From its striking mosaic of idyllic landscapes to its incredible sunsets, you will be captivated, even bewitched, and you’ll want to return time and again…
Bas-Saint-Laurent: the beauties of the river are in view and ready to be explored. Here too are islands, mountains, lakes and dozens of picturesque villages that can only be truly appreciated if you take your time... Otherwise, the secrets of Bas-Saint-Laurent that make this land so magical will remain hidden.
Whether you take the “Route des Navigateurs” along the river, the “Route des hauts plateaux” with its panoramic views of the coast, or the “Route des Frontières” to explore the back country, you’ll discover a rich heritage and little gems all along the way. Stop and admire the “monadnocks”, the rounded formations of hard rock that punctuate the landscape.
Enlightened ecotourist or neophyte – you’ll marvel at the myriad islands set like strings of pearls – Île Saint-Barnabé, Île aux Lièvres, Île aux Basques, and the fabulous Île Verte with its verdant tranquillity from a by-gone era.
Cycling is another great way to explore and enjoy Bas-Saint- Laurent. In winter, an unexpected contrast awaits you, and if your heart so desires, you can explore a vast network of 1,800 km of snowmobile trails.
A Garden of Eden on the St. Lawrence!
Flavours of the region
Bas-Saint-Laurent is a “terroir” of refined, sometimes salty, aromas.
- This region has a short growing season and few insects, and much of the farming is organic (dairy products, maple syrup production, cattle and lamb rearing, market gardening and berries).
- Where the river meets the salt water of the ocean, you can fish for sturgeon, but eels are the stars here – they even have their own interpretation centre in Kamouraska. Stop at a smokehouse to sample this tender smoked fish.
- On the regional menu you’ll also find Kamouraska lamb, pre-salted lamb from L’Isle-Verte, rabbit, duck and partridge, as well as fine cheeses made in the traditional way.
- You must try the Bas-Saint-Laurent “cipaille”, or meat pie, a traditional dish composed of alternate layers of pastry and game meat. Comfort food at its best!
- Orchards and fruit trees abound, and plums take pride of place. As for the maple sap, it is said that the products made from it compete with the original in the Témiscouata region, where they make a type of maple port.
- This region is also famous for its potatoes and salted herbs.
Did you know?
Heavy winds in fall push the eels into the bays and creeks that keep them imprisoned at low tide. Adult eels (15-20 years) must stop over in this area because the change in the salinity of the water allows them to adapt before undertaking their incredible migration to the Sargasso Sea off the coast of the United States. This is where all American eels spawn and, it is presumed, die after having spawned between 2 and 20 million eggs, depending on the size of the adults. After 2 years at sea, the elvers return to the rivers and streams. There has been an eel fishery in this region for over 3 centuries. Eels are a delicacy for those who enjoy their wonderful flavour.
A little history
Bas-Saint-Laurent, now a paradise for ecotourism and resort vacations, was once a fashionable, up-scale destination for the grand ladies and very wealthy gentlemen of Quebec, Ontario and even the United States. They came to “take the waters” to improve their health. The therapeutic properties of the salt air, the iodized sea salt spray and the cold waters of the St. Lawrence River were already well known in the 19th century. Remaining from this era are the magnificent, bourgeois homes that make the riverside villages, Kamouraska and Cacouna in particular, so beautiful.