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Pamela MacNaughtan

I often stare at houses the way most people stare at waterfalls. Their shape and colour and details and overall character captivate me in ways that are hard to explain. I often drive by enchanting houses and pull over to admire them, taking a few minutes to dream before moving on. The same cannot be said for the enchanting houses of Îles de la Madeleine – where I spent way too much time staring at (and photographing) houses.

A part of the province of Québec, Îles de la Madeleine is an archipelago of seven islands (six of which are connected by sand dunes and a road) that have captured my heart and refuse to let go. I love the way the islands feel as though you are visiting a dear friend, and how everything seems to have a story. Secluded from the chaos of life on the mainland, the archipelago is calming with its open yards (not a fence in sight!) and wood slat homes (some in bright colours, others in all white and many made from shipwrecks). A place where the local culture is centred on family and friends and food and music.

When I close my eyes I can see the curves and crevices of the Magdalen Islands. The grey cliffs, rolling green hills and colourful houses of Havre-aux-Maisons. The stretch of sandy beaches along Grosse-Île. The red cliffs, caves and inlets of Grande-Entrée. The buzz of people and the vibrations of nightlife on Cap-aux-Meules. The gourmet food and craft beer on l’Étang-du-Nord. The artisans, producers and cliffs of Bassin. The artistic communities and flat beaches of Havre-Aubert. The calm and lagoons of Fatima. The seclusion and birds of Île d’Entrée.

I could write a book on the magic of the archipelago (actually, I am, a guidebook similar to the one I wrote on Québec City).

I am getting carried away – as is often the case when I think of Îles de la Madeleine. Let’s dial this puppy back a bit…

Whenever I look at photos of the enchanting homes of Îles de la Madeleine I feel as though I am being transported back and soon my hair will be windswept and my skin will smell of salt and the sea –and possibly lobster and butter too.

And now you can too –unless you have never visited the islands, in that case, you’ll need to use your imagination and trust me!

HAVRE-AUX-MAISON

Stunning blue houses on Havre-aux-Maison, Quebec

Stunning blue houses on Havre-aux-Maison.

A charming yellow house near the grey cliffs of Havre-aux-Maisons, Québec

A charming yellow house near the grey cliffs of Havre-aux-Maisons

Lobster pots and a green house that almost melts into the grassy hills of Havre-aux-Maisons

Lobster pots and a green house that almost melts into the grassy hills of Havre-aux-Maisons

This house in Havre-aux-Maisons is hard to lose on a foggy day, which is probably the point!

This house in Havre-aux-Maisons is hard to lose on a foggy day, which is probably the point!

GROSSE-ÎLE

Standing out in the English community of Grosse-Île.

Standing out in the English community of Grosse-Île.

Some fisherman say they painted their homes in bright colours so they can see them while fishing. Whatever the reason, these are some of my favourites on Grosse-Île.

Some fisherman say they painted their homes in bright colours so they can see them while fishing. Whatever the reason, these are some of my favourites on Grosse-Île.

A small house with a gorgeous view on Grosse-Île.

A small house with a gorgeous view on Grosse-Île.

GRANDE-ENTRÉE

One of the more colourful houses in Grande-Entrée. Weather-worn, but still beautiful.

One of the more colourful houses in Grande-Entrée. Weather-worn, but still beautiful.

When your boat and house design is on point. All things matching on Grande-Entrée, Québec

When your boat and house design is on point. All things matching on Grande-Entrée

Who knew a bright orange house could be so pretty?! A gorgeous home perched on a hill close to the beach in Grande-Entrée.

Who knew a bright orange house could be so pretty?! A gorgeous home perched on a hill close to the beach in Grande-Entrée.

BASSIN

A cute little house near the lighthouse in Bassin. Loves.

A cute little house near the lighthouse in Bassin. Loves.

A house with an alligator on the roof? Yep, and a whale skeleton inside too! I'm dying to see the inside of this house in Bassin.

A house with an alligator on the roof? Yep, and a whale skeleton inside too! I’m dying to see the inside of this house in Bassin.

Sometimes small spaces are the best spaces. I love this house in Bassin – the barn-like shape, round window, the wooden windshields around the door...

Sometimes small spaces are the best spaces. I love this house in Bassin – the barn-like shape, round window, the wooden wind shields around the door…

HAVRE-AUBERT

Even weather-worn, this blue house makes me anything but blue. One of many pretty wood slat houses in Havre-Aubert.

Even weather-worn, this blue house makes me anything but blue. One of many pretty wood slat houses in Havre-Aubert.

Little hotels and rental cottages can be found all over Havre-Aubert.

Little hotels and rental cottages can be found all over Havre-Aubert.

A unique house tucked away in Havre-Aubert. The view from here is simply breath-taking!

A unique house tucked away in Havre-Aubert. The view from here is simply breath-taking!

I would give up almost everything to live in this house in Havre-Aubert.

I would give up almost everything to live in this house in Havre-Aubert.

FATIMA

There is something inviting about a house with a line of clothing dancing in the wind. Loved this blue house in Fatima, Quebec.

There is something inviting about a house with a line of clothing dancing in the wind. Loved this blue house in Fatima.

I have never been more envious of a pile of driftwood before driving by this house in Fatima.

I have never been more envious of a pile of driftwood before driving by this house in Fatima.

A fun an funky glass-blowing studio in Fatima. Loves.

A fun an funky glass-blowing studio in Fatima. Loves.

ÎLE ENTRÉE

Worn but still beautiful on the isolated Île Entrée

Worn but still beautiful on the isolated Île Entrée

A traditional house nestled into the base of Big Hill on Île Entrée.

A traditional house nestled into the base of Big Hill on Île Entrée.

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