Get ready for a surprise-filled stay at Parc national du Saguenay ("Saguenay National Park"). The magnificent yet little-known landscapes are sure to make a lasting impression on you. You will discover the disproportionate scale of time and space in a land where nature has made use of its colossal forces to carve out the Saguenay Fjord. The park is divided into three widespread and different areas: Baie-Éternité (Eternity Bay) with its huge rock faces standing 350 metres tall, Baie-du-Moulin-à-Baude (Baude Windmill Bay) situated near to Tadoussac has breathtaking views and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite (Saint Marguerite Bay) has whale watching all summer long. Take a trip in a kayak and follow the tides of one of the longest fjords on the planet. Park website
Perched on a 283.6 sq. km of capes, the Saguenay National Park stretches over the shorelines of the phenomenal fjord, thus safeguarding charming entryways to its proud riverside municipalities. Here are three sketches being played out in this glacial valley. The Saguenay National Park is where nestles one of Quebec's most invaluable jewels. The uniqueness of the Saguenay fjord, its rash and natural beauty, its cultural and historical singularities call out to you. From marine environments to the alpine tundra, you will be astounded by the enchantment, uniqueness and the vastness of the show. While following your host, the fjord, let yourself drift in this perilous work played out by the untamed and naked capes, the bays' chaste sandbars and the myths hiding in its deep coves. Source
The Saguenay Fjord (106 km long) has all the characteristics of the most beautiful fjords on Earth with its overhanging capes up to 350 m high and depths reaching 270 m in some areas. Moreover, underneath the bottom of the river, a trench nearly 900 meters deep and filled with sediments sits on top of the bedrock. The park's hiking trails stretch out for 120 km. Intimately rub shoulders with nearly all of Quebec's ecosystems.
What's a "fjord"?
fjord (fyôrd) - A long, narrow, deep inlet from the sea between steep slopes of a mountainous coast. Fjords usually occur where ocean water flows into valleys formed near the coast by glaciers.
  • Shape: a fjord is a valley shaped by the passage of one or many glaciers which dug deep into its bed giving it the shape of a glacial trough, a "U" shaped valley with an abrupt and imposing rock face.
  • Contact with the sea: fjords communicate with the sea at one extremity and receive an input of fresh water from the other, mixing together sea and fresh waters.
  • The presence of a rocky ridge at its mouth: fjords generally have a rocky ridge at their mouth or a transverse glacial rock bar made out of more resistant moraine rocks and debris that were dragged by the glaciers. The Saguenay's rocky ridge advances up to 4 kilometres in front of its mouth and reveals the presence of a 278-meter trench a little upriver from Tadoussac.
  • Water stratification: fjords are characterised by a very marked water stratification. On the surface, a rapid change, according to depth, occurs in the salinity, temperature and in the density of the water. This phenomenon creates a layer called the "thermo halocline" following the superimposition of the relatively warm fresh water from the incoming drainage basin onto a body of very cold and salted water at the bottom. Source
    A fjord is a glacier valley with tides in it. The Saguenay fjord is distinct because of the sea life and the length of it. It is 100 km long from Chicoutimi to Tadoussac. Immense glaciers engraved the landscape of this beautiful region, creating single abrupt cliffs landscape, plateaus and sharp-edged peaks. The Saguenay fjord has an average width of 2 kilometers and a depth of 270 meters. At the mouth of the Saguenay River, in Tadoussac, the river is "blocked" by a glacial bolt, permitting only a thin layer of water of approximately 20 meters through. The top level waters of the Saguenay, relatively warm and fresh, slip literally on a very salty and very cold sheet of bottom water. This exceptional ecosystem permits the juxtaposition of an arctic marine animal-life with other species that live in a more moderate environment. Source
  • Day 1. Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré   (4 July 2010 Sunday)
    5am-3pm depart Norfolk, MA for Ste-Anne-De-Beaupré, Québec - 456 miles and 8 ½ hours driving time
    3pm-5pm Basilique de Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré
    The present-day Basilica was built to replace the first Basilica that was destroyed by fire on March 29, 1922. The construction began on July 6, 1923 and there are still parts that have not yet been finalized even today. Like many churches, it was constructed in the form of a Latin cross. It is Neo-Romanesque in style, respecting the Roman style of architecture but using more modern techniques. It rests on solid rock. The Basilica's central vault is completely covered with a series of mosaic dedicated to Saint Anne. Her life is portrayed in the vault of the central nave and of the two transepts. An ensemble of 240 stained-glass windows adorn the Basilica. They represent Christ, his apostles and disciples, as well as prophets and patriarchs who announced His coming. They also tell us of the history of devotion to Saint Anne here in the province of Quebec and as it spread throughout North America.
    Way of the Cross (behind the Basilique)
    The Way of the Cross is located on the hillside. Fourteen Stations evoke different episodes of the Passion of Christ. The Way of the Cross is an ancient devotion, inspired by the Gospel narratives and therefore one that has never fallen into disuse. In the calm, cool shade of the maple trees that run alongside the path, visitors are invited to live a sort of pilgrimage to rediscover God’s love for them and to find meaning in the various trials and sufferings of daily life. Each scene contains on average five bronzed cast-iron statues that were prepared in the workshops of Vaucouleurs in France. This Way of the Cross was built over a period of 32 years, from 1913 to 1945.
