The community of Francois was settled in the late 1700s, primarily as a fishing community. Small boat fishers harvested a variety of species during the summer fishing season and sold their catch to Newman & Company of Gaultois. In 1908 John Penney & Sons Limited of Ramea replaced Newman & Company as the principal fish buyer. In 1922 the Penneys constructed a general store and set up a branch division in Francois, consequently controlling fish collecting and supplies for the community.
Francois's rich fishing heritage also included operation of a whale factory at nearby Chaleur Bay from 1893 to 1911, as well as a lobster canning industry which was operated by the Fudge family from 1870 to 1900 and later by a firm from Fortune. This enterprise constructed a lobster factory in Francois around 1900. Although no lobster factory exists there today, the lobster fishery remains constant and lucrative. local fishers still harvest a variety of other species as well and sell their catch to outside interests.
Accessible only by boat or helicopter, Francois has a deep harbour which is navigable year-round and a helipad which provides landing space for helicopters.
When entering Francois harbour by boat, visitors are first greeted by one of the few remaining manned light stations in Newfoundland. Once past the light, visitors are astounded by the narrow opening leading into the steep-walled rocky fjord that is Francois. Clinging to the cliffs, the community of Francois comprises one of the few outports on the south coast of Newfoundland to survive the resettlement program of Newfoundland's first premier, Joey Smallwood. Francois is a great point of departure for visits to the nearby abandoned outports of Parson's (New) Harbour and Rencontre West.
Francois offers a variety of other attractions for the outdoor adventurer in both summer and winter. A visit to Francois can include:
For a truly astonishing experience of the
isolation and sheer beauty Francois has to
offer, a visit to the Friar makes your trip one
to remember. The Friar is a 680 foot rock
projection that provides a bird's eye view of
Francois and Chaleur Bay. long celebrated by
residents and visitors alike, Francois is a
place like no other on earth.