GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINIGUIDE
The Charlevoix Region’s position embraces the mountains that run directly to the shores of the St. Lawrence. On any given day you can climb through wilderness only to end the day catching site of a pod of Beluga whales passing by.
If it is history that draws you to visit a place, French explorers such as Cartier and Champlain have provided plenty.
Conveniently, in anticipation of the word of its splendors getting out, routes have been laid out for following such pursuits as food, nature, history and even snapping photos. All are easily done and can be combined to suit your desires.
Pull Over and Fill Up
Veal, ("veau" in French) is a very popular dish in Charlevoix and it is said that the mist over the St. Lawrence is passed on into the fields were they graze and adds to the flavor. Savory veal, smoked fish, duck and even emu (a relative of the astrich) can be purchased at le Veau de Charlevoix in Clermont.
Cheese is another specialty of the Charlevoix Region, again because of its unique positioning. The Fromagarie St. Fiddle is an excellent place to taste country-style cheeses made in a 100-year-old tradition. The favorites are the cheddar and Swiss-style produced daily; a perfect place to stock up with nourishment for following the other trails through Charlevoix.
To really enjoy the Flavour Trail go to tourisme-charlevoix.com. Here you will find restaurants and purveyors for every occasion.
For over two hundred years Charlevoix’s mountains and tidewaters have evolved into a way of life. The culture trail is perfect for getting in step with the traditions of a region steeped in traditions. Friendly is not a word here, it is a lifestyle and is found in every small village. These places are great for digging into Charlevoix’s culture.
The Charlevoix Maritime in St Joseph–de-la-Rive is an impressive place to get bearings on the importance of the St Lawrence and its hand in the area’s development. Coastal shipping via schooners was a key factor. The museum is located on an old shipyard and a key feature is the schooner Saint-Andre. Another great place to key into maritime history is the Musee Les Voitures on the Ilse-aux-Courdes. There you can explore a schooner from the holds to wheelhouse.
The unique lighting of the area has attracted painters since the 1800’s and one of the best known was Rene Richard whose one time home houses the Maison Rene Richard Museum. From 1939 to 1987 Rene and other artists gathered here to work. The paintings displayed are remarkable testaments to the region’s beauty.
For a complete look at the Culture Trail visit Tourisme-Charlevoix.com.
It can be said that Charlevoix’s beauty comes from above due to a 15-billion ton meteorite 350 million years ago. It is a World Biosphere Reserve designated by UNESCO in 1989, one of the few with human settlements. Outdoor exploration rarely gets as much play as it does here.
To get a grip on the meteorite’s impact it is best to climb to the Sommat du Mont du Lac des Cygnes—a national park.
A quick and easy tromp through the Municipal Parc of Baie-des-Rochers will give you a glimpse of marine mammals and trail to the beach. The choices are endless with both easy and difficult options.
The original hotel was built in 1899 and due to its placement on the cliff at Pointe-au-Pic it remains an exceptional place to bed down. It is massive and during reconstruction bulldozers were used inside, yet the key ingredients of style and period are vividly intact.
Lest your time in the laid back Charlevoix make you wish for a little glitz, on the grounds of the manor is the Casino de Charlevoix.
The story of the Beluga whales is one of the sad examples of losing nature. The Fairmont is helping in preservation and the whole story can be found at dfo-mpo.gc.ca. The Hotel’s website is at Casino-de-Charlevoix.com.
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