    5pm-9pm continue driving to L'Anse-St-Jean, Québec - 135 miles and 3 hours 10 minutes driving time
    9pm hotel check-in Les Gîtes du Fjord at L'Anse-Saint-Jean, Québec
    Sheltered in a cove on the Saguenay River, in the heart of the quaint village of L'Anse-Saint-Jean. Les Gîtes du Fjord have offered you a choice location with a magnificent view. 2-room cottage (2 floors, 6 persons). Complete kitchen, room with queen bed, Room with 1 double bed or 2 twin beds, Hide-a-bed, Sofas, TV/Cable computer outlet, fireplace, Sliding glass door and balcony. Chalet 2 rooms with fireplace (max 6 persons). $178/night. At 354 Saint-Jean-baptiste, L'Anse-Saint-Jean, Québec, G0V 1J0 Phone (800) 561-8060 email: Website
    About Saguenay Fjord
    The Saguenay fjord allows the waters from the Atlantic Ocean and of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence to flow into the heart of the Saguenay Kingdom. It drains the water of a catchment basin that covers 88,000 km2 and is 550 kilometres long. This arm of the sea originates at the centre of Quebec and in the northern forest east of Canada. It is unique in the world by its geographic location, the fantastic history and the distribution of the population that settled along the entire length of its shores. Four billions years ago during the geological formation of the Canadian Shield, the Saguenay fjord was formed following successive glaciations that dug deeply into its natural bed. Invaded by the sea, the fjords including the Saguenay, were connected to it at one end and received fresh water at the other end, thereby producing a blend of fresh and sea waters. Interesting water stratification, sedimentation, salinity and temperature phenomena may be observed, in addition to extremely contrasted bathymetry. Source
    About L'Anse-Saint-Jean
    Member of the Most Beautiful Villages of Quebec network. Tucked at the feet of impressing mountains, L'Anse Saint-Jean proposes a beautiful window on the Saguenay Fjord. Come into the village and discover the picturesque architecture of the ancestral houses and the covered bridge. Enjoy the many activities offered: cruises and sea kayaking on the fjord, horse riding, hiking in the Saguenay National Park, salmon and sea trout fishing, bicycle riding on trails. On the belvedere at L'Anse-de-Tabatière, you will be dazzled by panoramic view on the Saguenay river; the 500m trail begins at the lookout's car park. Source
    The only village on the Saguenay when it was founded in 1838, L'Anse-Saint-Jean is famous for its Pont du Faubourg, the covered bridge that was featured on the back of the now-retired $1000 note and which managed to survive the flood of 1996, though the rest of the village was badly affected. The town's other claim to fame is that, on January 21, 1997, it became a monarchy following a local referendum. The new ruler, King Denys I, an artist and professor, also known as "l'Illustre Inconnu" (the Illustrious Unknown), didn't reign for long, though. In the face of local political wrangling he lost much of his popularity and consequently abdicated in 2000. Source
    Day 2. Saguenay Fjord en Kayak   (5 July 2010 Monday)
    9am-4pm Fjord en Kayak 1-Day Sea-kayak Tour
    Fjord en Kayak's mission is to make the joy of sea kayaking and the marvels of the Saguenay Fjord available to everyone, in comfort and in total safety. We set ourselves apart by our constant concern for your safety, our instructional program, the hign training of our guides, the gourmet meals we offer, the superior quality of our fiberglass kayaks, exclusive family packages, small groups.
    1-day Sea-kayak tour. Departure from L’Anse-Saint-Jean. Set off on a sea kayak expedition from L’Anse-Saint-Jean. Follow the waterways of adventure down the legendary Saguenay Fjord, renowned as one of the world’s most awesome. All in an area where two large parks, the Parc du Saguenay and the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, join to protect the pristine natural setting.
    The tour includes Sea kayak basics and safety training. We navigate around l’îlet Saint-Jean, nesting grounds of the amusing spotted sandpiper. Then we continue on through the fjord and its many coves. And here the splendor of the fjord opens up before us with a glorious view of the majestic Capes Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité. This enchanting vision will leave you with a lasting impression of this magnificent coastline. On the summer hotter days, we take a swim at L’Anse de Tabatière. So bring along your bathing suit! During your outing, you may catch sight of a seal, because the seals love to follow kayaks. Expeditions feature a full array of safety equipment, including marine radios. Sea kayaks are maintained and replaced on a regular basis to keep our fleet in like-new condition at all times.
    Paddle jacquets and pants are provided at no extra cost. It does also include water shoes We lend you a 5-liter dry bag for your camera. What to bring: shorts, t-shirt, Sun glasses with a rope!, hat for the day, Sun screen lotion, bugs spray, dry clothes for your way home, water bottles.
    You must arrive at the boutique 30 minutes prior to your departure time. There, you meet with your guide who lends you all the required nautical equipement for the kayak tour. Once all the members of your group have arrived (maximum of 8 persons), the 15-minute basic training session begins. Following that introduction, you take your kayak to the water. Finally, your guide checks to ensure everyone's comfort and kayak stability before leaving for a nice adventure on the Saguenay.
  • What distance do we cover during a tour? For the 1-day sea-kayak tours, we always paddle facing the wind upon leaving, then with the wind at our back upon returning. Also, L'Anse-Saint-Jean has a few small coves that are well protected from the wind. These allow for a safer and easier trip. We paddle between 15 and 25 km a day during the one-day sea kayak expedition, depending on the group's strength and the wind.
  • Is the water cold? In L'Anse-Saint-Jean, the water temperature rises up to between 15-20 Celcius from the end of June until the Labour Day weekend. During hot summer days, the water is sufficiently comfortable to swim in. The closer we get to Saguenay Fjord Delta, the colder the water gets. The arctic currents that reach the Fjord at Tadoussac bring the water temperature to 4 Celcius year round. Fjord en kayak requires that water-proof clothing be worn when you book an excursion in this area.
    What does Fjord en kayak do if it rains? We provide paddle jackets and pants for adults and children of all ages. If it begins to rain while you are in the sea kayak cockpit, you will wear a paddle jacket in addition to the flotation device, a cap hat and some gloves if required. We guarantee your comfort, so that you may enjoy a wonderful experience in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.
  • Should I choose a single kayak, or a double kayak with my friend? For short tours, we suggest a single kayak to people who are in fairly good physical condition, autonomous and who love to learn new sports. We suggest a double kayak to beginner paddlers who are a bit less confident and in less good physical condition. For long excursions, the effort required may be somewhat exhausting, and so the double kayak is probably a better idea in order to take advantage of the stroke rate of the two paddlers. You can choose a solo kayak when you have already some experience kayaking the sea.
