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The majority of photos used in this website were taken in June and July of 2007. We endeavour to replace and update photos as formations change, but cannot always do so. Note that the formations may have changed since these images were taken.

A Natural Preserve

Brion Island, or Île-Brion, is an ecological reserve at the northern limit of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine archipeligo. It is approximately 16 kilometers from Grosse-Île. Although Brion has been populated at various times in history, it is today unpopulated and the best example of the original, "wild" state of the Magdalens. While most of the populated larger islands are notable for sea cliffs and vast expanses of treeless, grass covered hills, Brion sports the same cliffs and hills but is mostly covered with the original evergreens (although not completely, as the photo below shows). The key benefit to visiting Brion is to see the Magdalens as they once were.

As an added attraction, some 140 species of birds are reported to either live on or use Brion during their migratory routes. Like the rest of the archipeligo, one of the most striking species is the Thick-billed Murre -- better known as "Guillemots."

From the edge of Brion Island, looking toward Bird Rock. Public domain photo by Danielle Langlois.

Visitation is strictly controlled to minimize human impact. The best way to see the sanctuary is to join a charter cruise such as an ornithological tour offered by Centre Nautique de l’Istorlet. Trips to Brion are infrequent, limited in size, and require advance registration. Also be aware that early and late season trips are subject to cancellation due to weather conditions and/or lack of sufficient interest.

A brief word for beer drinkers: No visit to the Magdalen Islands is complete until you've tried the local brew, or Bière des Îles, called "Écume." This translates to "sea foam." They say that because the raw materials are kissed by salt spray, it has a special flavor. Whether or not that is factual, it has a certain terroir that is difficult to describe but simply tastes amazing. A perfect match to long sunny days in the Madeleines.

Brion Island Lighthouse. Public domain photo by Danielle Langlois.