Vacations! What a sweet word! It’s fragrant and smooth. It melts in your mouth every time we pronounce it. And we are ready to savour it as often as possible. The vacation theme is the most welcome one in all kinds of conversations. We sing about vacations, write books and create movies dedicated to them. It seems like after thousands of years of search, mankind finally found the purpose of its existence, described by one single word – vacations. Everyone imagines vacations differently, but what unites every single person is when they hear this word – a feeling of ultimate happiness and freedom washes over them. It also pairs well with another flavourful word, which has a specific meaning for the people who live in the Temperate Zone – Summer. These two words create an absolutely delicious combination of a sunny and warm mix, with a hint of smoke and marshmallow swirl on top.
In other words, we all love vacations and we wait for them starting from the last day of the previous vacation. In the past two years, we didn’t get a chance to have proper vacations. This year we decided to take a break and go somewhere. We love travelling by car. The question was, in which direction should we go? Back in March, when we visited One Of A Kind show in Toronto, we had a lovely conversation about cheese with a lady from Quebec. She told us about Baie-Saint-Paul and mentioned if we like cheese, we definitely have to visit this place. We did some search. Apparently, Baie-Saint-Paul and its surroundings are well-known tourist destinations, famous for good local food and beer.
We had that conversation in March but the decision to go to Quebec was made much later, I would say at the last minute. And, of course, if we decided to go to Quebec we MUST visit every single place in this province. We created a plan, booked hotels and one Sunday morning we got on the road.
It is an 850 kilometre drive and we decided to make it in one shot. We left the house around 5 am aiming to arrive in Baie-Saint-Paul around 3 pm.
On The Road
As we predicted, ON-401 East was quite empty when we started our journey. We made a couple of stops for coffee and gas. Once we crossed the Quebec border, the traffic became heavier. We were surprised by the number of trucks with boats travelling to Montreal and back.
Traffic in Montreal wasn’t bad at all, since it was Sunday. We’ve visited Montreal a few times before and we didn’t plan to stop there. So we continued moving. Let me tell you, the stretch of the road between Montreal and Quebec City was the most difficult. We wanted to get to our destination faster and didn’t make any stops since we crossed the border. We were tired and the view was also quite boring – mostly just highway.
After Trois-Rivieres, the landscape started changing and became less flat and more interesting.
And once we passed Quebec City, it has changed completely. We got hit with the beautiful mountain views and that was just the beginning.
In another hour we, finally, entered Baie-Saint-Paul.
Our hotel, Maison de la Rive, was located on the bank of St Lawrence river in a very quiet and cosy neighbourhood next to Musee Maritime de Charlevoix. Once you enter Baie-Saint-Paul, you get stunned by the gorgeous views. And our hotel, of course, had one of its own. St Lawrence river on one side and the mountains on another created an indescribable combination — peaceful and very powerful at the same time.
Finally, we were out of the car. As soon as we got the key to our room, we felt that we were not tired any more and were ready for more adventures. The hotel we were staying in was quite small, but very cute.
Please note, going forward the word ‘cute’ will be used very often to describe this area. I do not know how the people who live there could achieve such cuteness in almost everything. Cute houses, cute stores with cute stuff in them, people speaking French – so cute.
About French, that day in a few hours we moved from the completely English speaking region into the completely French-speaking area. Knowing just a few words in French, we often needed our daughter’s help to solve some problems. Like for example, ask what is the Wi-Fi password. This situation reminded me of the famous Steve Martin’s quote “Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything.”
We were hungry, it was time to find some food. We did some search on the internet, set the target and got in the car. Now I will take a break. I will tell the rest of the story in our next few posts.
Maison de la Rive
Address: 280 Rue de l’Église, Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC G0A 3Y0