  • Can a sea kayak capsize? You would be surprised how stable a sea kayak can be. During the briefing session that we provide for all our tours, your guide teaches you the basic skills so that you may enjoy the best possible kayak stability. A single kayak will capsize more often then a double kayak. People often try to test the limits just for the experience. The guide then recovers the person within 5 minutes. You will not get stuck in the cockpit; it takes about 5 seconds to get out. Our guides practice recovery techniques every week during their first 3 seasons with us. The double kayak is much more stable. We only had to recover a tandem less than 10 times, since the opening of Fjord en Kayak in 1996 . It takes 10 seconds to recover the two persons and keep going.
    At 359 Rue St-Jean-Baptiste, L'Anse-Saint-Jean Québec G0V 1J0 Phone (866) 725-2925 email Departure 9am. Rate $105 (plus taxes). 1-day sea-kayak excursion is not available every day. Website
    Press Article by Claudine Hébert, DESTINATION KAYAK, Magazine Affaire Plus, Juillet 2008, P. 49. As anybody who’s been sea kayaking will tell you, it’s the only way to fully experience all the majesty and excitement of Quebec’s legendary Saguenay fjord. From the moment you dip your paddle into the water at the L’Anse-Saint-Jean departure point, the Saguenay begins to work its magic on you. The adventure grows even more exciting as you approach the monumental natural setting at the mouth to the fjord... a uniquely amazing combination of plateaux, mountain escarpments and 400-metre cliffs carved out at the height of the last Ice Age. All summer long, Fjord en Kayak offers sea kayaking experiences ranging from half-day outdoor excursions to major 5-day wilderness adventures.
  • 5pm-5:30pm drive to Baie-Éternité - 19 miles and 26 minutes driving time
    5:30pm-8pm Baie-Éternité ("Eternity Bay")
    Plan an entire day around your visit to the fjord, including a visit to Baie-Éternité, whose unmatched beauty is seemingly guarded by Caps Éternité (350 m) and Trinité (330 m). Baie Éternité has the Parc du Saguenay Information Centre (admission $3.50). The park's information centre is open daily 9am–9pm (March to September). At 91 Notre-Dame Rivière-Éternité (Québec) G0V 1P0. From the main information centre, a couple of short hikes and a long one are laid out through this sector of the park. The best short hike is the Statue Hike, an easy four-hour (7km) round trip up the massive bluff of Cap Trinité, which flanks the deep-blue water of the Baie Éternité. The summit is topped by a huge statue known as Notre-Dame du Saguenay ("Our Lady of the Saguenay"), erected in 1881 by Charles-Napoléon Robitaille after he was saved from drowning in the river. A travelling salesman had it erected to thank the Virgin Mary for saving him from the freezing waters of the Saguenay River. Source
    8pm til late Petit-Saguenay
    The Saguenay Fjord is a rugged land, so there are few places where you can admire it from the road. Fortunately, you can drive right up to the wharf in Petit-Saguenay, where the view will simply take your breath away: an unhindered 27-kilometre long vista of the fjord! The wharf, located at the mouth of the enchanting Petit-Saguenay River, has been entirely revamped to accommodate travelers wishing to relax and admire the view. There is ample parking, as well as restrooms, a picnic area and a pergola where you can sit and quietly contemplate the view. Take the time to read the interpretive panels: they tell the history of the forestry industry in the lower Saguenay in the 19th century. Source
    Day 3. Site de la Nouvelle-France   (6 July 2010 Tuesday)
    8am-9am drive to Saint-Félix-d'Otis - 29 miles and 40 minutes.
    9am-1pm Site de la Nouvelle-France ("Site of New France")
    Treat yourself to a journey to New France in the company of colonists! Meet colorful historical figures who will guide you on a tour of our four reenactments of 17th century Québec City. Commented tour, equestrian show, archaeology and animations.
  • Guided Tour 9:30am $15 duration 1.5 hours. From a Huron village and the Cent Associés farm to Québec City's High and Low Towns, you will be instantly transported to life in the 17th Century and the beginning of colonization through the guided tour highlighted with colorful historical figures. In these amazing settings you will be completely immersed in the world of New France. During the guided tour of the Site de la Nouvelle-France, an archaeologist will talk about the work being done. Currently, more than 100,000 artifacts have been discovered, making the site one of the oldest and most productive of the area. This site has become, over the years, the historical reconstitution site par excellence of 17th Century Quebec City and its residents.
  • Terra, Horses of the new World 11am-12noon $19 Tuesday-Sunday $19 Duration 1 hour. An equestrian show recounting the history of the Canadian horse. Witness the moving relationship between man and horse... the equestrian arts at their finest with the professional troupe La Luna Caballera! A captivating show that combines history with the fascinating world of horses!
    Witness the special bond between man and horse in New France. Discover how horses became indispensable allies on this harsh new continent. Let yourself to be guided through a series of scenes where horses are the main attraction in acrobatic, trick riding, liberty and dressage performance. The equestrian troupe La Luna Caballera pursues its interest in the historical and symbolic link between horses and humans, using the New France period as the background for its story. How were horses and humans from the "Old Continent" transformed by their contact with the climate, geography, and First Nations of the New World? How did they approach one another in their search for pride and freedom? This is the main theme in this new adventure, the vehicle which the horses and artists will use to take you places you've never been before. Reserve your seats early, only 200 places available by performance! At 370 Chemin Vieux, Saint-Félix-D'otis, QC G0V Website
  • 1pm-2pm drive to La Baie - 20 miles and 30 minutes driving time
    2pm-6pm Musée du Fjord at La Baie
    The Musée du Fjord is an entertaining, dynamic environment where the secrets of the Saguenay Fjord and its inhabitants are unveiled. Explore the fascinating Baie des Ha! Ha! and Saguenay Fjord ecosystem! Microfjord will show you the microscopic flora and fauna living in these fresh and salt waters, on a giant screen! And see the exceptional, ever-changing landscapes around the bay from the Bell Observatory. Once you have seen Science Fjord, never again will you look upon the waters of the bay and fjord in the same manner! it offers visitors of all ages a truly unique experience.
