GVQ Travel |Escorted Tours |Autumn
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The mighty Saint Lawrence River
13 days / 12 nights

The Saint Lawrence stretches over 3500 kilometres of coastline and encompasses no less than 6 distinct, marvellous regions: the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, the Gaspé Peninsula, the Manicouagan and the Duplessis region, the Magdalen Islands and the Quebec maritime. The Saint Lawrence is not just a river, it’s a river that becomes a sea, it’s two mountain ranges, it’s 13 different whale species, it’s an incredible variety of birds and it’s so much more, too! Culture, adventure, eco-tourism… not just one, but all three await you during this trip. It is Quebec at its finest, and it’s just for you

Itinerary

DAY 1: MONTREAL

Arrive into Montreal-Trudeau International Airport where a GVQ Travel guide will be there to welcome you. Transfer to Montreal, Quebec’s cosmopolitan metropolis. Check-in to your hotel.

DAY 2: MONTREAL - RIVIERE-DU-LOUP

During the guided tour, you will discover the city’s main landmarks: the ancient buildings of Old Montreal, the Place d’Armes, the Place Jacques-Cartier, the Notre-Dame Basilica, Mount Royal Park, the Olympic Stadium, host to the 1976 summer Olympics and downtown Montreal, where old buildings neighbor modern skyscrapers.  Later, we set out to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, well-known village for its craftspeople and artists in the fields of woodcarving and sculpture. We continue on to Rivière-du-Loup, administrative seat of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. The park downtown offers great views on the 30 metre waterfall into the Saint-Lawrence. You will get breathtaking panoramic views on the river and islands from the lookout. Check-in to your hotel.

DAY 3: RIVIERE-DU-LOUP - CARLETON

In the morning you will be visiting the Reford Gardens. Designed as a traditional, 19th century, English-inspired, private garden, it is internationally acclaimed today as one of the wonders of horticultureIn the afternoon, we drive out to the city of Carleton, which was founded in 1756 by Acadian refugees. The stunning landscape of sea and mountains combined with the mild climate of the Chaleur Bay (Baie des Chaleurs in French) has led to the development of a seaside tourist resort. Hotel check-in upon arrival.

DAY 4: CARLETON - PERCÉ

We leave for Percé, a small tourist town which is famous thanks to the Percé Rock. A must-see in Paspébiac is the National Historical Site of Paspébiac fishing bank. The site is a complex of eleven buildings, all of which belonged to the two largest fishing companies from Jersey, “La Robin” and “Le Boutillier Brothers”. We have lunch here before continuing the drive to Percé. This drive will take us through some typical villages of the Chaleur Bay. Upon arrival, we explore Percé and then check-in to the hotel for two nights.

DAY 5: PERCÉ

This morning we complete your understanding of the region by visiting the Interpretation Centre of the Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park. You will get in-depth explanations on the Northern Gannets’ way of life and you will also gain thorough knowledge of the natural phenomena in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. The afternoon is dedicated to a cruise around Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island. The island is a wildlife sanctuary that a wealth of seabirds visits, migrates to or lives on. We disembark on the island to get a closer look at the gannets. Dinner and overnight in Percé.

DAY 6: PERCÉ - MATANE

Today we are underway to Gaspé, a historical site because this is where Jacques-Cartier claimed the land for the King of France. We stop at the Jacques Cartier Monument National Historic Site. We then go on to the Forillon National Park, which supports a wide variety of flora and fauna typical of this part of the coast. Located at the outer tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, the park hosts the start of the International Appalachian Mountain Range. We’ll be treated to lunch along the way and then continue touring the Gaspé peninsula driving through numerous fishing villages. We take a moment to stop and admire the wonderful coastal landscape at the Grande-Vallée rest area. On the way to Matane, you will see Cap-Chat and its famous wind turbines. Once in Matane, we check-in at the hotel and then enjoy a relaxing evening along the majestic Saint-Lawrence River.

DAY 7: MATANE - SEPT-ÎLES

Today you will experience the huge size of the Quebec territory as we cross the powerful Saint-Lawrence River. We will be eating lunch on board the ferry and will visit the Pointe-des-Monts lighthouse, which hosts a large exhibition illustrating the life of the Natives and Pioneers who lived there in the past. The Pointe-des-Monts chapel was an aboriginal missionary chapel built in 1898 and restored in 1964 by the last lighthouse keeper. The antique lightkeeper’s house now features a fine cuisine restaurant and a country lodge. You often get to see and hear whales feeding, just off the shore and this is also the most perfect place for birdwatching. We drive on to Sept-Îles, which owes its name to the seven-island archipelago in its bay. Hotel check-in.

