Thursday, August 7, 2014

Canada: Baie-Saint-Paul and L'Isle-Aux-Coudres

To read about our first few days in Canada, click here

On Tuesday morning, we woke up pretty early, grabbed some breakfast at our hotel and then headed to the next destination on our itinerary: Baie-Saint-Paul and L'Isle-Aux-Coudres, which were further southwest in the region of Charlevoix, about 45 minutes from La Malbaie.

L'Isle is in the middle of the Fleuve Saint Laurent, and you have to take the ferry. Luckily we arrived in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive relatively early and didn't have to wait too long to board the ferry for the 15 minute trip across the fleuve. 

The ferry

Beautiful scenery

After driving off the ferry, we drove the main road of the island in pursuit of Velo-Coudres, the bike shop where we planned to rent bikes. We got fitted for bikes and helmets and pedaled away to ride the 16 mile loop around the island.

I've mentioned it before, but I love riding bikes. One of the best ways to get "up close and personal" when you travel is to see a place by bike. In many places, it's the preferred method of transportation, and it's so much easier to make little stops along the way (at fromageries and boulangeries!), take pictures, and absorb the details you wouldn't have seen out the window of a car or bus. 

We stopped quite a few times to appreciate the gorgeous views of the river and mountains, take photos, and we stopped at a delicious boulangerie along the way to enjoy some freshly baked pastries and muffins. 

Just pedal


After the bike ride, we rode the ferry back across the fleuve and continued to Baie-Saint-Paul. We enjoyed lunch at a cafe on the main drag, and then proceeded to check into our hotel, Hotel La Ferme, which was in walking distance of the village. 

The hotel was one of the most unique I've ever stayed at. The decor was farm-inspired and very clean and modern. My siblings and I stayed in one of the dortoirs (dormitories). The room had four pull out murphy beds, four closet lockers, and a modular couch. Super cool!


We spent the remainder of the afternoon at the pool, and then grabbed a semi-early dinner before returning to the hotel. 

On Wednesday, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and then drove 45 minutes to Parc National des Grand-Jardins. My dad grabbed some maps at the information desk, and then we took off on an 8.2 kilometer hike to the top of Le Mont du Lac de Cygnes. It was an absolutely gorgeous hike, but it was very steep! It was uphill almost the entire way, and towards the summit we confronted steep stairs and rocky paths. Our hard work was worth it though, because the views at the top were breathtaking. 

Confronting the steep inclines

We made it!

That view


From my Instagram: took my Tigers to the summit!

We completed the hike in around three hours, and then headed back to B-S-P to grab some lunch because we were starving. We found a microbrewery along Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste. We started the meal with some poutine with beer gravy and it was to die for. 


After lunch, my mom and I stayed to peruse the art galleries and shops along the Rue while the rest of the family returned to the hotel to go to the pool. There were so many incredible pieces of art in such a small area. It was entertaining to look at all the different pieces even if we didn't buy anything. We stopped at a bakery on the way back to the hotel so I could get a macaron (obviously!).

On Wednesday night, we enjoyed dinner at Le Mouton Noir. The atmosphere and interior were very hip, and the food was pretty solid. I enjoyed some duck, and my brother ordered an amazing pork dish. Dessert was a mini loaf of carrot cake with super moist cream cheese frosting. 


We were very happy to get to our beds on Wednesday night! The hike wore us out! We rested up to prepare ourselves for the trip to Quebec City on Thursday.

Baie-Saint-Paul was very pleasant. A quaint "seaside" (ok, riverside) village with narrow streets and lots of personality. Still very French, and not very touristy, which was an added bonus.

Today we will explore Quebec City. Expect a post with details within the coming days.

Stay Stylish. Stay Classy. Be Creative.


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