Experiences and photos from Isabelle DLM : road-trip in Quebec
I remember the fall in the beautiful province of Quebec
After a comfortable flight and a night in a lovely Victorian hotel in the centre of Montréal, we are welcomed by Justin in front an excellent range of motorhomes. Our robust, yet shiny, Jasper C25 vehicle awaits us, ready to start our journey! We watch a short video detailing the workings of our wonderful motorhome and we are reassured that everything we need is available and easy to use.
In our rush to leave for our holiday we forgot to pack our jerseys (Indian summer means cool nights). A little mistake - a bag slides around on the seat and reminds us that we must be careful to pack everything away.
Soon we set off on the road towards Mont Tremblant and, with wide eyes, we take in the beautiful autumn reds, oranges and yellows of the Canadian Maples that surround us!
We arrive in Morin Heights (as recommended by CampingCar-Online/Ramble Campervans) and park our motorhome in a spacious forest campsite. We put 2-3 logs in the outdoor fireplace and our first impressions are more than positive. That night we only have milk and butter for breakfast in the fridge. We decide to leave the shopping for the next day and instead enjoy our first "ribs" in Rio with its ranch atmosphere in the heart of the charming village of Saint Sauveur.
The jet lag makes us dive into our comfortable beds. A little warmth the next morning heats up the motorhome cabin nicely.
It's only 6:00 am (always the jet lag!)
The departure checks are easily done after our first breakfast. We head off in the direction of our next destination, Mont Tremblant, after doing some shopping in Sainte Agathe. The sun is pale but no clouds threaten our first hike close to Lac Mercier, near Mont Tremblant village. We regret that we can't go to the national park, pride of the Laurentides region, because we have to take a friend to Trudeau Airport. We take a last look at the varied Laurentian landscapes, where we guess ski slopes are hidden in the flaming coloured forests. The snow will arrive in December but for now we enjoy the Indian summer weather that made us choose this time of year for our holiday.
After a brief trip to the airport, we decide to go back to the north by crossing St. Lawrence River to join Highway A30. Night falls quickly and signs indicate campsites near the roads. With the help of the campsite guidebook we choose a "two service" campsite (water, electricity). The "three service" site is not very useful because a drain point is always located at the entrance to the campsite. A small campsite opposite the Gulf of Bécancour is a practical choice.
Third day and the 1st October, we head to Québec City along the other side of the St Lawrence River. It is a good chance to admire this majestic river from a huge bridge near Trois Rivières. We leave our motorhome parked in the charming Juneau Camping to avoid driving in Québec City.
We enjoy an epic meal involving syrup, butter and maple syrup before entering the city on the express bus. We chat a bit (and yes, we are progressing in the language of our cousins ??...) with our companions on the bus and, under a bright sun, discover the dazzling old town of Quebec within its fortifications. A short climb takes us to the Dufferin Terrace dominated by the famous Chateau Frontenac (hotel built by the Canadian Pacific Company and named after the equally famous governor). But our gaze is tirelessly drawn towards the graceful curve of the St. Lawrence. In the distance downstream, it appears to be widening very rapidly, the ocean calling. We see a big cruise ship and the Navy building near quai Louise (motorhomes tolerated).
We continue to explore the city including with the Place d'Armes, the Walk of Governors and the citadel. There are many other things to visit but the wonderful sweetness of the Indian summer encourages us to stroll and linger outside.
The proximity of the very charming Orleans Island at the gates of Quebec, and named Bacchus Island by Jacques Cartier, tempts us. We spend two peaceful days on this tranquil island, 35 km long. Some charming hamlets under the protection of their church steeple and the many surrounding farms do not disappoint us. The Saint Francis campsite on the water's edge allows us to be lulled by the slow passage of cargo and cruise ships lit up at night.
3 October. Always further north.
Well rested and ready to see some whales, the Great North calls us. Packed and ready, map unfolded, we leave the Quebec region after stopping to refuel (big fuel consumption but we have not limited ourselves nor have we really applied the fuel saving tips given to us by Luis from CampingCar Online) 185 litres filled!
A visit to the Montomorency Falls awaitis us in the Charlevoix Region. What beauty! Rolling hills and sparkling streams and lakes followed our road and it was ‘love at first sight’ when we arrived in St Paul Bay. The river water is salted now. Is this why we prefer to cook in our motorhome "a seafood platter" rather than going for the traditional hamburger? A great dilemma amongst the crew. Spend a night in the national park because the camping sites are wonderful and it is close to 2 other beautiful sites. Going to one of them will allow us to do a hike. Finally we decide to take the coastal road to follow our pursuit northeast.
We return to the protected sector of the Saguenay marine park after a night camping in the Malbaie area and some shopping. The raod has been redone. This is good because the the winters put a starin on the Canadian roads and cracks make the motorhome even more noisy while driving. We start to keep our eyes open for whales.
We arrive at st Catherine's Bay with much excitement to take the ferry to Tadoussac. We still have not seen any whales and belugas. We also want to taste "poutine" (french fries covered in cheese and brown sauce.....) in a charming village in the Tadoussac hills. We are not disappointed as we see our first belugas from the ferry. However, the unique experience of seeing a whale leap out of the water requires a few hours of patience! A beautiful, cool, very quiet night at a campsite overlooking the St Lawrence. We are spoilt for choice with many sites with beautiful views. Magic! In the morning it is the first time we use the heating in the motorhome. With just a press of a button we have heat! A great comfort. It is the start of the moose hunting season. 15 days allow one to kill this big, wild animal that can feed a family well into the winter.
Big dilemma this morning. Do we have enough time to explore Gaspesie by taking the Forestville ferry to Rimouski before returning to Montreal on the 9th? It's very tempting as it will allow some time in the North Coast region before exploring the fabulous Gaspesie, land of the Mi'kmaq and the first sighting of the new France for sailors and immigrants of the past! But between the local beaches, many lighthouses, Jacques Cartier summit and Chaleurs Bay, there are just too many things to see in the time we have left. Gaspesie will have to be another holiday. Finally we take the ferry at St Siméon to Wolf River. We are in the lower portion of the St Lawrence. We discover a few wild islands situated in this portion of the river. We must turn our back on the Bic National Park due to time constraints, and head to Quebec. We will not see the Basques Islands, hares and green island. We spend the night in a KOA camping site. Our dessert is stewed cranberries cooked in maple syrup and topped with maple caramel. Without a lid we set off the fire alarm while cooking! Our ears are bursting! Hell for a few seconds!
Pretty, quiet road along the St Lawrence. Some sleepy towns, many farms and view points of the river, but rainy weather encourages us to celebrate Thanksgiving by stopping for a delicious lunch at Salicorne in L'Islet on sea. A delicious fresh cheese and tasty salmon bagel. A charming welcome, a charming town. A very nice night in the Oka Park, close to Laval, a beautiful campsite managed by Sépaq allows us to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves.
The contrast with the urban density of Laval is striking. We take a trip to the very pretty village of Terrebonne before handing the keys of our motorhome.
Many beautiful discoveries during this short and dense journey and determined to return to explore the Gaspé and to the Saguenay and to Lake Saint Jean, the third largest lake Quebec.
After the motorhome drop off formalities we reach Montreal for some shopping and a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. Wet weather encourages us to explore the underground city.
Last night in Montreal close to the Mcgill University. Dear Quebec cousins, thank you for your warm welcome. We will be back.