This is the year of Canada on The Travelling Boomer. For years, I’ve wanted to spend some time exploring my own country as well as the rest of the globe. This year, I did, with a cruise to the Canadian Arctic. This week I’m off on another Canadian adventure: a visit to Quebec City and the Charlevoix region for some culture, some history, some beautiful scenery and some whale watching.
Quebec City is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in North America, yet until my only visit was a childhood trip many years ago. This year I decided to put that right, and booked a trip for this week, at the peak of Quebec’s lush, green summer season. Walking through the city’s oldest neighbourhoods yesterday, I congratulated myself on a great call: it was more beautiful than I remembered.
More on Quebec City later, but once I leave the city, there’s some real adventure ahead. Thanks to the help of Tourisme Charlevoix, I have four days in the Charlevoix region, one of Quebec’s most popular tourist spots, both in summer and winter. The winter visitors come for the skiing, but in summer, they’re drawn by the region’s natural beauty, xxx parks, quaint towns, and some of the world’s best watching.
Every summer, up to 13 different species of whales swim up the St. Lawrence River to feed on the plentiful food produced by the river’s unique geography – salt water flows into the lower St. Lawrence, and where it meets the fresh water, there’s a burst of life. Tour companies take visitors out for a close look, and on this trip I’ll be cruising the river with the well-known Croisières AML.
I’ll also be spending some time at Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, known for its spectacular scenery as the river meanders between towering rock faces. And I’ll be exploring some of the region’s unique and picturesque towns, places like La Malbaie and Baie-Saint-Paul, whose shops and art galleries draw tourists from around the world.
I love classic hotels with history and character, and I’ll be spending two nights at the historic Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, a classic hotel in the mould of Canada’s iconic railroad inns, the Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta and the castle-like Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City. I’ll also have a stay at the Hôtel Cap-aux-Pierres on Isle-aux-Coudres, and a taste of some of the region’s best cuisine.
It looks like a great week, and it started well, with a fascinating rediscovery of old Quebec City. I’m already wishing I had more time here.