(the current page displays the steps of a tourist circuit created by the CDÉNÉ. You can access the complete circuit by clicking here).

Days 6&7

  • Isle Madame: an island at the heart of an island, on the heritage coast of Cape Breton.

Do you feel a little tired after all these days of discovery and travel? An oasis of peace welcomes you. A sheltered place always adroit to family values and a simple way of life, where natural coastal landscapes of great beauty are offered to you; Isle Madame welcomes you.

Isle Madame is actually a collection of small islands interconnected by bridges. Long before the arrival of the Europeans, Mi'kmaq Indians had long frequented the area for the gathering of medicinal and ceremonial plants. Half way through the 16th century, the family Basques, attracted by the nearby fish-bearing waters, initially set up seasonal fishing camps. Later, they would inhabit to the area permanently. It was not until about 1640 that the first Acadian family (Fougère) came to stay there.

The defeat of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1758, and the destruction of all Acadian settlements along the coast at that time, led to the departure of the Acadian population.
The arrival of the Robin family in 1765, traders from Jersey, would restore the fishing industry and mark the return of Acadian families. Finally the arrival of Father François Lejantel accompanied by a contingent of 150 Acadians, deported to the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, would consolidate the Acadian presence in this region.

Today the names of Boudreau, Samson, LeBlanc and Landry, to name but a few, are still reside on Isle Madame. The regional genealogy is preserved at the community center La Picasse located in Petit-de-Grat. To learn more:

The traditional meat pie is always prepared in the area. This is a thick crust pie with topped beef cubes that have been simmered with onions and salted pork. Meat broth is used to disentangle the dough that will cover the bottom and top of the pie. Everything is then steamed.
Seafood and especially crustaceans are abundant on the island.

On the menu of the local Acadian speech:
it is "mal aisé" - it is not easy,
a "pigou" - a lock for lobster cages,
a "picasse" - an artisanal anchor fashioned from tree branches and stones as weight.

The local community Radio Richmond Cooperative Limited promotes local artists 104.1 FM.

The practice of sailing, sea kayaking and scuba diving is eased by the presence of many wharves and innumerable bays and coves around the island. Bird watching is also an activity of local interest.

The beautiful ecological trail of Cap-Auguet begins in Boudreauville, alongside a variety of coastal habitats over a distance of 9 kilometers. The splendor of the landscapes of Isle Madame is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for painters and photographers who appreciate the tranquility of the place to indulge freely in their art.

Isle Madame Historical Society & LeNoir Forge Museum
The Isle Madame Historical Society is a non-profit organization devoted to collecting and presenting the rich history of the local area.
Our site is made up of a Genealogy Centre, Community Archives, The LeNoir Forge Museum, The Boat Barn containing exhibits and information on our seafaring past, a gift shop and other shanties used for exhibits. Throughout each summer season we hold a variety of events that are open to the public.

LeNoir Forge Museum
The LeNoir Forge was originally built in 1793 by Thomas LeNoir and his brother Simon.
Both were natives of France. They were skilled locksmiths; however the monetary return for their labor was not as rewarding as hoped and they eventually returned to regular blacksmithing. During this period of history shipbuilding and repair was flourishing on Isle Madame. The forge produced materials that were used in this industry. By the end of the 19th century the heyday of wooden sailing ships was over, business dwindled and the forge eventually fell into disrepair.

The LeNoir Forge Museum houses a working forge operated by volunteers, a collection of tools and artifacts that tell some of the stories of the people of Isle Madame. The museum is open weekdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in June. In July and August, it is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00pm. The remainder of the year, the museum is open by appointment.

Pondville Beach and Martinique Provincial Park are also places to explore during your visit.

The Groundswell not only offers meals and accommodations, they also rent out kayaks, stand up paddleboards, surfboards and bicycles with all the equipment needed to make you experience safe. The trails and the waterways are exceptional in this area.

Isle Madame Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Festival
For all the music lovers out there of Bluegrass and old time country, come and tap your feet to the now annual event. Guaranteed to be toe tapping fun!

Isle Madame Yacht Race
The Arichat Cup, an in-harbour 16 mile race, for members from local yacht clubs, is a Canadian Yachting Association sanctioned yacht race.
For the past number of years, the Arichat Cup has been, making it an exciting close quarter race. Spectators are able to watch the event and follow the race from both sides of Arichat Harbour.
Always a good race with lots of steady winds, the Arichat Cup provides a venue for boaters to develop their sailing skills. The race has always been part of a weekend party (rendezvous) held in July (weather permitting) and includes good food and drink.

Petit-de-Grat Acadian Festival
On the second weekend of August, the community celebrates its culture with music, dance, a softball tournament, a community lunch, and an annual shark fishing tournament and other activities. Join the community in celebration! For more details on this festival, please visit

An outdoor music festival that was started as a way to stimulate the economy during the moratorium of the fishing industry in the region. This festival takes place annually in July on the site of LeNoir Forge in Arichat. Please check out the 'Grow Isle Madame' group on Facebook for more details.

Day 8

  • Visit of the Fortress of Louisbourg
  • Travel distance: 150 km
  • Travel time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Leaving Isle Madame, take Highway 104 towards St. Peter's and continue on until the highway becomes Highway 4. Watch for signage for Highway 125 towards Sydney, which will take you to Exit 8. This exit is on Route 22 which will take you to the village of Louisbourg. Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site is a short distance from the village.

A visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg will immerse you in the early 18th century. It will take you into the daily life of the garrison and the inhabitants of the first French fortress in the New World. Do not speak English at the entrance of its doors. The guards on duty could seize you and lead you to the dungeon, under the pretext that you could be an English spy. This fortress is the largest reconstruction of a historic city in North America.

Due to the sheer scale of the place, you will definitely want to spend a minimum of three hours on this site.

To find a place to stay, the Nova Scotia "Doers and Dreamers Travel Guide" will make your job easier, or visit

Near the fortress is the beginning of a coastal hiking trail. It leads to the Louisbourg lighthouse. This moderate difficulty hike normally takes two to three hours. Inquire on the spot or visit

While in Louisbourg, be sure to participate in and 18th Century dining experience at the Beggars Banquet.