    Through sights and sounds, the Jarnigoine exhibition tells an amusing, stirring, astonishing, and unique story – that of the Saguenéens who put their shoulders to the wheel and created what is called the Pays du Fjord. The residents of La Baie, also called Baieriverains, are people of the word; they can tell their own story like no one can! They have a thing called jarnigoine (friendly, talkative disposition), everyone will tell you! They share their history with pride, a splash of colour, and maybe a touch of exaggeration. Open every day 9am-6pm C$10. 3346, boulevard de la Grande-Baie Sud Ville de Saguenay, arrondissement de La Baie, Québec, Canada G7B 1G2 Website
    Pyramide des Ha! Ha!
    Erected by a group of citizens as a memorial to the 1996 floods, the Pyramide des Ha! Ha! is today a first-rate tourist attraction. Made up of 3,000 “Yield” signs (the French play on words cédez (yield) for s’aider, meaning to help each other) mounted on an aluminium structure, it yields a great view of the bay from its 21-metre observation point. The pyramid is also used as a stage for shows and concerts, and educational activities. The Musée du Fjord manages the guided tours and interpretative activities on the site. Open in summer only. $3. Located close to the Musée du Fjord. Following the 1996 flood, a group of citizens built this reflecting pyramid conceived by artist Jean-Jules Soucy and composed of aluminium yield signs. Source
    6pm-6:30pm drive to Chicoutimi - 30 miles and 40 minutes hours of driving.
    7pm til late Chicoutimi and the City of Saguenay
    The former city of Chicoutimi was merged with other cities to create the new large city of Saguenay. Chicoutimi has therefore became a district of this large city. The city of Saguenay was born from the merging of several municipalities, the largest of which are Jonquière, Chicoutimi and La Baie. The new city of Saguenay has become the urban heart of the region. It is home to the famous large-scale shows, as well as numerous interesting museums and great attractions, for the joy of visitors. The name of the Chicoutimi district comes from the Montagnais “Shkoutimeou”, which means “the end of the deep waters”. It is the most populated district of the new city, but also its administrative centre. Chicoutimi enjoys a great geographical location, at the junction of the Chicoutimi and Saguenay rivers. You will find here the famous little white house, a house that is miraculously still standing after the 1996 flood. Take advantage of your stay in the area to walk along the quay or to visit the remnants of the pulp and paper factory. Source
  • La Pulperie de Chicoutimi - This historical site and museum is lodged within the old mill of the Compagnie de pulpe de Chicoutimi. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the history and significance this mill has had on the development of the city and the region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean during the last century. At 300 Dubuc, Chicoutimi, QC G7J 4M1 Source
  • 8pm-9:30pm drive back to L'anse-Saint-Jean - 53 miles and 1 hour 20 minutes driving time
    Day 4. Fleuve Saint-Laurent ("Saint Lawrence River")   (7 July 2010 Wednesday)
    The main tourist centre of the region is Tadoussac. It lies at a pretty spot at the neck of the Saguenay Fjord and its confluence with the St Lawrence. Many come here just to catch a boat to head out to the whales.
    One of Canada's oldest villages, Tadoussac is beautifully situated beneath the rounded hills that gave the place its name; the Algonquian word tatoushak means "breasts". Basque whalers were the first Europeans to live here and by the time Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 Tadoussac was a thriving trading post. The mid-nineteenth century saw Tadoussac evolve into a popular summer resort for the anglophone bourgeoisie: the first hotel opened in 1846 and by the 1860s steamer-loads of rich anglophones were arriving every summer to escape the heat of the city.
    Nowadays it's the best place in Québec, for whale-watching. Late June is a good time to be here, when traditional Québecois folk singers, jazz pianists and rock guitarists all play a part in the popular Festival de la Chanson. The waterfront rue de Bord-de-l'Eau is dominated by the red roof and green lawns of the Hôtel Tadoussac, a landmark since 1864 and the focus of the historic quarter. Across the road is the oldest wooden church in Canada, the tiny Chapelle de Tadoussac. Source
    Tadoussac, a small village surrounded by hills conjures up: wooded, rocky coasts: the majesty of the St Lawrence River, the Saguenay Fjord ( the only one in North America), the huge dunes, a lovely lake in the village, charming old houses, and many activities will help you enjoy your stay. The charming beauty of the Bay of Tadoussac made it, in 1998, a member of the Select Club of the World's Thirty Most Beautiful Bays. This made Tadoussac North America’s first official member of the Club. Tadoussac became the first Canadian municipality to celebrate its 400th anniversary. Source
    When we think about Tadoussac, pictures of cruises and whales come to mind, followed by scents of the marine Park, bird songs, and flights of birds of prey. The escarpments are astonishing. Source
    1:30pm Whale-watching Safari aboard Famille Dufour
    Photographers, turn on your cameras! Ecologists, en route for your observation posts! A fascinating live biology lesson given by a bilingual naturalist guide (French-English). Whale-watching cruise aboard the single-hull boat Famille Dufour I (capacity: 500 passengers). Cruise lasts approximately 3 hours.
    Naturalists all agree that whales love sea spray and waves. For the roughly 2½ hours you will spend on the St. Lawrence River, you will notice astonishment and amazement from your fellow passengers as you watch giant marine mammals cavort in the water. Maybe you will be fortunate enough to be sprayed by a surfacing whale? Our whale-watching cruises are more than an expedition out on the seaway to look at big animals swimming around. You are sure to discover a lot about the St. Lawrence River and its mammals and cetaceans. Cruise commentary provided by our experienced bilingual naturalists. (French-English). Be sure to dress warmly, the air can be surprisingly cool on the St. Lawrence, even in the summer months! Departures from Tadoussac 9:30am and 1:30pm. $62. Website
    The mouth of the Saguenay River is one of the world's best places to watch whales, including the Blue Whale - the world's largest mammal. The warm waters of the Saguenay Fjord merge with the cold water of the St. Lawrence River, creating a krill-rich feeding ground that draws marine mammals and birds. It's one of the best, easily-assessable whale-watching areas in the world. Source
    Baie-du-Moulin-à-Baude ("Baude Windmill Bay")
    Overlooking the St. Lawrence Estuary, the Baie du Moulin à Baude sector offers an exceptional panorama of the river where the passing of the last glacier led to the creation of two marine terraces known in the region as “The Dunes”.
