Ode to Winter
February 23, 2019
To help you better plan your trip, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions at our tourist information offices.
Charlevoix is located at little more than an hour’s drive from Québec City. A World Biosphere Reserve, Charlevoix stretches over kilometres alongside the St. Lawrence between Petite-Rivière-Saint-François and Tadoussac. Consult the Maps and Access section to know more.
When is the best time of the year to visit Charlevoix?
Visiting Charlevoix is a pleasure in all seasons. Charlevoix boasts an unmatched range of year-round activities, well-being, cultural and sports activities. In the summer, enjoy the river and the mountains (in the two national parks) and the many aquatic activities, ride your bike or go hiking. In the winter, snow abounds and the exceptional conditions will bowl over ski lovers and snowshoeing and snowmobiling enthusiasts. The landscape takes on bright colours in the fall and the many festivals add their very own. Spring in the back-country offers a plethora of possibilities to discover – through its producers and maple grove – the wealth of a terroir for which the region is famous.
It is an urban legend. Of course we have mountains. And mountain means hills. Because our roads are well maintained and easily accessible – besides being highly panoramic – slow down is all you need to do ! Take in the view before the next ascent and remember that many take that road on their bike every summer !
From Montréal, a little more than a 3,5 hour drive will take you to Charlevoix. The road is nice and often reveals breathtaking panoramas on the river and the mountains. In addition you can choose between two road journeys to Charlevoix from Montréal, via Highway 20 East or via Highway 40 East.
Our welcoming and tourist information network will help you once you have arrived. Consult the Contact us section for more information.
In summer, the Charlevoix Train is the best way to visit the region’s coastal villages. From the station at Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa, enjoy a getaway to Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, Saint-Irénée and La Malbaie or go west toward the Massif de Charlevoix in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François. Consult the train schedule to learn more. Furthermore, the Intercar passenger transport services serves the coastal villages via Route 138.
Road 362 known as the St. Lawrence Route is thought of as one of the nicest scenic roads in Canada. It runs alongside the Saint-Lawrence stretching over almost 50 km from Baie-Saint-Paul to La Malbaie.
Tadoussac sits at the frontier between Charlevoix and the Côte Nord regions. Figure a 1,5 hour drive (122 km) – and a ferry ride at Baie-Sainte-Catherine – to get there from Baie-Saint-Paul. To know more, consult the Maps and access section.
Consult the following site for all information about the ferry’s schedule to Isle-aux-Coudres from Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive and vice-versa.
Parc national des Grands-Jardins is situated east of Québec and one can reach it from two towns, St-Urbain and La Baie, along Route 381. Mont-du-Lac-des-Cygnes Visitors Center is located at Km 21 along Route 381. To get to Arthabaska Discovery and Visitors Centre, take Route 381 to km 31, take Route 60 to km 9, turn left and drive for 1 km. Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie is situated on the north shore, 170 km from Québec in Charlevoix’s back-country. One can reach the park along Route 138 by driving through the village of St-Aimé-des-Lacs, via rue Principale. It takes about half an hour (27 km) to arrive at Félix-Antoine-Savard Discovery and Visitor Centre.
The Mountain Road is a colourful circuit taking the traveler from Saint-Urbain to Saint-Hilarion and through Notre-Dame-des-Monts, Saint-Aimé-des-Lacs and the National Parks, in the back-country. It is also the road leading to the two National Parks. To find out more about how to get there, follow the road signs.
Many travelers discover Charlevoix on a bicycle. The Charlevoix Train proposes a lovely opportunity to discover the region through its coastal villages. Furthermore, the Intercar passenger transport services serves the coastal villages via Route 138. There are also several hiking trails to explore the landscape on foot. For those looking for a « mini Compostelle » with nights spent in a refuge, visit the pages of the Sentier des Caps and the Traversée de Charlevoix to explore and discover the landscape.
For sure. Some lodgings welcome them free while others demand a minimum fee. The annual Tourist Guide – in its paper version that may be downloaded here – cleary indicates with the use of a pictogram the main dog friendly lodgings. See the Accommodation section of the annual Tourist Guide for more details. You can also find this pictogram on the web site.
Although the National Parks do not accept dogs on their territory, some trails are open to welcoming our faithful companions. Please refer to the Hiking section of the annual Tourist Guide and look for the Dogs are welcomed pictogram . Click here to download the Tourist guide.
Many Charlevoix companies offer a pet-sitting service for a few hours, a day or an extended stay. Please ask about this service at one of our tourist information offices.
Several Charlevoix lakes – including those of our National Parks and outfitters – offer trout fishing in season. Samon fishing is possible in rivers and the du Gouffre and La Malbaie rivers are the most popular.
With fishing permit in hand, fishing enthusiasts may fish on many bodies of water in Charlevoix. Charlevoix’s two National Parks, 15 outfitters and three ZEC (controlled exploitation zones)offer fishing on a day-to-day basis – with boat rental – in a protected environment and for a fee. Some bodies of water are freely accessible ; among those are the lakes du Séminaire, the Baie des Rochers lake, the Deschênes lake and the lac au Chien, to name a few. It is also possible to fish smelt from the quays of several coastal villages.
A permit is mandatory to go trout fishing on the lakes and rivers of Charlevoix. It could be a daily permit, a permit for Québec non residents or a seasonal permit. For salmon fishing, in addition to the recreation fishing permit, you must obtain the sports fishing permit and pay the fee to gain access to the fishing pools. Rates vary according to category and the species of fish. Permits are available at authorized agents, on sites or at outfitters.
Many Charlevoix organizations or companies include fauna observation in natural surroundings with their tourism offerings. Whether observing bear or beaver, dear or moose, the experience is unique and completely safe from the top of a mirador. Furthermore, species like the moose and the caribou may be observed in the Grands-Jardins National Park. Consult the Larger than life landscape section and select the Nature Interpretation attraction for more information.
Outfitters are establishments – resorts and inns in the forest – offering facilities and services to hunters and fishermen. There are dozens on Charlevoix’s territory, mostly in the Saint-Urbain, Clermont, La Malbaie, Saint-Siméon and Baie-Sainte-Catherine areas. Check the section Outfitters to learn more.
The Charlevoix crater is a plateau located between Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie and is of a 56 km diameter. The most important point of impact is unquestionably the Mont des Éboulements. So when leaving the du Gouffre river valley (to the East) or the Malbaie river valley (to the West), you are literally climbing on the crater.
The Charlevoix crater was formed by the impact of a 15-billion tons meteorite cruising at 15 km/second, 400 million years ago. To know more, click here.
The peaks on the North side of the crater are definitely the best observation site. The summit of Mont du Lac des Cygnes offers a direct and unrestricted view on the mounts of the Éboulements. Not enough time to get there ? Go to La Malbaie where the Observatoire de l’Astroblème de Charlevoix takes the mystery out of the Charlevoix’s meteoric origin. In addition, the Mountain Road offers a great view of its Northern boundary.
Whale-watching is available between May and October but the best time remains the months of August to October. There are a lot of them and they are also more active. You can observe them from the shore if you are in Baie-Sainte-Catherine or on a whale-watching cruise.
The boutiques and art galleries are for the most part open year-round with opening hours similar to those of urban centres. However these may vary in low season. For information, consult the Arts, culture and heritage section where fact sheets about the different companies are listed.
The Flavour Trail stretches on a large perimeter of the back-country between Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie. To know more and locate it, refer to the Flavour Trail section.
In summer and winter, our two National Parks offer an incredible range of activities for groups, alone or as a family. For more information, consult National Parks section.
The National Parks, outdoor centres, special paths and even ski resorts offer great opportunities to put on snowshoes and cross-country skis. To know about the best addresses, consult the Winter fun section.
The Saint-Aimé-des-Lacs and Les Éboulements sectors feature a wild and favourable territory for great half-a-day or several day-treks. Refer to the Winter fun section to learn more.
Even though Charlevoix is more of a rural region where tranquility is part of our DNA, there are many ways to liven up the evening. Consult Entertainment section for the best entertainment offerings.
Rosanna’s house which is not accessible anymore, to this day attracts many travelers to the filming location of the popular television program. Situated in Notre-Dame-des-Monts, in the rang Saint-Jean-Baptiste near Saint-Urbain, it took root amid a scenery that is bucolic as well as telegenic !
