Saturday, March 13, 2010

Le Charlevoix! Quick Weekend Getaway!

Quebec city - Baie Saint Paul - Pointe au Pic

This is one of my favourite quick weekend getaways.....hop in the car and enjoy the beautiful drive up to the Manoir Richelieu.  The drive itself is gorgeous and if you love architecture, art and even skiing then you would love this trip.
Personally I love to follow the 'Route de la Nouvelle France' which allows you to enjoy the architecture of a variety of ancestrale homes along the way. 

About 20 minutes out of Quebec city you drive through St. Anne de Beaupré where you pass the famous Cathedrale and Cyclorama.  Busloads of people flock to the cathedrale annually as a form of pilgrimage.

As you leave St. Anne de Beaupré you head up into the hills and for about 30 minutes you do not see the St. Lawrence river but simply trees.  Be careful that you do not hit a moose!!!

There are some great hiking trails in this section of the trip.  If you phone ahead you can reserve a cabin overlooking the river.  This is the sommet de l'acropole.  A good climb but well worth it!

Sommet de l'acropole des draveurs
By Patrick Healey Burzukk (Own work)

Laurentides (Parc des Hautes-Gorges, Charlevoix, Quebec)
By Josyan Pierson ( [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Le Massif ski centre is also in this section of the trip.  It is a fabulous centre for skiing. The hills are a nice pitch and you feel like you are skiing right into the river.  How often do you find a ski hill next to salt water??
Baie St. Paul is a great town nestled in between the hills and about 10 minutes past the turn off for Le Massif.  This is a haven for artists during the summer and sheer joy for art lovers.  What a great place to have lunch and stroll the streets enjoying the galleries and shops that line the main street.

BSP 0485.pp
By Paul Paradis (Own work)

Ten minutes past Le Massif you arrive in beautiful Baie St. Paul.  The view as you drive down into the town is gorgeous and the town itself is a great place to stop for lunch and a tour of all the different art galeries that fill this town.  Every summer artists gather here to paint and share their work.
This is definitely one of my favourite places to stop.
Les Éboulements is one of the first villages you reach after leaving Baie Saint Paul.  There are a variety of artists in this locale as well.  The steep rolling countryside is stunning and at this point you are only about 30 minutes from Pointe au Pic.
The next village that will catch your eye is St. Irénée. As you descend down the hill into the village you drive along next to the fleuve and then quickly head back uphill into the main part of the village where you wind your way past small wooden houses painted in bright colours.  Again the artists in this village hang their sign out their door and you are always welcome to stop in and see their work.  The paintings are often of the Charlevoix countryside and well worth the look.

Hikers are rewarded by spectacular views and a plethora of hiking trails.

The next stop is Pointe au Pic and the Manoir Richelieu.
The manoir is built in the style of a french chateau and once
there we usually park our car and don't move.
The manoir has skating rinks, sliding for the kids, outdoor spas and heated pools.  The food is excellent albeit expensive.  You can also walk into the village and check out some of the
restaurants if you need a change.  Personally we eat all our meals in the manoir.  You can pick up snowhoes as well if you want to head off on a hike. 

I could not get a good photo of the manoir but check out the link to the Manoir and you will see how spectacular the manoir really is.
Of course the kids only care about the sliding and all the activities.

The manoir is very old and has seen a lot of visitors in its time but still holds on to the character of these old CP hotels.  Quite majestic, especially when viewed from the St. Lawrence River.

Manoir Richelieu-Hall
By Gilbert Bochenek

The Manoir Richelieu is owned by the Fairmont chain.  Parts of it are renovated while other parts are still waiting an update.  Be sure to ask for the renovated rooms and certainly you will want a view of the St. Lawrence is staying here. There is a casino on site, but certainly you can avoid that easily if you are not interested.  There are skating rinks, outdoor heated pools and hot tubs, hiking trails and lots to do depending on your preferences.

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