    Baie-du-Moulin-à-Baude has the La Maison-des-Dunes Interpretation Centre (Open daily 9am–5pm) at 750 Chemin du Moulin à Baude, Saguenay Parc, Tadoussac, QC G0T 2A0 which explains how the coastal landscape was formed and the human occupation, gives visitors the opportunity of observing one of the most beautiful landscapes in the park. A major crossroads for the migration of birds of prey, you can go bird-watching at the top of the dunes where three lookouts facilitate the observation of sparrowhawks, falcons and passerines. Take part in an interpretation activity during a seaside hike on the Pointe-de-l’Islet trail and discover the hidden life of the shoreline. Also at Pointe-de-l’Islet, a talk will help you appreciate the beauty of the riverside plant communities along the St. Lawrence. Source
    Day 5. Val-Jalbert   (8 July 2010 Thursday)
    6:30am-9am drive to Chambord, QC - 108 miles and 2½ hours driving time
    Lac St-Jean ("Lake Saint John")
    Lac St-Jean, a former glacial basin, is the source of the Saguenay River that flows out through the scenic cliff-lined Saguenay Fiord to the northern shore of the St Lawrence. The fertile plains and forests around the lake are part of the Canadian Shield, and its mountain setting gives Lac St-Jean some of the most beautiful scenery in the Province of Québec. In August large quantities of blueberries are harvested here and the district is also well-known for its cheese. Source
    The Lac-Saint-Jean area is a plain dominated by a lake so vast you can only see the opposite shore on a clear day. With its 210 km of shoreline, endless beaches and major attractions, it is definitely a must-see destination. It is surrounded by the Véloroute des Bleuets, a 256-km cycling network accessible to all. It offers a new way to discover the region's beautiful and spectacular natural sites - a delight for nature lovers. Source
    9am-12noon Village historique de Val-Jalbert
    In 1901, the industrialist Damas Jalbert built a sawmill and paper and cardboard factory, together with a village to accommodate the workforce which was 1,000 strong. By 1927 the factory had closed down and the settlement became a ghost town. Part of the factory and the machinery survive and can be seen. A number of buildings including the school, butcher's shop and grocer's shop, have recently been restored and there is also an interesting little museum documenting the history of the project. Source
    Dominated by the majestic beauty of the 72-metre high Chute Ouiatchouan, the Village historique de Val-Jalbert takes you back to both the good times and the tragic closure of a model, working village created in 1901 around a pulp factory. Classified a historic monument, this vast, 182-hectare wooded domain on the banks of the Rivière Ouiatchouan, offers many points of interest. The historic village itself consists of many restored buildings, such as the convent, the general store, the post office, the pulp mill, etc. Also on the domain are the famous rue Labreque, lined by the workers' abandoned houses, a walking trail and a cable car that climbs to the observation decks of the Ouiatchouan and Maligne Falls.
    You can visit the village on foot or aboard the "Balade" (an old streetcar). In high season, you'll see many theatrical productions, spotlighting typical characters from the old village, complete with an authentic historical backdrop. Throughout the summer season, you can also observe many buildings of patrimonial interest, collections of antique objects, the reconstitution of a logger's camp and a herbarium. The Chute Ouiatchouan, which means "river of clear waters" in Innu, tops off the visit. No one can remain indifferent to this rushing downpour, which seems to spurt out of the forest and roar down to the old pulp and paper mill, 72 metres (236 feet) below. People from the Lac-St-Jean region like to point out that the Chute Ouiatchouan is higher than Chute Niagara! Upstream, you can also observe another waterfall, also issuing from the tumultuous Rivière Ouiatchouan: the Chute Maligne. A cable car travels up to the first waterfalls. Apart from these beautiful cascades, you will also have a panoramic view of Lac Saint-Jean, a real interior sea, whose far banks can be seen in very clear weather. A hiking trail leads you to the Chute Maligne.
    Take a little trip to Chambord in the Lac-Saint-Jean region and as if by magic, you will suddenly be swept into heart of the 1920s in the mono-industrial town of Val-Jalbert. From the convent to the post office, from the gossips at the general store and the pulp mill, take a glimpse at the daily lives of working class families of the era. You will live through their confusion when the announcement came that their village was closing in 1927. From high up in the cable car, you will be overcome with emotion before the power of the Chute Ouiatchouan. In the silence of the campground at night or in one of the site's rooms, you'll wonder if the marvellous waterfall that fuelled the mill, now keeps the old village alive...
  • The Convent - Come and observe a classroom and recite your lessons with the Notre-Dame-du-Bon Conseil nuns, just like the children who lived in Val-Jalbert in 1921.
  • Without question, the highlight of your visit to Val-Jalbert is the cable car climb to the summit of Chute Ouiatchouan and, higher still, to the observation deck of the Chute Maligne and an incredible view of Lac Saint-Jean.
  • Chute Ouiatchouan - Take a deep breath: the extraordinary beauty and power of the Chute Ouiatchouan (72 metres, or 236 feet), will make your heart race. From the observation deck where the cable car stops, contemplate the horizon of Lac Saint-Jean, a lake so vast, it seems like a sea.
  • The General Store - Quite a bit of chit-chat goes on in the big general store, what with all the news and all the gossip.
  • The House-Museum - Discover or rediscover a multitude of old objects that were part of daily life in the 1920s, most of which were found on the site.
  • Chute Maligne - From the cable car's arrival point, uphill of the Chute Ouitchouan, a wooded trail leads to an observation deck. The Chute Maligne is a 49-metre high waterfall (160 feet).
    Day Pass C$22 Cable car C$4. Open 9:30am to 6pm. At 95 Saint-Georges Street Chambord (Québec) G0W 1G0 Phone 1 888 675-3132 email Website
  • 12noon-1pm drive to Saint-Félicien, QC - 24 miles and 40 minutes driving time
    1pm-6pm Zoo de Saint-Félicien
    Explore the magnificent boréalie nature! The Zoo sauvage of St-Félicien invites you to come live an unforgettable experience among the the Boréalie species. Come witness the proximity of almost 1000 live animals in natural wide open spaces. You are located in a zoo with an extremely different concept from what you would expect. Get on board our caged train to discover all the splendor of the Nature Park Trails. Continue the adventure by walking along our pedestrian section accessible to the entire family. Meet our nature guides on site and follow the zoo keepers for the animal feeding.