The region happily shares its know-how. On weekends between May and October, the two public markets offer a wide selection of local products. They are located at the Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa (Baie-Saint-Paul) and in La Malbaie. In summer, enjoy the many regional products (terroir and craftsmanship) in a country ambiance. There are many economuseums, from the cider factory to a cheese factory through the mill and paper mill. For more information, consult the Art, culture and heritage section and select the attraction Economuseum.
Next-door neighbour of the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, the Casino is loated on the cliff of La Malbaie (Pointe-au-Pic area), at a 1.5 hour drive from Québec City and half an hour from Baie-Saint-Paul. To learn more, consult the Casino de Charlevoix’s fact sheet.
Charlevoix is a hospitable region where well-being is ever present. The many health centres, even hotels, offer beauty and health treatments, massage therapy and Nordic baths. Refer to Health and Well being‘s section for additional information.
This old house that dates back to the Prohibition years is located near La Malbaie, in the Sainte-Agnès sector. Reserve a table at the steak house and enjoy a guided tour of the house and a most festive show. For more information, follow the guide or consult the Maison du Bootlegger‘s page.
Boarding from Québec City is at Parc-de-la-Chute-Montmorency station. As for the shuttle service between Charlevoix’s coastal villages, the station at Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel & Spa in Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie’s station are the main boarding points. Check the Train‘s schedule here.
Of course. Our artesans, be they farm producers or cheese-makers, love visitors. For example, on the Flavour Trail of Charlevoix get access to more than forty producers and tansformers, visit their facilities and buy their products at the souvenir shop. More information in the Flavour Trail‘s section.
The St. Lawrence Route offers well-equipped belvederes where the panorama of the river and its islands is exceptional. Furthermore the National Parks all have picnic areas among which many will shelter from rain and wind.
Charlevoix has many concert halls, bowling alleys, billiard parlours, a movie theatre and indoor pools and other indoor activities. It is raining ? Take advantage of it to tour the art galleries and the museums. While some will seek shelter indoor, the most daring will enjoy themselves in a playful way. Have you ever tried mud baths on the beach ? With children, brilliant !
There are a host of activities to do with children. Visiting the farm, short hikes, a quick dip at the beach, climbing walls, go kayaking on a river, tour Isle-aux-Coudres on a bicycle or go horseback riding on the beach, every family member will find an activity to his liking. Consult the Nature and the Outdoors section for more information.
Whether along the banks of the Saint-Lawrence or at the heart of Charlevoix’s mountainous landscape, the region offers cyclists several road circuits. In addition, picturesque secondary roads where cyclists can pedal in complete safety. To find out more about Charlevoix’s cycle paths, refer to A real and vivid tour and select the attraction Cyclotourism.
In Baie-Saint-Paul as in Isle-aux-Coudres or La Malbaie, there are many bike rental companies. Consult the Tourist Guide and look for the pictograms to find the best addresses. Click here to download the Guide. On the web site, consult the a real and vivd tour section and select the attraction cyclotourism.
Charlevoix is renowned as a festive and cultural region. As a matter of fact, it is in Baie-Saint-Paul that the creators of the Cirque du Soleil implemented their huge project at the end of the 70’s. To find out more about the cultural offerings on Charlevoix’s territory, skim through events section.
Charlevoix is a key region for snowmobile lovers. A network of well-maintained trails links Québec City, the Saguenay and the Côte Nord regions. Enjoy it in an all-inclusive formula (machine and adequate clothing) or rent a snowmobile from specialized companies. A map of snowmobile trails is available online. Go to snowmobile‘s section to find the best offer.
Our National Parks and several outdoor centres and independant companies offer kayak rental. It is possible to go river kayaking or sea kayaking everywhere in Charlevoix. It is however recommanded – even mandatory – to retain the services of a professional guide to go conquer the St-Lawrence. Refer to Nautical Experience section for additional information.
The terroir is omnipresent in Charlevoix. Cheese factories abound and organic agriculture is strong. Everywhere, Highland beef, lamb, organic pork, duck and Canadian cows benefit from our pastures. On the Flavour Road, producers open their doors to epicureans while restaurants and small bistros honour the terroir in all its forms. To learn more, consult Agrotourism and the Flavour Trail sections.
Mountain or forest walking enthusiasts, here you will find your match. The Traversée de Charlevoix, des Grands-Jardins and des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Parks are a must. To know more, refer to the hiking trails section.