Mention the St. Lawrence River, and most Canadians will have the same images in mind: explorers paddling between the banks with aboriginal villages dotting the shores, fur traders negotiating deals with the local people, or possibly even modern images of massive cargo ships chugging through the water. However, the area around the river is much more than those images suggest. The St. Lawrence River is an integral part of Canadian life, and on Quebec’s St. Lawrence Route, travellers can see the area in all its variations. Also called Route du fleuve, the St. Lawrence Route is a fifty-kilometre stretch of Highway 362 in the Charlevoix region, running between Baie-St-Paul and La Malbaie. Picturesque villages, restaurants, golf courses, and historic sites are all part of a one- or two-day journey along this road.
Baie-St-Paul’s restaurants and art galleries are good places to start the journey. The town is rich with history; established in 1678, it was an important French settlement for many years. La Malbaie at the end of the route provides many indoor amusements, while a side trip by ferry from Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive to the Île aux Coudres is a good chance to see the towering Laurentian Mountains. Cyclists may enjoy riding along the route, and strolling through the villages is a must.
The St. Lawrence Route is a wonderful place to take a break from the bustle of busy thoroughfares (although pedestrians and cyclists should take care) and to experience the past and the present.
|1||Quebec to Baie-Saint-Paul||1 h 15 min||94 km|
|1||Baie-Saint-Paul to Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive||20 min||22 km|
|1||Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive to La Malbaie||40 min||35 km|