    The Welcome Center will surprise you with the presentation of its two very interactive films. For nature enthusiasts, the “Walking Adventure in the Land of the Caribou” package, offers a one and half day guided expedition by reservation only. For the children, the Zoo sauvage offers the “Boreal summer camp” and the kids section in the Mini farm. New for the summer 2009, the arrival of the Amur tigers in the Asian section.
    The Boréalie encompasses the land where the average temperature of the coldest month is lower than -3 degrees Celsius. It corresponds to the Northern part of the globe where the ground freezes more than three months out of the year. The Boréalie spreads out from Canada to Alaska; from the North of Russia to certain Nordic areas of some countries of Europe and Asia, Japan in particular. In 1995, the Zoo sauvage parted with its collection of exotic animals in order to devote itself to Northern North-American wildlife. Since then, the Zoo sauvage has continued its evolution and is now fully devoted to the Boréalie, therefore specializing in the Northern part of the globe.
    Multisensory Movie Duration 10 minutes. Motion picture projection with special effects that will make you experience the rhythm of the seasons and acquaint you with the Boréalie. The Multisensory Movie is included in the Zoo Sauvage entry price and is scheduled every 15th and 45th minute of the hour.
    Animal Feeding Come meet the Zoo Sauvage caretakers and the nature guides during animal feedings. This must see activity will allow you to learn more about the behavior of our animal species. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the show of some of our greatest stars such as the Polar Bear and the Japanese Macaque. Following feeding, you will have the opportunity to talk with our nature guides who will happily answer your questions. Don’t miss out on this learning opportunity and take note of the Animal Feeding Schedule or ask one of our guides when you arrive at the Zoo Sauvage.
    At 2230, boulevard du Jardin St-Félicien Québec G8K 2P8 Open everyday 9am-6pm Admission $34. Phone 800 667-5687 Website
    6pm-9pm drive back to L'anse-Saint-Jean - 129 miles and 3 hours driving time
    Day 6. Cap Jaseux   (9 July 2010 Friday)
    8am-10am drive to Cap Jaseux - 67 miles and 1 hour 45 minutes driving time
    10am-2pm Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux
    Since 2002, Parc Aventures Cap Jaseux is unique in its ability for innovation with its Land-Sea-Sky-River experiences, as well as its indespensable Aerial Ropes Course, vast array of outdoor and ecotourism activities : Kayak excursions, sailing, hiking, river rafting and now « Via ferrata overlooking the Saguenay! The adventure experience extends to Tree Houses, 8 meters above the ground, a unique commercial concept and a first in North America; everything to fulfill every big child.
    Via Ferrata is Italian for ”Iron Way” and is a climbing route with permanently fixed cables for protection and metal ladder rungs to ease your movement over rock. The Via Ferrata is a new North American activity. You climb a vertical rock face overlooking the Fjord. The rock face is geared to your progression. It is a unique, fun and secure adventure. You are guaranteed to experience intense moments. Two new sections have been in use since 2006. Our team of professional guides is waiting for you. Participants 8 years and up must measure at least 1m50 , arms extended, from fingertips to toes and weigh a minimum of 45kg (100lbs). The “functioning” and equipment are similar to the aerial ropes course hikes, but you will be moving from one rock face to another instead of from tree to tree. You are accompanied by our certified and highly passionate guides. Unique in North America, the Via Ferrata invites you to jump from rock to rock, hooked to the capes of the fjord! The most courageous ones who will dare look down will embrace a magnificent view of the fjord.
    We recommend athletic clothing and shoes (shoes must be firm). Avoid wearing sandals, jewellery and sunglasses. Long hair must be tied back. Available everyday at the height of the tourist season and on week-ends during the off-season. Reservation is necessary. Duration is 3 hours. Activities will take place in whatever the weather, unless extreme weather conditions prohibit activities (ex: electrical storms, violent winds).
    Are there flies? There are certain periods where there are more flies than others. Mosquitoes are especially abundant at the beginning of the season. You can keep them away by buying Mosquito spray at the Park’s entrance store.
    $35 + tax. 1-888-674-9114. A 25% non-reimbursable deposit of the total amount guarantees your reservation.
    From Sainte-Rose-du-Nord village, take Highway 172 West and drive for about 20 km and watch the signs for “PARC AVENTURES DU CAP JASEUX, l’expérience TERRE-MER-AIR” . Turn left onto Pointe aux Pins Road and the park is 3 km down this road! 253 Saguenay Street, Saint-Fulgence, Québec G0V 1S0 Website
    2pm-2:30pm drive to Sainte-Rose-du-Nord - 25 miles and 35 minutes driving time
    A Picturesque Village in the Mountain. The village of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord is nestled in the fjord capes, in the heart of a valley. The village is made of three main coves, which are the High Cove, the Théophile Cove and the Women's Descent Cove. The first families started to settle here only in the middle of the 19th century. During the 1929 crash, about thirty families chose to come to the village to join the ones already established. The first road to link the village to Chicoutimi was built in 1937. Before that date, the village was a self-sufficient community, and the villagers lived mainly from agriculture. Over the years, the forest industry took over and nowadays, visitors can discover a picturesque village by the fjord, far from all the hustle and bustle of the city. The houses seem to cling to the cliffs and in the valley. Numerous activities can be done in the village, like sea kayaking, cruises, ice fishing in winter, or simply let yourself be charmed by the panoramas offered from the viewpoints.
