By Chantal Roberts
There are a few questions that will win you free drinks in bars:
1. How many states border Texas?
Answer? There are 8 states which border Texas. Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.
2. How many states are in the United States?
Answer? There are 46 states in the United States. Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania are all “commonwealths.”
3. How many countries does Canada share a border with?
Answer? Two: The United States and France.
While that doesn’t seem possible, I assure you it is. There are two small islands approximately 15 miles off the coast of Newfoundland which are the last remaining vestiges of La Nouvelle France from the 16th century which stretched from Canada all the way south to New Orleans.
Today, Americans know the Louisiana Purchase doubled our fledgling nation’s footprint, and readers of this blog know the French heritage of Missouri and Kansas because the French settled here as part of New France. The Canadian province Québec is well-known to be French speaking, but despite calls for succession, it remains part of Canada as are the provinces to the east, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador.
But in Fortune, Newfoundland, a 45-minute ferry ride will take you to France after a quick passport check and going through customs—or at least a self-governing territory and the only remaining trace of France sovereignty in North America thanks to the cession of French colonies to England and Spain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
This territory is the islands Saint Pierre and Miquelon. The islands aren’t like France—it is France—complete with a different electrical grid than Canada (and the US), cell phones incur international charges, and the best place to get French wines that aren’t available anywhere else in North America. Residents are considered French citizens, use Euros instead of Canadian dollars, and are part of the European Union. The islands even fly the tri-colored flag of France. Plus, it has a different time zone from Canada, this makes Saint-Pierre and Miquelon the first place in North America to celebrate the New Year.
Keeping on our liquor theme…while Al Capone might have been a notorious gangster, he was a shrewd businessman. When the US went through Prohibition, Canada supported its southern neighbor and forbade its provinces to ship liquor to the US. But Saint Pierre and Miquelon weren’t Canadian. They were French; so, Capone set up a distribution center of liquor on the island and stayed at Hotel Robert, which is still in operation today.
So, the last question to win you a free drink is: can you get to Europe in a car? Technically, yes, because the ferries to and from the islands can also shuttle your car back and forth. So, yes, you can drive to France.
Ha. Here's a hotel that has a Molière room. http://nuitssaintpierre.com/en/rooms-chambres/
 If you want another fun bar-bet question, ask what the official language of the United States is. Answer: There isn’t one. Nope. Not even English.
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