When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Québec's Outaouais region is in the south-west of the province, on the north shore of the Ottawa River, a few hours from Montreal and just minutes from Ottawa.
You will love the peaceful natural landscapes of Outaouais with its many lakes and valleys, and will enjoy exploring its urban centres such as the vibrant city of Gatineau, just across the river from the National Capital, and the charming village of Montebello.
The region is known for its national museums, its casino, the popular Parc Oméga wildlife park, trails for cycling in summer and cross-country skiing in winter, and good beer!
This animal park offers a unique experience in a natural environment, surrounded by Canadian wildlife. See moose, elk, bison, wolves, bears, deer, caribou, arctic foxes, and much more in their natural habitat. Drive the 12 km trail on board your own car or in a caged 4x4. The site also offers an old farm, a reconstructed trading post, picnic areas and playgrounds, a snack bar, a restaurant, a gift shop, activities and several walking trails.
Open year-round. Spring/fall: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Summer: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Winter: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Plaisance National Park
This park on the north shore of the Ottawa River, part of Québec's SÉPAQ national park network, was created to protect the extensive wetlands within the park. It is also recognized as a major resting place for Canada geese during the migration period. The park offers a number of activities such as hiking, with many trails from which you can discover the marshland flora and fauna.
The park also offers 30 km of bike trails through the scenic Petite Presqu'île, Grande Presqu'île and Thurso sectors. Rent a canoe, rowboat, kayak or paddleboard to explore the park's bays and marshes. There is even a beach, a swimming pool and water games to help you cool off on a hot day. Rentals are available at the Discovery and Visitors Centre.
PLAISANCE NATIONAL PARK
Season: The park is open year-round, but the period during which services are available varies according to sector.
Entrance fee: $9.00/adult/day and free for youth aged 17 and under.
Make a stop at this lovely artisanal cheesemaker and discover the fine cheeses crafted by Alain Boyer, such as the Tête à Papineau , the Rébellion 1837, the Adoray and the Manchebello. The names of these cheeses are all inspired by the history of Montebello, which was part of the only Seigneurie in Petite-Nation, in Outaouais. Be sure to sample the delicious cheeses. A warm welcome awaits! The boutique also offers a variety of other gourmet items.
Open Saturday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays until 6 p.m.
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
Montebello's historic cedar log train station has been home to an artisanal chocolate maker since 2010. The multiple prize-winning enterprise uses only certified organic, fair-trade chocolate, sugar and cocoa. As it is also an Economuseum, the chocolate-making workshop is open to the public. You can watch the artisans at work through large glass windows. Be sure to try the exquisite chocolate gelato!
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Les Brasseurs de Montebello ($$)
This charming microbrewery serves its own craft beer and a selection of other artisanal beers from around Québec. Beer lovers may want to opt for the tasting tray to sample several of their brews. Be sure to try the ChocoBello, a brown beer brewed with ChocoMotive cocoa, and the Kenauk ale, a pale ale bottle refermented with local honey. Also serves snacks and food: paninis, local cheeses, nachos, peanuts and beer sausages.
The pub is open daily from noon to 9 p.m.
Le Bistro Montebello ($$-$$$)
This popular bistro is known for its excellent wood-fired pizza: you can even watch the cooks prepare it before your very eyes. In addition to pizza, the menu features a variety of pub fare made with fresh local ingredients: hamburgers, poutine, sandwiched, salads, fresh pasta, salmon, duck and more. A good selection of wines, beers and cocktails also available.
Open Sunday-Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The doors close a little later during the summer.
Le Napoléon ($$-$$$)
If you're in the mood for Italian food in a casual, intimate atmosphere, this is the place for you. The menu offers an excellent selection of pasta, grilled meats, pizzas and seafood, accompanied by an interesting wine list. Enjoy your meal on the patio in the summer. Reservations are recommended.
Open daily from 4 p.m.
Aux Chantignoles ($$$$)
Aux Chantignoles is a gourmet restaurant located in Fairmont Le Château Montebello. Built in 1930, this immense log cabin is now a renowned holiday resort. You will be served in the lovely hotel dining room with a magnificent view of the Ottawa River. The impeccable service and the innovative locally-inspired menu are sure to please. The dress code is smart casual: no shorts or sleeveless shirts. Children aged 5 and under eat for free from a special children's menu. Reservations are required for dinner.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast, noon to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.
*** Hours may vary ***
- Very Favourable