    Also considered as one of the most beautiful villages of Quebec, Sainte-Rose-du-Nord conceals the Musée de la nature where you can see an impressing collection of tree mushrooms, strange sculptures, Quebec’s butterflies, Canada’s lynx, tree curls and witch’s brooms. You will also have the chance to see and touch two 3.5 meter long sharks, which were captured under the ice in Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. Source
    This museum features specimens of regional flora and fauna. You will see two Greenland sharks from the fjord and some 100 preserved specimens (not hunted) displayed in an entirely rebuilt setting: natural green plants, mushrooms, tree gnarls, rocks and butterflies. Discover the unparalleled beauties of nature at this unique site. Source
    Baie-Sainte-Marguerite ("Saint Marguerite Bay")
    Baie-Sainte-Marguerite has the Beluga Interpretation Centre, with a rich history linked to the industrial colonization, has recovered its tranquillity and is a perfect site for an authentic meeting with the beluga. From the lookout, the guide naturalists will share the secrets of the beluga’s way of life and the importance of protecting the environment in which it lives. Source
    Baie Sainte-Marguerite has figured prominently in the history of the Saguenay’s industrial colonisation. Now, after a bustling past, it has regained its serenity. Today, it is inarguably one of the best spots to experience an authentic encounter with the St. Lawrence belugas. These white whales can sometimes be seen frolicking for hours at the surface of the water. Since they are an endangered species, it is a true privilege and a moving experience to be able to watch them so clearly from shore.
    At the lookout, guide-naturalists will share with you the secrets of the Beluga’s behaviour and explain the importance of protecting its habitat. There is also an interactive exhibit at the Le Béluga Interpretation Centre that provides information on the beluga’s habitat and the evolving relationship between the St Lawrence beluga and humans over the centuries. At the centre, you can also take part in an interpretive talk, organised activities or a guided tour featuring the region’s history. Source
    Day 7. Festival d'été de Québec (Québec Summer Festival)   (10 July 2010 Saturday)
    7am-11am hotel check-out / drive to Montmorency Falls - 151 miles and 3½ hours of driving time
    11am-2pm At Montmorency Falls
    Measuring 83 meters high - 90 feet higher than Niagara Falls - the Montmorency Falls are an amazing attraction for all ages. Take the short 15 minutes trip to see this natural wonder. The Montmorency Falls are located in front of the Island of Orleans and were named by Samuel de Champlain for his patron, the duke of Montmorency. Though higher than Niagara, they are far narrower. The waterfall is surrounded by the provincial Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where you can stop to take in the view and perhaps have a picnic lunch. The park and falls are accessible year-round. In winter, the plunging waters are particularly impressive: The freezing spray sent up by the falls builds a mountain of white ice at the base called the pain de sucre (sugarloaf), which sometimes grows as high as 98 feet! On summer nights the falls are illuminated, and toward the end of July and into August, there is an international fireworks competition overhead, Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec. You’ll note that the yellow cast of the waterfall results from the high iron content of the riverbed. Source
    2:30pm-3pm drive to Ville-de-Québec ("Québec City") - estimated distance 22 miles and 35 minutes driving time
    3pm hotel check-in Champlain Hôtel (formerly Hôtellerie Fleur de Lys)
  • private parking ($) restricted and with reservation only
  • Cappuccino and espresso coffee (complimentary 24 hours)
  • Wireless high speed Internet
  • air conditioning, iPod, AM/FM radio with alarm clock
  • Television and DVD Player
  • a small refrigerator
  • breakfast is graciously provided to all our guests The Deluxe rooms are furnished with two (2) Queen size beds and every room has a workspace with a table and a cozy chair. $229/night.
    At 115 Rue Sainte-Ann Quebec QC G1R 3X6
    between Rue Ste-Angele and St-Stanislas
    Phones (800) 567 2106 and (418) 694 0106 Email Website
  • About Québec
    The beautiful and unique Québec City boasts a rich heritage as a French settlement and trading hub. This French-speaking city is located along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River and is the capital of the Canadian province of Québec. Vieux Québec (Old Québec), the only fortified city on the continent north of Mexico whose walls are still intact, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. With the Castle Frontenac dominating the skyline of Québec, one can’t help but feel the magic of this fascinating city. Source
    Irresistible Québec Ctiy! Cobblestone streets, epicurean delights, terraces, the romantic Château Frontenac on Cap Diamant overlooking the majestic St. Lawrence River and the Lower Town Place-Royale... Québec City has a personality, an attitude, a lifestyle... A whole array of emotional experiences awaits you inside its historical walls and beyond! Never will it cease to amaze visitors and locals alike. This fortified city, founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, provides a memorable walking experience. From Upper Town to Lower Town, all is about enchantment-old stone houses, museums, quaint shops, street musicians and artists, and over 250 restaurants... To learn more about our historical heritage take a guided tour or visit one of the many interpretation centres. Source
    Québec Fortifications
    One of the city’s most unique features is the 4.6km (2.9-mile) rampart encircling the Old Town, making it the only walled city north of Mexico. It is possible for one to walk along the top of the fortifications, which offer sweeping views of the city and the St Lawrence River. Near the Citadel, at Porte St-Louis (one of the four surviving city gates) is the Center d’interprétation des Fortifications-de-Québec, which includes displays on the city’s history. It is the departure point for 90-minute guided tours (from June to mid-October) by costumed Parks Canada staff and is also the best place for self-guided walkers to set off from. Source
    Dufferin Terrace
    Facing the Château Frontenac, this pleasantly landscaped promenade and boardwalk offers the city's best view of the Saint Lawrence River and Old Quebec. Full of vendors, street performers and scores of visitors in the summer, the boardwalk is also an excellent starting point for touring the rest of the city. Those in search of some exercise can descend the staircase to the Lower Town—others ride the precipitous funicular railway. The spectacular Promenade des Gouverneurs leaves the Terrace to the south, runs beneath the Citadel, and emerges at the Plains of Abraham. Source
    Château Frontenac
    Perched atop Cap Diamant, the immense, striking Château Frontenac appears to look down defiantly upon the St. Lawrence River below. Erected over a series of seven stages beginning in 1892, the building brings to mind the château-style hotels built by Canadian railroad companies toward the end of the 19th century. Recognized worldwide for its charm, the Château is also becoming known for the quality of its cuisine. Source
    Festival d'été de Québec (Québec Summer Festival)
    For the past 42 years, the Québec City Summer Festival, the first of its kind in North America, has put on hundreds of exciting and varied shows and concerts for the entire 11 days of the festival, making it Canada’s biggest outdoor artistic event. With more than 300 shows in 11 days, the excitement that builds in the heart of Québec City is contagious. It’s a must! With its unique formula, Canada’s biggest outdoor artistic event gives festivalgoers admission to all the outdoor shows and concerts for a single price. Out on the street and on the indoor and outdoor stages, performers get the crowds of 1.7 million ecstatic fans up in a veritable celebration of music. Rock, song, pop, electro, jazz, reggae, folk, hip-hop, funk, blues, classical music! Québec City’s Summer Festival is all this and more! Please note that the 43rd Quebec City Summer Festival will take place from July 8 - 18, 2010.
