Posts filed under ‘Île-Dupas’

macaron detour and magic hour in the park

On day 2 of our Québec road trip, Jules, Christina, and I discovered the Star Académie tour bus in the parking lot of our hotel. Guess we weren’t the only ones who found the Groupon. (Star Académie = Québec’s version of American Idol)

After a quick bite of the hotel’s continental breakfast and subpar coffee, we hit the road, heading northeast off of the island on highway 40. We had never taken the northern route east out of Montréal; highway 20 is the more common link between Montréal and Québec City. But we had stops to make on the northern side of the St-Lawrence, including a quick visit to Charlemagne, home of Québec’s ultimate songstress, Ms. Céline Dion. I was sort of (really) hoping for a giant Céline statue right off the highway or something, but all we got was a street sign as we exited the parking lot of the supermarket. Nice supermarket, though.

The next stop was Île-Dupas, hometown of Ms. Joannie Rochette, where we also saw her street sign. We took time to drive through the town there, and like nearly every small town in Québec, it boasts a lovely church.

Further northeast on highway 40, we crossed the St-Lawrence at Trois-Rivières and stopped at the QC tourist info centre. The one near Trois-Rivières is very nice, with a picnic and play area, and very helpful staff who compliment you when you do your best to speak French with them! We bought a map there and also took goofy photos on a giant Acadian adirondack chair, along with this really cute one, which I had bust out my tripod for.

As we were heading south on highway 55, heading towards highway 40, Jules said something like, “Hey…how far are we from Drummondville?” I looked at the map and explained that it was back the opposite way, towards Montréal, but not terribly far. “Because I remember on the Maison du Macaron website, they had a location in Drummondville…”

And decision made. So we drove about 35 kilometres in the wrong direction to get to Drummondville. At the time, I was the only one of us with a smartphone, and I wasn’t using data in Canada. So we pulled into the parking lot of a McDonald’s, but discovered that the wifi wasn’t strong enough in the parking lot. I went inside with my laptop and quickly pulled up the Maison du Macaron website and found the address, which ended up being a kitchen boutique in downtown Drummondville. We awkwardly walked around the store, thinking that we’d made a mistake, until one of us got the nerve to ask if this was the right place for macarons.

“Of course! We have them in the back!”

Sweet. Since we’d gone out of our way for them and thought they’d be our last, we sprung for a box of 12.

They were frozen, so the worst part was that I had to hold them in the backseat, waiting patiently for them to thaw out. But once they thawed, we started passing them around. The mojito remained my favourite, although the lemon got some serious praise as well. Macarons: the perfect road trip food!

We spent quite a bit of time stopping at scenic churches, which was easier to do once the autoroute ends, just after Rivière-du-Loup. Although you can’t beat the autoroute when you want to get somewhere faster, I was glad that the Gaspé portion of our road was done on old-fashioned roads. An autoroute is being built on the peninsula, which will almost certainly dramatically change the region, so I’m glad that we got to see it pre-highway.

Most of the churches are of the fancier cathedral type, so this white country church stood out to me. Of course, I failed to write down its location and now have no idea where it was.

We saw more rainbows on this trip than I have ever seen in my life. Here’s another!

One of the surprises of Day 2 was Parc National du Bic, located on St-Lawrence, just west of Rimouski. We saw pieces of it from the car as we were driving by and quickly decided to stop. It was late in the day when we arrived, so we had a lovely magic hour at the park.

The park offers guided tours with a focus on wildlife, and I’m sure that those would have been interesting, but with limited time, we just drove in the general direction of the water until we found a place to park with a great view. I learned afterwards that Bic is home to a lot of seals, but we didn’t see any. I’m wondering now if we weren’t looking hard enough. We did enjoy the awesome light, the rocky shoreline, and the views of the swamp/marsh.

After some time in the park, we got back in the car to head to our final stop of the day, Rimouski. Rimouski is one of the largest cities east of Québec City, and we were pretty sure it would be our best bet for a St-Hubert, a chain restaurant in Québec that we all really love, especially for the cole slaw. Random, I know. Christina grew up eating at St-Hubert and Jules and I have adopted a love for it as well. The problem was that we couldn’t find Hubie. We expected it to be on the edge of town with the other restaurants and hotels, or downtown by the water, but no luck. So we finally borrowed a wifi signal from a hotel and found the St-Hubert on the outskirts of town, but heading north out of town, instead of on the approach from the south. Success!

And on our tour of Rimouski, we (of course) found (and photographed) its big church:

After dinner, we headed to our hotel, the Riotel in Matane, which is actually comprised of several buildings. The main building is very nice. We were in an auxiliary building across a gravel parking lot that was more of an afterthought motel, but it was clean and just fine for the night. We were on the second floor, and the balcony faced the water, so we were able to relax and fall asleep to the sweet sound of waves on the shore.


May 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm 3 comments


A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.


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