First travel post! I am so excited about starting this new category of my blog. Traveling and discovering the beautiful world we live in is one of my biggest passion, and I have always loved to created travel plans/itineraries. However, when I heard that the borders closed, I had to rethink my original plan for Discover Canada. If there is one thing this whole pandemic has thought us is adaption, isn’t it? Thus, the following posts in this category will be about the beautiful province I live in: Quebec. So in this first post, I will share with you 3 places to discover in Quebec for a short-day trip. Hope you enjoy it!
1- Bike trip to Île-aux-grues
Île-aux-grues is a beautiful little island situated in Montmagny Regional Country Municipality. It is part of a 21 island archipelago but is the only one being populated. As it is only 10 km per 4 km long, biking is the best way in my opinion to discover the island. Moreover, the boat to go to the island, NM Grues-des-Îles is free! I strongly suggest you taking a look at this website to know when there are departures since it depends on the tides. Arrived on the island, the biking trail is called Chemin de la Batture. It is a 14 km round-trip.
*Note that it is possible to rent some bikes on the island. Le Café aux Quatres Vents, which is right next to the port, offers this service.
What to do
Here are few places I suggest you make a stop during your biking trip. The first one is a short hiking trail called Pointe-aux-Pins. At the end of the hike, there is a beautiful little beach. There is also an observatory, approximately at the middle of the island (Chemin de la Volière), where you can admire the island from the top. If you want to take a break for a picnic, I recommend the Parc Charles-François Painchaud.
For those who are more interested in cultural things, there is the museum of the island (Musée de l’Isle), where one can learn more about the history of the island and the archipelagoes. There is also La Mésangerie and La Couleur du Relief, which are cute little boutiques where you can find souvenirs made from local artists.
The island is also well known for its cheese plant called Fromagerie de l’île. The cheeses made there are inspired by the area which creates unique products. It is worth a stop.
To discover other flavors from the island, I suggest La Goloue-Les Maison du Grand Héron. It is a very cute restaurant by St-Lawrence river where you can eat unique meals such as black sturgeon or royal quail. This place also offers unique types of accommodations for those who want to spend the night. You can sleep in a yurt, tipi, or in the inn.
For more information about what to do on the island and where to stay: www.isle-aux-grues.com. For information related to preventive measures about COVID-19, please consult: http://www.isle-aux-grues.com/?s=nouvelles
2- Bleu Lavande (2525 Principal Street West route 112)
Bleu Lavande is a lavender farm situation in Magog, which is a 2h40-3h car ride from Quebec City. Magog is part of the Eastern Townships. Why should you go there? Because they open their brand new location on May 31st, and it looks simply beautiful.
What to do
The site offers many different activities whether it is outdoor or indoor. There is the Interior Discovery Area where you can learn more about this beautiful flower that is called lavender. There is also the Outdoor Discovery Area where you can also learn more about the flower, but directly in the fields.
The Garden Area is the perfect place if you want to do a picnic, relax, or take your next IG picture. It is also possible to purchase some cute little plants. If you did not bring your lunch, don’t worry the Gourmand Area sells snacks and beverages. If you are interested in making your own lavender products, there is a Workshop Area. Lavender tea sachets, product tastings, or how to grow your own lavender are some of the things that you can learn in this area.
If you are not already relaxed by the scent of lavender, you can go to the Foot and Calf Chair Massage Area. Note that this service is available in July and August only, and it is on reservation only. Finally, there is a Cultivation Area and a little Boutique if you want to bring a part of the lavender fields back home.
The tickets to have access to the site can be purchased directly on the following website: https://en.bleulavande.com/pages/lavanderaie. Note that it costs $15 per adult but $12 if you are a student (bring your student card ID). Consult the previous website for the complete list of rates. Note that the lavender farm is open from 10 AM to 6 PM for the summer season, which is from May 31st to September 2nd.
For more information about Bleu Lavande: https://en.bleulavande.com/pages/lavanderaie
3- Île d’Orléans
Yes, another island! Who knew Québec had so many islands to discover? To go to Île d’Orléans, it takes only 30 minutes from Québec city. As it is way bigger than Îles-aux-grues, it can be a challenge to do the complete tour of the island + some activities in one day. However, there are a lot of nice spots right after the bridge, which makes this destination perfect for a short day trip.
What to do?
Why not start this adventure with a sugar boost? The Chocolaterie de l’Île d’Orléans Sainte-Pétronille is a place that you definetly need to stop by. In the same building, there is also a dairy bar where the ice cream is just soo good. Plus, there is a boardwalk right next to it, so it is the perfect place to enjoy your ice cream by the Saint-Lawrence river.
A little further, there is the Galerie Boutique Pétronille, where you can discover the work of very talented Quebec artists.
La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans is another place worth to stop by. It is situated at the other end of the island, which is a 30 minutes drive. This garden of 10 hectares is one of the most beautiful private gardens in Canada. It is possible to do a guided tour if you are interested in learning more about the rare plants it offers or you can visit by yourself. This garden is open from June 18th to October 12th, and it costs 20$/person to have complete access (7$ for lavender fields only).
Cassis Mona & Filles. Have you ever heard of the fruit called blackcurrant? Well, Île-d’Orléans knows it well and also know how to transform this little fruit into delicious products. Cassis Mona & Filles is only 2.2 km from the bridge, which is perfect if you are looking for a short itinerary. Their specialties are homemade sangria and blackcurrant ice cream. I have to admit that the blackcurrant liquor makes the best cocktails. There is also a restaurant with a terrace where you can enjoy a delicious meal inspired by the fruit and cocktails by the Saint-Lawrence river.
Note that not all the attractions of the island are currently open because of COVID-19, so I strongly suggest you to consult the following map before planning your visit (those presented in this post are open): https://tourisme.iledorleans.com/decouvrir/commerces-ouverts-ou-fermes/
This is it for this first “summer post” I hope you enjoyed, and that it made you discover beautiful places from my province. Do not hesitate to tell me in the comments if you like this type of travel itinerary post! COVID-19 does put a lot of limitations on what we can do, but I think we should still try to enjoy our summer as much as possible by doing great activities and discover places from where we live that we might do not know existed.