On Sunday at about 9am, my friend met me at my place and we set out for our day long drive to Charlevoix.
I’ve already been a few years ago during summer vacation with my boyfriend. We actually came across the whole area on a spontaneous desire to see where the autoroute 132 would lead and ended up with some pretty amazing scenery. Last time we didn’t stop at a lot of viewpoints but I was fully aware of the beauty of the landscape itself. However, an unfortunate situation with technology, aka a virus attack, wiped my computer that fall and those were the only pictures that I had not backed up yet. Actually there was some other ones from Canyon St Anne, also in that area, but I’ve been meaning to go back to that region for a second visit and redo my pictures. So, here I am!
It takes about 4.5 hours to get to La Malbaie and a little bit less, maybe ten minutes less to come back. Its highly feasible as our main goal is to make short stops at various viewpoints we come across and take pictures or take short visits in whatever location.
This drive would lead us for a first part of a rather uneventful drive is to get to Quebec City. Its essentially nothing much to see for 2.5 to 3 hours. The best part is seeing cows and farms and endless straight roads surrounded by trees. However, the weather was a little gray when we left but took the turn for the better as the day went on. That always helps 🙂
Our first stop was after crossing the Pierre Laporte Bridge in Quebec City to the autoroute next to the Montmorency Falls Park, which we drove by and then further down, we reach a beautiful church called St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary. I was here last time as well and its just amazing.
Parking was per person so we tallied up to $4 and went off to take a walk around the area and inside the church. There was a mass going on so I kept the pictures at a minimum and only in the other rooms and not where there was the actual mass, because thats not only against the rules but also quite disrespectful.
After walking around a little and my friend going to get a shooter glass for his collection for this trip, we were on our way again.
Next stop: Baie St Paul –> The beginning of the River Route
The first viewpoint is also the beginning of the River Route along with the Charlevoix tourist information centre. I always like to visit these because then I can get a good idea for future trips, especially for the next time my boyfriend and I go hiking. Other than beautiful scenery, the best part about Quebec is all the mountainous areas and all the hiking trails. Its the biggest province in Canada but its not densely populated so it leaves lots of rooms to connect with nature 🙂
After grabbing a bunch of pamphlets and maps and seeing all these potential hiking trails, my enthusiasm came right back (probably even more than before that long morning drive felt). The scenery is breathtaking already and this is just the start.
Back in the car and on to the next viewpoint! This time, we are going uphill for a bit and buried in a mountain side looking back into the water and land.
After enjoying this and taking a bit of an opportunity to stretch out, while cursing at the stupid car that parked super close next to mine despite ALL the other places, especially since it was a close maneuver to get out and back onto the uphill (and pretty busy) road, I finally got out and continued along.
The next viewpoint is located in an area called Les Eboulements as in the mountains that surround it. Its pretty much a plateau looking over the St Lawrence River and also if we went further near the coast, it would be the ferry to go over to the Iles aux Coudres, an beautiful island that you can see partially in two pictures below.
I’ve never been to Iles aux Coudres but I plan on going one day. It looks absolutely beautiful and there’s tons of activities to do.
After this area, the rest of the River Route starts going downhill till we eventually get to the coast running along what I believe is the St Lawrence River with a few wharfs, beaches and whatnot. We eventually saw that where there were a few cars that pulled over. That is our final “unofficial” viewpoint.
This was a really comfortable and peaceful place to look at. It did eventually get a little too breezy and that was when we knew it was time to head home. At the end of this River Route along the Route 362, it merges back at La Malbaie, the final region and merges back into autoroute 138 to go back home.
The drive home was pretty intense, especially the first part going back to the Quebec City area. I had to make a stop to freshen up with some lovely green tea. And on we went back home pretty much afterwards. I had stopped drinking tea for a few months already so I guess my body completely reacted (or overreacted) to the caffeine because I was wide awake for the next 4 hours and made it back right on track at around 8pm.
It sounds a bit crazy to do a day trip with that many hours to get to our destination and just taking pictures but believe me, the view in Charlevoix is part of the 1000 Places to see before you die book. Its soothing and breathtaking. You could even go back via the Mountain Route, which I was supposed to do but apparently I missed the part to go in so we skipped that and just left.
Beautiful scenery, a nice escape, road trip, good company…I really couldn’t ask for more.
Have you been to Charlevoix? Which viewpoint do you like the best?