Quebec Road Trip, Day 1
We were not so bright eyed, but definitely bushy-tailed the morning we were setting out for our Quebec road trip. Despite being out until far too late the night before with friends, the moment the sun peaked over the Ottawa valley I hopped out of bed and got to work packing up the last of our camping gear. We were so excited to sneak a little Canadian travel into this Fall. Since moving to Ottawa a couple years ago we have talked about a road-trip in the easternly direction- seeing as its pretty much on our door step. We have been to (and loved) PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but have seen little in our favourite french province outside the cities of Montreal and Quebec City. The stars finally aligned and we had 12 blissfully free days to explore 'La Belle Province' however we saw fit. Conveniently, we have a truck tent which required some action. (A truck tent that goes over the bed of the truck allowing us to sleep off the ground.) September seemed like the perfect month for this adventure as we hoped to do lot of hiking and see heaps of wildlife and not so many people.
Travel information in English is lacking for planning a Quebec trip outside the main cities. Even the Lonely Planet is published ONLY in French (ridiculous). I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see, but liked the idea of keeping plans flexible since I didn't really know what to expect.
It took us most of the day to get to Baie Saint Paul, about an hour East of Quebec City. We were discussing where we would stretch our legs, and getting pretty excited about the thought of getting out of the truck when it first started to rain. It wasn't raining hard, thankfully and J had thoughtfully packed umbrellas so we still managed a stroll along the waterfront, which was really beautiful. There is a beach and a pier and even a little forest. Back in town we easily found the best parking spot, right in front of the impressive church at the intersection (ah the joys of September travel) and walked down the adorable main street. Baie Saint Paul is super atmospheric, its main street lined with colourful shops, art galleries and restaurant patios. It felt so different than home. We were definitely on vacation!! And I was already impressed with Quebec. We celebrated this by a quick stop at the chocolatier (as one should). Dark was creeping in and we had one more short stop to make before heading to the campground to set up for the night. The Microbrasserie Charlevoix! Yes! Baie St Paul really does have it all! (Note: We bought the brewery's double and triple and both were super delicious).
Our drive to Camping du Gouffre took us past quintessential Charlevoix landscape: farms, rolling hills, photogenic barns and fromageries. With more time this is an area I'd love to taste.. I mean explore some of these sites...
While the campsite was not super impressive it certainly served its purpose. We had a nice site right on the river and there was hardly anyone else there. The power lines buzzed overhead but the bathrooms were clean and there was potable water available for free. We washed dinner down with local beer and followed it with a brownie from the chocolatier. Day 1: Success.
Where we stayed:
Camping du Gouffre just outside of Baie St. Paul,
Site: $32CAD for a site without services