Image: At the heart of the French Shore

The story of the French Shore - An intriguing history

Conche, Croque, Grandois/St. Julien's and Main Brook are located along a stretch of coastline known as the French Shore. In the early 1500s, European fishing crews of many nations began sailing across the North Atlantic for great stocks of cod reported by John Cabot.

The French Shore, located north-east on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada

By the 17th century, the Newfoundland cod fishery had become a significant part of the European economy and politics. English and French fleets soon dominated the fishery. Their struggle for control of the Newfoundland fishery played a continuing role in the European wars and treaties between 1689 and 1815. When the French lost control of Newfoundland in 1713, they negotiated the exclusive right to fish cod seasonally in designated Newfoundland waters referred to in treaties as the French Shore. These treaty rights remained until 1904.

Gravure of the French fishery

The French cod fishermen, most of whom came from Brittany and Normandy, only stayed in Newfoundland for the summer. Each year in early spring, French ships would arrive in Newfoundland, set up temporary bases to catch and dry cod, and sail back to Europe in the fall, their ships loaded with salt fish.

In the 1800s, while France was preoccupied with Napoleon's wars, Newfoundland settlers moved up the east coast within the boundaries of the French Shore. French captains began hiring settlers as caretakers or "guardians" to protect their fishing gear in the winter while they were back in France.

While no French have fished in our harbours for more than a century, there are signs of their presence everywhere. Along the shoreline trails they built, we have found the remains of bread ovens, pebble beaches for drying cod, and other traces of their daily routine on the French Shore. The French Shore Historical Society invites you to discover these intriguing vestiges of the French fishery, scattered throughout our 4 communities.



Housed in a former Grenfell nursing station in Conche, the French Shore Interpretation Centre highlights authentic French sites scattered throughout the French Shore communities of Conche, Croque and Grandois/St. Julien's. The exhibition takes visitors through the history of the French cod fishery on the northeast coast of the Great Northern Peninsula . From the earliest recorded voyages in the early 1500s until their last trips to tend a cemetery in Croque in the 1970s, the exhibition explores the lives of these French fishermen and the French society that sent them. The exhibition continues at historic sites and visitors' centres in each community.

A second exhibition room tells the story of the Irish and English settlers whose descendents make up today's communities.

Also housed in the French Shore Interpretation Centre is the French Shore Tapestry. A 217 foot long embroidery that is loosely based on the Bayeux Tapestry in France. This depicts the history of the French Shore. The embroidery work is done in the mainly in Bayeux Stitch.

Tapestry Small Image
Tapestry Large Image


Picnic area/public washrooms

Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(year round)

Saturday and Sunday
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(June to August)

Waterfront Properties
A landmark for the community of Croque, this charming row of wharves and storehouses represents the traditional architecture of the early 20th century inshore fishery.


Epine Cadoret Heritage Site
A short boardwalk trail from Route 438 leads to intriguing carvings left by 19th century French sailors.


Martinique Bay Shipwreck Site
In 1707, two French ships were burned and sunk during a confrontation between English warships and the trapped French fleet. In 1973, the submerged archaeological site was designated as a Provincial Site of Historic Significance. The French Shore Interpretation Centre displays objects retrieved at these historic shipwrecks.


French Cemetery
A simple French and English naval graveyard dating from the 1700s overlooks the waterfront. A French naval ship returned each year to maintain the cemetery until the 1970s.


Ghost Outports
Resettlement of remote outport communities in the 1960s has left ghost towns peppered throughout our harbours and offshore islands. A boat tour can be arranged to explore these haunting abandoned villages.


Boat Tours (summer only)
Gerry Bromley, Conche, (709) 622-4131
Paul Bromley, Conche, (709) 622-4155
Gerard Chaytor, Conche, (709)622-4306
Len Clarke, Grandois/St. Julien's, (709) 423-2202

Tuckamore Wilderness Lodge and Tours
Host: Barb Genge
1 Southwest Pond, P.O. Box 100
Main Brook, NL , A0K 3N0
Tel: (709) 865-6361
Fax: (709) 865-2112