Nestled among the beautiful rolling hills north-east of Quebec City lies the Charlevoix region, neighbouring the stunning Fleuve St-Laurent. A region comprised of 18 small settlements owing its mountainous beauty to a 15-billion-ton meteorite that struck the land here over 350 million years ago. A collision that blasted a 56km wide crater making the Charlevoix region one of the few inhabited craters in the world.
My journey began in Calgary International Airport with a short 5 hour flight to Quebec City via Toronto Airport. I spent the first day and night exploring the architectural dream, Quebec City. This was my first time visiting the East and growing up in Europe for most of my life I was in heaven. Rich in culture, I explored the city for the entire day and night before collapsing in my comfortable bed at the Royal William Hotel.
Day 2 marked the start of my Charlevoix adventure. A short 60 minute drive to Baie St Paul immersed us deep into the Charlevoix region. After checking into Hotel Le Germain Charlevoix and grabbing a delicious bite to eat we left for our first adventure.
The goal for the afternoon was to scale the cliff face of Mont Du Lac Des Cynes in Parc National Des Grands-Jardins. I was completely blown away with the jaw-dropping landscape here. I had no idea at all that Quebec had terrain as beautiful as this, I was speechless. Our hike/climb along the via ferrata route on the mountain was nothing short of incredible and good my adrenalin running with a real sense of accomplishment post activity. We finished off the day at a micro-brewery in Baie St Paul and enjoyed some of the local beer and fish.
Day 3 began with an delicious breakfast at Hotel Le Germain before checking out and heading out for our next activity. A 6km kayaking expedition was on the agenda down the Riviere du Gouffre that runs through the town. This kayak trip was relaxing and gave us an opportunity to see the area from a different perspective as we enjoyed the slow moving flow out to the St-Laurent.
After grabbing a great lunch on the road from Resto-Boutique La Table, we hopped on the local free ferry to Isle-aux-Coudres for a bike ride around the island with a stop at North America’s only working windmill and I couldn’t resist a stop at the cider farm on the island enjoying some of the locally produced cider. A sleepy ride back on the ferry brought us back to the mainland before an hour long drive to our final hotel in the Charlevoix region. The Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, a feat of classic Fairmont architecture in itself. Dinner in the restaurant was easily the culinary highlight for me with Foie Gras, Confit de Canard, Beef and a delicious chocolate dessert all paired with succulent wines and ciders, the perfect final meal in Charlevoix.
Day 4 and my final day in Charlevoix, I don’t think I could be any more bitter about leaving this stunning region. After enjoying a great buffet breakfast at the Fairmont, we packed our bags and left for Baie-Saint-Catherine to catch a zodiac in search of some Whales. It was a beautiful day, the St-Laurent was completely flat, the weather was perfect which made conditions easy for spotting Whales and Seals. I have been on quite a few Whale watching tours before all around the world but I have never seen so many on one trip before, I lost count at 50. A mix of Minke and Beluga Whales made an appearance along with endless Seals, all putting on a display and feeding in the krill rich river. The 3 hour zodiac trip left me with a big grin on my face for the entire drive back to Quebec City. Sad that my trip was coming to an end but still in complete awe of an incredible three days exploring. Our final night brought us to Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec in the heart of Quebec City bordering the ‘old city’. The city was buzzing with energy and, although exhausted, I couldn’t resist a drink on Le Grand Allee.
Day 5 was a slow wake up before packing my suitcase for the final time and heading to the airport for my return flight from Quebec City to Calgary via Montreal airport.
Charlevoix is a must-see region full of adventurous opportunities and culinary delights and I already know it won’t be my last time to the area.
For more information on Charlevoix you can visit: