We are open tomorrow from 9:00 am. Call 020 7590 0610
Acadian Coast, New Brunswick

New Brunswick: a beginner’s guide to Acadian culture

Article content

14 January 2020 by Rachel Mostyn

Back at the start of the 17th century – 1604 to be precise – a group of French settlers landed on the island now known as Sainte-Croix, idyllically situated between New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada and the American state of Maine.

Due to a particularly harsh winter, they weren’t to stay long, resettling the following year in Port Royal. This inauspicious introduction to Canada’s Atlantic coast marked the start of a region known as Acadie – later Nova Scotia – whose tight-knit communities soon attracted more arrivals from across the Atlantic. And, where these new arrivals settled, a new culture grew, with a new language and cuisine. Here, we take a look at ways you can experience some of their unique culture for yourself when you holiday in this spellbinding region.


Explore our New Brunswick holidays


Acadian food

It’s fair to say that great food is always high on people’s holiday hit-list. And, for visitors to New Brunswick, it’s no exception. Indeed, with such a bounty of fresh produce, and a wealth of traditional dishes wrapped up in the traditions of the Acadian people, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. From delicious and hearty stews to such regional delicacies as crêpes râpées – crispy potato pancakes – tasty treats abound. Of course, you’ll want to try the seafood, and the likes of battered clams and scallops broiled in a creamy wine sauce are not to be missed.

And, there’s plenty for the sweet of tooth, whether it’s a delicious pastry ball filled with baked apples, raisins and cranberries, topped with sugar syrup, or equally scrumptious pets de soeur, the Acadian cousin of the cinnamon roll.

Acadian historic sites

Scattered throughout New Brunswick are a wealth of historic sites with ties to the province’s Acadian roots. First among these is the Village Historique Acadian, a reconstructed village and living museum which perfectly showcases the life of Acadian families, as well as major events to affect the community, between 1770 and 1949. Here, bilingual guides, dressed in traditional costume, will lead you between everything from the village wood mill and blacksmith’s shop to the chapel, school and post house. There’s even the chance to join a traditional cookery workshop, perhaps recreating some of those delicious recipes we highlighted earlier.

Also well worth a visit is the Monument-Lefebvre National Historic Site. Built in respect of Acadian vicar Camille Lefebvre, this imposing sandstone building is something of a symbol of the 19th-century resurgence of Acadian culture. This followed the return to New Brunswick of French-Acadian settlers following their mass-expulsion to the colonies by the British in 1755. Today, it houses a treasure trove of Acadian exhibits, titled ‘Reflections of a Journey – The Odyssey of the Acadian People.

Last but in no means least, be sure not to miss star-shaped Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site. Straddling the border of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, this 18th-century fort tells the story of the conflicts between the French and British, which eventually led to those British-led deportations and the temporary exclusion of the Acadians from the Maritimes.

Acadian accommodation

Of course, visiting the sites and eating the food will go a long way to furthering your understanding the Acadian people and their customs. But, there can surely be no better way of experiencing their culture than with a stay in an original Acadian-era hotel. And, that’s exactly what you can do at our old favourite, the Village Historic Acadien. Here, at Hôtel Château Albert, every care has been taken to recreate a turn-of-the-century accommodation, from the architecture and furnishings, right down to the forgoing of TVs and phones – although WiFi is apparently available!

Then, throughout the region, everything from Victorian boutiques to seaside B&Bs offer unique stays in spectacular surroundings. A particularly fine example of 19th-century Acadian architecture is Hotel Paulin in Caraquet, which is still owned by the direct descendants of the family who built it back In 1891, making it the oldest family-owned hotel in Canada. Sticking with the Victorian theme, Le Griffon Bed & Breakfast in Shelliac pairs traditional Acadian stylings with easy access to what is reputed to be Canada’s warmest salt-water beach. And, also on the coast, the delightful Les Chalet de la Plage serves up a truly unmissable combination of lobster lunches, lighthouse views and lazy days spent swimming and sunbathing on the glorious, golden coast.

Related offers

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Atlantic Canada: Unique Properties of the Maritimes

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,675 pp incl. flights

Explore the Canadian Maritimes as you travel through the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.Taste remarkable seafood, discover a unique Acadian culture and drive some of Canada's most spectacular coastlines.

Head Harbour Lighthouse, Campobello Island

Atlantic Canada: New Brunswick Explorer

9-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,495 pp incl. flights

Combine New Brunswick’s all-natural good looks and its intriguing past with this scenic road trip. Along the way, guided tours bring it all to life, ranging from whale watching trips to champagne-paired caviar tastings.

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

A Taste of New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island Self-Drive

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,175 pp incl. flights

Take this self-drive tour of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick to experience the provinces through their cuisine, which is heavily based around seafood.

Grand Manan island

Ultimate New Brunswick Fly-Drive

11-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,085 pp incl. flights

This fly-drive is the ultimate adventure in Atlantic Canada's charming New Brunswick province, encompassing two of the region's most spectacular road trips. It's all done alongside boutique hotels, included transfers and car hire.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected