- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Hiking / Trekking
- Park and garden
I found the tiny, unpretentious little city of Baie-Saint-Paul – a quick stop on my road trip through the province of Quebec – to be a quite charming place. Its traditional-style houses and numerous galleries make Baie-Saint-Paul a city of art and history.
Rue Saint-Joseph and Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste are both genuinely beautiful and lively places. It's enjoyable to spend time admiring the magnificent, highly colourful buildings that stand along them. For fine food in a very pleasant atmosphere, I recommend a visit to the Café des Artistes on Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
Beer lovers have the option of taking a guided tour of Microbrasserie Charlevoix (a microbrewery), during which visitors get to sample the drinks brewed there. We were made aware of its existence by the charming people who picked us up and gave us a lift when were were hitch-hiking.
The main street is charming. It's a narrow, twisty street full of welcoming small shops. One after the other, there are galleries showing local work, chocolate shops, bakers, brasseries, restaurants, etc. I found some beautiful things, so don't hesitate to go in and look around. In addition, the people who live in Baie Saint Paul are very friendly. I've often been there and every time I leave happy to have visited this small corner of paradise in French Canada.
As well as the pretty shops, this is a heritage town because there are around 85 houses that are more than 100 years old. It's one of the oldest towns in Quebec. After walking round the town centre it's nice to have a walk around the quay. There is a wonderful view over the river. For the sporty among you, it's possible to rent kayaks and go explore the region from another point of view.
I carpooled to Baie Saint Paul from Quebec and arrived there quite early one Monday morning. As it was still too early to go the hostel I had reserved I had a great breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, eggs, bacon and the rest.
Then I walked around town. It was very peaceful because it was only the end of May and so out of season. Nearly everything was shut, and the weather wasn't great...Nonetheless, the tourist office advised me on what to do in the area, although without a car it was going to be difficult to accomplish! OK, I decided to see what the hostel advised.
Thankfully the hostel was really nice, a bit out of the centre, but high up so you had a great view over the bay and the Saint Laurent river. Apparently the place is heaving in the Summer but then it was empty...apart from a couple of Quebecois tourist who were thinking about going to the Grands Jardins National Park in the afternoon - ok, sounds good!
So we set off for our little (or big...) walk round the natural reserve only a few kilometres away. The weather wasn't great and we even felt like it was still Winter in places. The road climbs quickly but you have a great view once you get out of the forest.
The next day I walked on the beach a bit before pulling my finger out and getting back on the road north!