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Sep 24, 2019

8 min. read

Find dramatic scenery, idyllic towns and a surprising art scene a short drive east from Quebec City in Charlevoix. Here’s how to spend a few days exploring.

Day 1: Head for an art museum, then the spa

A row of buildings on a street.

Drop your bags at Baie-St-Paul’s farmhouse-chic Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa before ambling into town for a bistro lunch and local brew at Le Mouton noir. If the weather’s pleasant, ask for a table on the cozy riverside terrace.

When satisfied, explore the boutiques—like fruit-wine purveyor Cidrerie et vergers Pedneault—and art galleries lining St-Jean Baptiste Street. Baie-St-Paul has one of the highest concentrations of galleries in Canada, not to mention a sizable contemporary art museum, which boasts a broad collection of modern works.

All that walking calls for some time in the thermal pools at Le Germain’s Nordic spa, where the au naturel ambience comes complete with grazing cattle and mountain scenery.

Day 2: Take a pastry-fuelled hike

A couple of people hiking on a mountain.

It may be a bit early for the bonbons at Fraîcheurs et saveurs, but adjoining café Arômes et saveurs is a perfect spot for a morning latte and a made-fresh waffle. Grab a few pastries to go; you’ll appreciate the extra fuel while hiking in Grands-Jardins National Park, a distinctively rugged landscape formed in part by a meteorite impact 360 million years ago.

From there, hit the road to discover Charlevoix’s terroir at its many farms and food producers, including sustainable cheesemaker Laiterie Charlevoix, foie-gras specialist La Ferme Basque and mushroom grower Champignons Charlevoix. Checking out the latter brings you close to the town of La Malbaie. Book a table here at Vices versa for contemporary Québécois fare, then settle in for the night at the château-esque Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.

Day 3: Play golf overlooking the river

A man is playing golf on a golf course overlooking the ocean.

Tee off your day at one of Le Manoir Richelieu’s three nine-hole golf courses. They’re perched 300 metres above the St. Lawrence; no matter where your ball lies, the mighty river is almost always in view. Keep your eyes peeled for beluga whales, which have been known to frolic offshore.

After the last hole, head into town for the Pains d’exclamation bakery’s eggy quiche before visiting the Charlevoix Museum, a modest but edifying institution where you’ll gain an even greater appreciation for the region’s history and people.

When to visit Charlevoix

Outdoor adventures are abundant through the end of September. Post-Thanksgiving, the region is quieter, though still very welcoming.

Where to stay in Charlevoix

Say oui to a pampering stay in an estate-like setting at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.

Want a few more ideas for road trips in Canada?

Here are three ideas for a last-minute long weekend and four awesome road trips you won’t want to miss.

Plus, find out how CAA Travel Insurance can help protect your plans if you’re travelling out of province.

Image credit: Courtesy of Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa, Richard Wong/Alamy, Age Fotostock/Alamy and courtesy of Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

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