Journey to Charlevoix

(Cap-à-l’Aigle, Québec, Canada)

After “sports camp” at Lac Delage, we continued east from Quebec City to the Charlevoix region on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.  I’ve been skiing at Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif but have never been here during the summer months.  Little did I expect that the most-photographed locality for the day would be a relatively obscure village named Château-Richer.

There must be an interesting story behind this hay sculpture in Château-Richer, Québec

Château-Richer is very old by Canadian standards…a rural parish was established there in 1678.  It is filled with old houses featuring a sloping red roof, such as the one in the photo at the top of this post.  However, it’s not all about distant history in Château-Richer:  check out the bizarre hay guitarist!   The nature of agriculture has also changed over 400 years:  we saw lots of alpaca farms throughout the region.

Another building in the “Nouvelle-France” style, at Château-Richer, Québec

It’s usually the village next to Château-Richer that gets most of the attention.  Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré has little more than 2000 inhabitants but it has a massive basilica that seems to attract every tour bus in the province.  It is the site of many miracles:  the pillars at the front of the church are festooned with crutches that were no longer needed by their owners.

Alpacas were not historically found in Château-Richer, Québec

I took a photograph of the green slopes of Mont-Sainte-Anne but it just doesn’t look as impressive without the snow.  Still, it did whet my appetite for the upcoming ski season:  my ski posse and I are making steady progress on the planning for our annual ski trip.  Details on that journey will be posted on this blog in due course.

Every tourist takes this picture in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec

I have to admit that the journey onward to Baie-Saint-Paul was pretty miserable:  there was a sudden downpour, the terrain was extremely hilly, there was a lot of construction, and there were a lot of impatient motorists who were probably driving too aggressively for the road conditions.  Unfortunately, there is only one way to get to the Charlevoix region by car!

A less-traditional church, just down the road in Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Québec

Our previous visit to Baie-Saint-Paul was marred by an arsonist’s attack on the auberge where we were staying.  While we escaped and there were no other injuries, there was extensive damage to the auberge:  click here for the details.  We quietly returned to the site of the fire and saw that there was absolutely no evidence of that frigid and scary night.  It was kind of surreal to see things “normal” there but it is completely understandable that the auberge and the town would want to move on.

Downtown Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec

As for the rest of Baie-Saint-Paul, it seemed to have even more art galleries and specialty shops than we remembered.  However, the main difference between this and our winter visit was the sheer number of people.  It wasn’t quite the sleepy town we remembered!   We made peace with Baie-Saint-Paul but were also ready to continue further east in the Charlevoix region:  stay tuned for the details!