- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Park and garden
- Place or Historical Monument
We staying longer than planned in Roberval during our trip to Canada: festivities to celebrate the 60th Traversée Internationale duLac Saint Jean (a 32 km swimming race across Lake Saint-Jean, beginning at the tiny town of Péribonka and finishing at Roberval) were being held there at the time. Conditions were not ideal that year – it was very windy, and the water temperature was around 20°C. So some of the swimmers ended up having to abandon part way through. But there was a great atmosphere along the lake shore, and the race itself ended in a dead heat between two happy winners!
After a spot of bathing at the city's main beach, we went to have a look around the city, admiring the pretty, traditional-style houses – some of which are very old – as we did so. I was surprised to discover that the water of the lake was the same colour as iced tea. After asking some locals about this, it turned out that this unusual colour is caused by particular vegetation that colours the water of the rivers that flow into Lake Saint-Jean.
A festive atmosphere reigned in the city, which has a population of 12,000. The theme of our first evening there was "Danse sociale et country" ("Social and Country Dancing"): dozens of people dancing in rhythm to music provided by a live group. It was very impressive to see so many different generations of people all able to do country style dancing!
The lakes is surrounded by a series of towns and villages and these make for nice places to visit. This is one of the largest populated lakes in Quebec. The area's inhabitants are famous for their warm hospitality, straight talking and love of good living. These are without a doubt people who know how to enjoy life to the full!
A lot has been done locally to attract visitors to the area and ensure they enjoy their stay. There is no end of activities available in both summer and winter. For example, there are a number of national parks located in the region as well as a long-distance cycling route, a historic village, a major zoo, etc. If you have enough time available, it's enjoyable to explore the region and its various towns and villages – such as Dolbeau, Saint-Félicien, and Val-Jalbert – together with the spectacular scenery of Lake Saint-Jean at your own pace. This is also the best way (if you speak French) to get used to the strong accent and local expressions used by the people in this corner of Canada!