As you cycle along the St. Lawrence River banks, observing the shorebirds and wildlife, admiring the waterfront homes reminiscent of turn-of-the-century seaside resorts, and marveling at the traditional eel nets reaching out to sea, you might even catch a glimpse of passing whales. In the evening, you can enjoy the sun setting over the Charlevoix Mountains north of the river - rated by the National Geographic as one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
Day 1: Québec City to Montmagny
The experience begins with a late afternoon half-hour transfer from the Québec City Airport or Auberge Saint Antoine (www.saint-antoine.com) to the riverside city of Montmagny, known as the snow-goose capital of Canada, near the gateway to Bas-Saint-Laurent. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Chez Octave, Montmagny
Day 2: Montmagny to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. 43km (27mi.)
Leave Montmagny on paved country roads between the Appalachian hills – an extension of the Green Mountains are further south - and the Saint Lawrence River, toward the seaside town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, where woodcarvers and musicians frequently gather to display their art. BLD
Auberge La Belle Epoque, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Day 3: Saint-Jean-Port-Joli to Kamouraska. 55km (33 mi); or 90km (50 mi.) advanced option. Ride through Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, renowned for its woodcarvers and fine art collections along a scenic riverside road, populated with many artisans, sculptures, galleries and museums toward La Pocatière. Follow quiet country roads to St Pacôme, the first of several of Québec’s “25 Most Beautiful Villages” you will ride through this week. Follow the banks of the St. Lawrence, one of the biggest rivers in the world, to Kamouraska, famous for its medieval festival and the archipelago off its shores. The water retreats so far at low tide that some of the islands can be reached on foot. Try not to get caught by the rising tide, or you’ll spend the night alone! BL
La Grand Voile, Kamouraska
Day 4: Kamouraska to Notre Dame du Portage. 35 or 71km (22 or 44 mi).
Leave Kamouraska for some coastal and rural riding to St André. Stop for lunch at ‘les Battures Ecologiques’, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Laurentian Mountains. Follow the flow of the river to Notre Dame-du-Portage, another of ‘the Most Beautiful Villages in Québec, and the end of the great canoe portage between the St. Lawrence River and Acadia - the Maritime Provinces. Optional extra rides include through Riviere-du-Loup through Cacouna – one of Quebec’s Most Beautiful Villages - toward Ile Verte and back by van (or bike for a 106km ride!) BLD
Auberge sur Mer; or
Auberge du Portage, Notre Dame du Portage
Day 5: Trois Pistoles to Le Bic. 45 km (28mi). plus optional 15km in Parc Le Bic.Morning transfer to Trois Pistoles to begin cycling. From a gorgeous waterfall, ride on a woodland trail and across a footbridge into the town of Trois-Pistoles, marked by the tall steeple of the enormous church of Notre Dame-des-Neiges. Stop at the fromagerie, and at the government wharf to take in the view of Ile aux Basques where fishermen rendered whale fat long before Jacques Cartier arrived. The ride from Trois Pistoles to Le Bic takes you through the Basque Highlands, where you can stop to stock up on local specialties such as maple-based drinks. Enjoy the spectacular look off on your way to Saint Fabien, home to the wild falcons frequently seen flying from the cliffs, then cycle to the village of Bic, and try to arrive with enough time to enjoy the ride on paved trails through Le Bic Provincial Park. BLD
Auberge du Mange Grenouille, Le Bic
Day 6: Le Bic to Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens and Métis-sur-Mer 64 or 79km (40, or 49mi).
Ride through Rimouski along the waterfront, stopping at the lighthouse and Pointe-au-Père maritime museum to learn about the RMS Empress of Ireland disaster - the most fatal shipwreck of the 20th century since the Titanic. Continue through Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer toward the real highlight of the day. Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens are truly spectacular, fusing traditional garden serenity with unusual and contemporary artistic themes. You can choose to finish you cycling at the gardens or continue another 15km beyond to your Auberge at Métis-sur-Mer. BLD
Auberge du Grand Fleuve, Métis-sur-Mer
Day 7: Transfer and farewells.
The return transfer to Québec City takes about 3 1/2 hours. It leaves after breafast, and arrives in Quebec city in the early afternoon. B
Start: Québec City Airport,15:30,or Auberge Saint Antoine, 16:00, day one.
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