This article is part of a series written by Joannie Fillion, a photographer and mother of three from Baie-Saint-Paul. By sharing precious moments spent with her beautiful family, we discover a local’s new passion for the Charlevoix region.
A few times a year, we all need a change of air. And what better way than to get it than taking in the salty sea breeze that blows over Isle-aux-Coudres. Last year gave us the opportunity to rediscover our magnificent local region, so it’s with great pleasure that I share one particular little family getaway. It was indeed such a reinvigorating breath of fresh air, I hope it inspires you to set foot on the island this summer and discover its breathtaking beauty for yourself.
To make the most of your time, if you’re the pre-planning type, you can find the current ferry schedule here. You’ll find crossings between the island and the mainland close to every 30 minutes during high season – and while the crossing takes only 20 minutes, it offers long lasting memories as you take in the sublime view of the Charlevoix coast. Let your mind drift away as you’re lulled by the waves and caressed by the gentle sea breeze.
Once on the island, our first stop is at the bakery Boulangerie Bouchard. A visit to Isle-aux-Coudres would not be complete without a delicious strawberry brioche or a croche pâté (literally translated as ‘crooked pie’ – a delicious little meat pie with a charming and noble history). Their hand-made pastries and breads are definitely worth the detour – if only for the intoxicating aroma! With their sweet and savory treats in hand, we enjoy a water-side picnic that the kids just love, as it sets up the day with a taste of what’s to come! Fully satisfied, we then explore charming little shops, visit historic sites or burn off the pastries with some cycling. Don’t worry if you didn’t bring your bike – the Vélo-Coudres Rental Center offers one of the largest selections in North America.
For our first visit to the island this year, the children wanted to see the Moulins de l’Isle-aux-Coudres and the famous Roche pleureuse. I recounted the story of this famous ‘weeping rock’ to my daughter Alexanne. If you’ve never heard it, legend tells of a lover who was awaiting the return of her fiancé from Europe on his three-masted ship. She waited so long for him that she finally turned into a crying rock! The children were astonished to see a rock actually shed tears as the waves lap the shore.
To end the day, we like to drop by the cider house, Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault, where we sample and stock up on their delicious handcrafted libations. Finally, I would like to give a special mention to the summer theaters of the Auberge La Coudrière, the Hotel Cap-aux-Pierres and Hotel La Roche pleureuse, which, despite being among our usual favorite activities, with my baby Livia in tow, we’ll wait until she can fully appreciate what they have to offer. But don’t let that stop you!
I hope this inspires you to take your own island adventure to l’Isle-aux-Coudres and return with your own beautiful family memories, hopefully year after year.
For more adventures, follow Joannie Fillion on Instagram @joanniefillionphotos.