When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Dominated by landscapes that have long enchanted painters, poets, writers, and musicians, the Charlevoix region is where sea and mountains meet: steep cliffs, exceptional parks, impressive villas, and tidy villages nestled at the base of the hills or in peaceful coves.
Designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Charlevoix owes its spectacular geography to the impact of a 15-billion-ton meteor 350 million years ago.
WHAT TO DO
* = Interesting ** = worth a detour *** = worth a trip
The park was named after a series of valleys cut deep into a range of high mountains reaching over 1,000 m in altitude. Steep slopes, beautiful natural surroundings, and the unusual course of Rivière Malbaie make this an exceptional and unique site.
The famous Acropole des draveurs hiking trail is a favourite activity and a must-do for visitors to Quebec. The trail offers stunning views of the highest rock faces in Eastern Canada, and leads to the park's highest peak and an exceptional 360° panorama of Rivière Malbaie, winding through the valley far below.
You should note that this trail is classified “difficult” due to its high elevation gain (800 metres) over a short distance (10.4 kilometres round trip). You can be sure that the effort required will be well worth it! The round trip hike takes about 5 hours.
The best time to hike the trail is early in the morning as you may find caribou grazing at the summit!
Discovery cruise on Rivière Malbaie*
Explore the heart of Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park on board a riverboat during a ninety-minute cruise on Rivière Malbaie, accompanied by a park warden/naturalist.
There are a number of departures each day in addition to a dusk cruise in July and August. Dusk is often the best time to see wildlife and to admire the play of light on the rocky cliffs. The boat can accomodate 48 passengers; reservations are recommended. Runs from mid-May to mid-October.
Be sure to take a stroll down its narrow streets lined with quaint boutiques and art galleries.
The island has preserved its rural charm and serenity. Beached schooners - remnants of a past age - dot the coast. A tour of the island (21km) by car or bicycle is the best way to discover its beauty.
Where to eat
WHERE TO EATMOUTON NOIR ($$)
Mouton Noir is a French cuisine restaurant with a well-deserved reputation. Its pleasant terrace overlooks the Gouffre River, where fishermen can be seen hard at work. You are sure to enjoy the generous house specialities including tartares, mussel soup, smoked salmon in puff pastry and cassoulet with veal sweetbread. Open for lunch in summer, and for dinner all year round.
43 Rue Sainte-Anne, Baie-Saint-Paul 418 240-3030
LE SAINT-PUB ($$)
This microbrewery offers a quality bistro menu at reasonable prices. Dishes are prepared using local ingredients and, naturally, beer. Favourite menu items include smoked chicken, mussels, burgers, pasta and smoked meat, and the famous sugar pie made with beer! Beer lovers will need to try the Dominus Vobiscum or the Vache folle.
2 Rue Racine, Baie-Saint-Paul 418 240-2332
LES LABOURS (Le Germain Hotel) ($$$)
One of the restaurants of Le Germain Hotel, a charming country hotel with an urban feel, surrounded by farmland. The open kitchen design allows guests to watch the team at work. The focus is on fresh regional ingredients, and the menu changes with the seasons, the harvests and the local supply of fish, seafood and meat. A friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
50 Rue de la Ferme, Baie-Saint-Paul 418 240-4123
AUBERGE DES FALAISES RESTAURANT ($$$)
Auberge des Falaises is a charming inn perched on a hillside overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Its restaurant offers fine dining in the form of a five-course dinner or tasting menu, with dishes showcasing local products such as Charlevoix veal and Quebec lamb, local cheeses, guinea fowl, quail and even emu. For dessert, be sure to try the banana and goat cheese cheesecake or the two chocolate fondant! Open only in the evening.
250 Chemin des Falaises, La Malbaie 418 665-3731
AUBERGE DES TROIS CANARDS RESTAURANT ($$$)
This restaurant offers fine dining that is sure to please the most discerning palate. The menu includes marinated veal carpaccio, fillet of duck breast, vegetable risotto, veal sweetbread and seafood chowder, prepared with sophistication and elegance. Attentive service and a superb view of the St. Lawrence River enhance the dining experience. The restaurant has earned many distinctions over the more than 50 years since it opened its doors. Open only in the evening.
115 Côte Bellevue, Pointe-au-Pic 418 665-3761
- Very Favourable