    The Quebec Summer Festival presents a rich programme of music, street entertainment and cultural events in venues throughout the centre of town. Of more than 400 separate shows, some are entirely free – notably the street entertainers who perform nightly along la rue Jean Coutu. For the main programme, a varied international cast of artists joins the mainly French-speaking Canadian line-up of rock, folk, jazz, singer-songwriter, world music and circus acts. Access to most venues is by festival pass and the largest of them is Scene Bell, in the amphitheatre on the Plains of Abraham, holding up to 40,000. Headline concerts at indoor venues are generally ticketed separately. The Quebec City Summer Festival programme aims to have something for everyone, regardless of age or tastes in music, and there is an entire section geared towards children and families.
    Hydro-Québec Pass This is the deal… 11 days of shows for $45. The Hydro-Québec flashing badge is unique to Québec City’s Summer Festival. It’s your ticket to all the Festival’s outdoor shows and a lot of the indoor shows, too. You can get your Hydro-Québec badge at the regular $45 price at the 37 Metro supermarkets in the greater Quebec City.
    Day 8. In and Around Ville-de-Québec ("Québec City")   (11 July 2010 Sunday)
    La Citadelle
    La Citadelle of Québec is the most important fortification built in Canada under British rules. It was designed according to a defence system developed by a French military engineer named Vauban and built under the supervision of Lieutenant-colonel Elias Walker Durnford. The construction of the outer walls began in 1820 and it took 30 years to finish its construction. La Citadelle is in the shape of a four-pointed polygon, with each point forming a bastion and covers 37 acres. It contains two buildings constructed by the French and numerous others very well preserved.
    This national historical site, also known as the Gibraltar of America, is the best place to begin a trip into the military past and present of Québec City. Our one-hour guided tour will provide you information about the American attacks, the construction of the fortress and its buildings. The visit of the Royal 22e Régiment Museum located in an old French powder magazine (1750) and a former military prison (1842) is included in the tour.
    La Citadelle is an active military garrison and cannot be visited individually. Guided tours of 60 minutes are therefore offered in French or English. We can also provide written documentation in five other languages: German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Chinese. We offer a special visit for groups interested in learning travel.
    Changing of the Guard takes place daily (June to September) at 10 am at the Citadelle. La Citadelle of Québec is an official Residence for the Governor General of Canada since 1872. Open daily 9am-6pm. Admission $10. Website
    Place Royale
    Samuel de Champlain (Québec’s founder) built his first home at Place Royale in 1608. In 1686, a bust of King Louis XIV was erected, and the site was given the name it still carries today. Two years later, Champlain’s house was torn down and Église Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was built in its place. The site has remained a landmark throughout the province’s evolution. As the first permanent settlement in New France, Place Royale hummed with the hustle and bustle of rich merchants under the French Regime. In 1690, the French used onsite cannons to defeat English Admiral Phipps’ fleet. Following the 1760 Conquest, Place Royale returned to its commercial roots. Today, it is surrounded by businesses, restaurants, and interpretation centers that bring its rich history to life. Source
    Parliament Building
    A standout amongst Québec’s political heritage buildings, Hôtel du Parlement (built in 1886) is one of North America’s oldest parliamentary institutions. The building’s fascinating Second Empire–style architecture is a testament to the province’s political history, and it houses an impressive collection of works. The multimedia display entitled Le Québec, ses députés, ses regions (Québec, its MNAs, and its regions) explains the inner workings of the National Assembly, which is where the province’s 125 members sit.
    The Québec Parliament building, a product of architect Eugène-Étienne Taché and built between 1877 and 1886, was designed with four wings set in a square around an interior court. These structures are the seat of the National Assembly of the 125 provincial representatives. During your visit, experienced guides will provide you historical details and information on the Québec National Assembly. 30-minute guided tours are offered in English and French and, with an advance reservation, in Spanish and Italian. Please note that tours may be restricted during the legislative session. Its address is 1045, Rue des Parlementaires. Source
    Aquarium du Québec
    Travel into the ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River and Canadian waters, and discover northern plant and animal life. Observe 10,000 freshwater and saltwater fish specimens, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and marine mammals as Atlantic and Pacific walruses and polar bears. Enter the Underwater World at Aquarium du Québec! Visit the ecosystems of the different marine environments and discover their plant and animal life. Close to 10,000 specimens of fresh water and salt water fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and marine mammals animate the Aquarium’s basins. Come and applaud the polar bears, the enormous Pacific and Atlantic walrus and the very sociable seals! From the Boreal to the Arctic… Travel into the ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River and Canadian waters and discover northern plant and animal life. This 16-hectare site is the only one of its kind in Québec. As you make this amazing journey all the way to the North Pole, you'll have the chance to observe 10,000 fresh- and salt-water fish specimens, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, as well as marine mammals, such as Atlantic and Pacific walruses, seals and polar bears.
    In beautiful setting overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the bridges, come and observe harbour seals and spend a magic moment in their company. An entertaining, enriching and dazzling presentation! Open daily 10am-5pm. $16. Website
    Day 9. Drive Back Home   (12 July 2010 Monday)
    8am-6pm hotel check-out / drive back home to Norfolk MA - 436 miles and 8½ hours driving time
    6pm Home Sweet Home

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