drive there in an EV.
That said, before breaking down my day-to-day plans, let’s look at some of the unique considerations you need to take to drive from Canada to France in an electric or ICE vehicle.
Ferry to Saint Pierre & Miquelon
Being a collection of islands, the drive from Canada to France includes a ferry or two depending on where you start your trip.
To access the French islands by car, visitors must take a ferry from Fortune, Newfoundland. To get to Newfoundland from mainland Canada you can take a ~7-hour ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port Aux Basque on the west coast of Newfoundland or a ~16-hour ferry to Argentia which is closer to both Fortune and St.John’s. Both routes offer sleeper cabins however, as I would find, space is limited.
The schedule is seasonal but typically runs twice a day. Make sure to check the latest routes and rates for your planning purposes.
Alternatively, you may be able to rent a car in St.John’s however I would check with the company to ensure you can take it across the border to France.
Saint Pierre Ferry
The ferry service to Saint Pierre and Miquelon is operated by SPM. As of writing this, there is no online booking service for taking a car from Fortune to Saint Pierre. This makes things a bit cumbersome as you have to email the ferry company for availability and reservations. On the positive, the email response is quick.
You can see the schedule online which helps in planning. Be sure to check for your specific dates as the times shift seemingly at random.
In total, the return ferry crossing cost to Saint Pierre is 150 euro for the vehicle and 75 euro for me as a passenger.
There is another ferry to Miquelon from Saint Pierre (and Fortune) that I am debating taking. Saint Pierre is the hub city whereas Miquelon is an outdoor adventure escape. There is a scenic road down a long spit of sand that I would like to drive however this will be dependent on if I can charge the car in Saint Pierre. More to come on that.
Insurance Coverage for Driving in Saint Pierre & Miquelon
One caveat to driving your vehicle on Saint Pierre & Miquelon is that you have to have insurance coverage. I was told you will be asked and denied entry if you do not have adequate coverage.
I called my insurance company in British Columbia to see if I would be covered to drive my vehicle in France. The correspondence was comical, to say the least. After much back and forth trying to explain that France owns islands off the coast of Newfoundland with ferry service it was determined that my insurance would not cover me.
Through emails with the ferry company, they advised that if you are not covered you can buy third-party insurance directly at the border. The catch is that the shortest package is 30 days at a whopping 140 euros (~$200 CAD). I am continuing to follow up to see if there are cheaper options and will share them here if I am successful.
EV Charging in Saint Pierre & Miquelon
I will get into this in more detail below in my day-to-day plan, however, as of writing this, I have been unable to confirm if there is any EV charging infrastructure in Saint Pierre & Miquelon. There are no Plugshare listings and emails to the tourism board have gone unanswered. I would be surprised if they have any EV infrastructure.
To be safe, I confirmed with my bed and breakfast that they have an exterior plug I can use. What type of plug that is, well that is still in question. I am getting no replies from the host but suspect it is a Schuko outlet which France uses. Obviously, this requires an adapter to charge my Tesla.
I looked into what adapters Tesla sells for use in France and came across the Schuko Adapter. Perfect right? Well, if you have followed any of my other stories dealing with Tesla, nothing is easy with them.
I went into a Tesla shop to first see if the North American mobile charger would accept this adapter. Trying to explain the scenario to the Tesla rep was painfully hard.
After several minutes of back-and-fourth explaining how to drive to France from Canada and why I needed this adapter, the Tesla rep went away to ask if this was possible. He came back and confirmed that yes, the mobile adapter could accept the adapter however there was no way to order it in Canada. 🤦
I have a really hard time with these scenarios where people can’t think critically – contact someone in a Tesla shop in Europe, put it in a box and send it to Vancouver. Because this is out of the norm, Tesla would not help so I had to look for other options.
Sure enough, I tried ordering the adapter online but since I didn’t have a European address, I could not. I then came across forward2me.com, a UK repackaging company and had the adapter sent to them to, in turn, send it to me. The adapter cost £46 and the extra shipping cost was negligible. Let’s hope it works!
Update: I ended up skipping the repackaging service and ordered through evseadapters.com. They sell their own Tesla and EV adapters and ship to USA and Canada. I also picked up a TT-30 adaptor for RV park charging.
How to Drive to France From Canada – Daily Plan
With ferries, accommodations, and charging options (hopefully) sorted, I have put together my route and daily charging plan which you can find here. Have a look through for a more detailed rundown of how to drive to France from Canada in an electric vehicle. I will also follow up with actuals in a road trip report once all is said and done.
Until then, as always, you can follow along with updates from the road through my Instagram stories.
Buying a Tesla? Use this referral link to get up to $1,000 off PLUS 3 Months of Full Self-Driving!!*
*As of May 2023 Tesla has updated their referral program to a points system. 1,500 credits = 500 mi/KM. Points can be redeemed for car accessories and Tesla swag as well.