DAY 8: SEPT-ÎLES - HAVRE-SAINT-PIERRE

Our drive continues along the coast, encountering landscapes that you could think only exist on postcards! You will be taken on an unforgettable cruise through the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve to admire spectacular cliffs, arches and monoliths sculpted by the never-ending wear of sea and centuries. In 1984, about 40 islands and 2000 islets and reefs were classified as the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. This group of islands presents an abundance of unique ecological environments, playing host to a wide range of flora, such as the carnivorous pitcher plant. Stay alert during your cruise, as many opportunities will arise for you to observe not only numerous seabird colonies, such as puffins, but also seals, dolphins and whales. We will enjoy lunch during the excursion. By the end of the day we arrive in Havre-Saint-Pierre, a town founded by Magdalen fishermen in 1857 and prosperous since 1948 when a titanium mine was discovered close-by. Hotel check-in.

DAY 9: HAVRE-SAINT-PIERRE - BAIE-COMEAU

Today we head for Baie-Comeau. The Manitou River is named after the spirits we think haunt it and that some of us believe they hear in the spectacular, roaring 35-meter high waterfalls. A short stop can be arranged for here. In the afternoon, we visit the Village Forestier d’Antan (old-time forest village), which documents the life of the lumbermen and log drivers at the time of the colonization. We continue on to Baie-Comeau, a major forestry centre for the pulp and paper industry. The city was named after Napoléon-Alexandre Comeau, a trapper, geologist and naturalist from the Côte-Nord. The city is unrivalled in terms of stunning landscapes and genuine, local hospitality. Hotel check-in.

DAY 10: BAIE-COMEAU - MANICOUAGAN - BAIE-COMEAU

Today, we set out to visit an incredibly impressive hydroelectric plant. You will see the world’s largest multiple arch buttress dam, Manic-5 and Manic-2. These two powerhouses are part of a complex providing for almost a quarter of Quebec’s power needs. In the plant, you will experience first-hand the energy of the 400-tone generating unit, running at 120 revolutions per minute. Visit the dam further and you will discover a hollow joint the size of a Boeing 747. We then drive the last bit to Baie-Comeau.

DAY 11: BAIE-COMEAU - TADOUSSAC

We are off to Tadoussac today, with a stop at the Parc Nature de Pointe-aux-Outardes where you will admire, and probably photograph, the distinctive beauty of the Côte-Nord, one last time. You will not be disappointed by the Manicouagan peninsula and its fabulous beaches. Donohue Forest Products Baie Comeau, the largest sawmill plant in the eastern part of Canada is located here in Pointe-aux-Outardes. The name Tadoussac comes from the Montagnais word “Takoshak” which means “udders” in reference to the two rocky and sandy hills located on the west side of the village. The place was also the first fur trading post in Canada, making it a village of importance both for the American Indian trappers and their European trading partners. The estuary of the Saint Lawrence is a privileged place, where several cetacean species come to feed and mate off the coast. You will spend the afternoon and the evening at leisure. Hotel check-in.

DAY 12: TADOUSSAC - QUEBEC

En route to Quebec, driving through the grandiose Charlevoix region. This region is a very welcoming blend of culture and nature that won’t fail to seduce you, as it has so many painters, poets, writers and musicians before you. The road boasts a magnificent lookout on the river. Lunch will be a traditional sugar shack experience during which you will enjoy country recipes, all with pure Maple syrup. The atmosphere and the traditional music might even get you up dancing! In the afternoon, we will tour Quebec City, the cradle of French civilization in North America and the only fortified city north of Mexico. Old Quebec was the first North-American city to be added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, and for good reason: it is a privileged historical place that attracts international visitors. Enjoy some free time to discover Old Quebec at leisure. Hotel check-in.

DAY 13: QUEBEC - MONTRÉAL-TRUDEAU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Spend the morning at leisure to either continue exploring the city or to shop. Transfer to Montreal airport according to your flight schedule. Stop for lunch on the way.

The itinerary and the activities are subject to change with the season.

The holiday includes

  • Standard, 3-star accommodation, except in Tadoussac (2-star accommodation)
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned, luxury coach with restroom
  • The services of a professional Francophone guide
  • The activities, tours and visits mentioned in the program

Not included in you Holiday

  • The flight
  • Insurances
  • Tips for the driver and the guide
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks (except tea or coffee with the provided meals)
  • Baggage handling

Optional

  • Lobster dinner in Percé
  • Tadoussac: whale-watching cruise in the estuary of the Saint-Lawrence
  • The Garden of the Glacier in Baie Comeau, is an invitation to appreciate and understand the traces left by glacial erosion. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the Seashell Valley, a wall, several metres long, made of seashells piled up one on top of the other, in the middle of the forest! The park also offers the possibility to learn about Innu history, and for those of you who are in for an adventure, you can visit the Adrenalin Zone offering maritime zip lines, and a climbing wall.