Posts filed under ‘Percé’

perfect morning in percé

One of the advantages of staying in the town of Percé was the opportunity to set an alarm for a few minutes before sunrise, roll out of bed when it went off, throw on a sweatshirt, and wander a few steps to the beach for photos of the rock.

Except it was foggy. Really foggy. This way, I got a sliver of sunrise colours, but the view down the beach the other way (in the direction of the rock) was basically just grey fog. I had dreams of finding the right angle to catch the sun coming up through the hole in the rock. I even had an idea of where to go, but it was so foggy, that the only place I went was straight back to bed for a few hours. Props to Christina and Jules for getting up and trotting down to the beach with me, though!

The girls had an early morning boat ride for whale viewing and close-ups of the rock, so we didn’t stay asleep too long. Finances prevented me from joining them, but I had a great morning on my own in Percé. Most of the fog had cleared by the time we ventured out, so I walked down towards the edge of town and crouched on rocks with a tripod for a while, working on different angles of the rock.


I also had a delightful French breakfast (croissant and café au lait) at a cheery café along the main road through town.


I still had a ton of time after that, so I decided to talk a walk a few blocks inland to scope out the church and the road up the mountain.

St-Michel was stunning, especially on a morning with such a great sky. The church was slightly uphill from the shore, and behind the church is a road that goes up, up, up! I was on foot at the point, so I didn’t venture any further. Plus, I knew the girls would be up for an aerial view once they got off the boat.

I walked back to the main part of town and poked in some of the shops. The night before, I’d really loved the Wazo boutique, so I went back to that shop, and then wandered in some of the more traditional souvenir shops. Before too long, I was welcoming the girls ashore.

Our next task was a bite, and somehow, we ended up going to a bakery in someone’s basement. It was a legit house on a legit neighbourhood street, and I guess we found the address online or something, but the bakery was in the basement. Great baguette, and yummy treats! We went back to our little beach at the hotel for a picnic and planned the rest of the day.

The rest of the day began with a drive up the mountain to take in Percé from above. We didn’t even go as high as we could have, because the dirt road that went straight up and the sign recommending that only 4-wheel-drive vehicles continue deterred us, but we were high enough! What a gorgeous day for a stunning view!

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Percé after that, since we still had a long drive planned for the day. Thanks for a wonderful time, Percé!

The southern part of the Gaspé peninsula is not as picturesque as the northern part, and the weather turned sour fairly quickly into the drive. I think this was the day that we had a hard time locating an ATM and, later, a washroom of any sort. We ended up being the least picky we have ever been and pulling into a very rustic, mosquito-riddled rest area late in the evening. Note to self: don’t drink a large iced coffee from T. Ho’s on a route that lacks modern facilities at regular intervals.

In the afternoon, we stopped at an Acadian Museum in Bonaventure, where I bought an Acadia coffee mug and fulfilled one of my souvenir goals for the trip. We also stopped at a farm where they advertised strawberry wine. It was sweet, but in a good way for summer.

Mount St-Joseph looms over Carleton-sur-Mer, and it is home to the Oratoire Notre Dame du Mont St-Joseph. Its breathtaking view was lauded in the guidebook, so we drove up the mountain. It was already getting late, and after a grueling uphill drive, we were shocked by the “tollbooth” style admission. Since we weren’t there in time to see the church anyway, instead of paying for the view, we turned around, found a scenic view from the road, and pulled over for some photos.

Not bad, but I don’t think that being a few feet higher would be worth $18 either, so I think we made the right choice.

Our final destination that evening was Campbellton, just over the border in New Brunswick. In searching for reasonable accommodations for that leg of the trip, we’d settled on a B&B in Campbellton. The purple house was huge and the hosts were friendly, but when we pulled up and went inside to check in, two older couples sat on the porch and stared at us. It was all very judgey, without anyone saying a word. Instead of lugging our suitcases upstairs, we unpacked what we needed in the driveway and transferred things to our room in handfuls and purses. And instead of hanging around and socializing on the porch, our host directed us to a pub a few blocks away. We ate, we drank, we listened to a band, and I’m sure the older foursome was relieved that we weren’t around the rest of the evening!


May 26, 2014 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

percé: finally!

Well, it has been almost a year since I last posted on this blog. I guess I’ve been busy. I’ve had a lot of adventures since Gaspé 2012, so in the interest of getting to those adventures eventually, I’ll pick up where I left off. To recap, in July 2012, I took a week-long road trip with the usual suspects, Jules and Christina. We explored a good chunk of Québec, including the Gaspé Peninsula. In my last entry, we were just beginning our circle tour of the peninsula and were bowled over by the beautiful landscapes, and we still had half the day to go.

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Our next stop was the classic lighthouse at Cap des Rosiers. Unfortunately, this lighthouse was surrounded by a fence and required admission to get into the little park. Since we were only making a quick stop, and since none of the other lighthouses on the peninsula appeared to require an admission fee just to view them, we decided not to go in. This was taken from a few steps outside the fence.

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No admission was required at the little beach near the lighthouse, though, and we took a few minutes to enjoy the view and the sea.

After Cap-des-Rosiers, Highway 132 curves into Forillon National Park. We kind of wanted to stop in the park and take in the view from the end of the big peninsula, but we had trouble finding the right road, so we decided to keep going in the interest of making it to Percé in time to check in to our hotel. After a stunning drive around the bay, we were in Gaspé, the capital of the region.

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And we needed coffee! Christina had a recommendation for Café des Artistes, and it was just perfect. Great coffeehouse atmosphere and great coffee.

Here’s a true story: I like drinking coffee out of bowls.

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After coffee, we walked a little bit and poked into a couple of shops in the area, but they were just about to close for the evening. Despite it being a holiday week, downtown Gaspé felt fairly quiet and peaceful. Soon, we were back on the road for the short drive to Percé, where we were stopping for the night.

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Along the way, we stopped for photos when we crossed a charming little brook, and Jules schooled us in skipping rocks, as usual.

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We made a quick stop to photograph St. Luke’s Anglican Church, a picturesque country church along Highway 132.

And before long, we were driving down a mountain into Percé! The view was fantastic, but I took better “above” shots of the town the next day, so I’m saving those for the next post. We checked in at Auberge Les Trois Soeurs, just west of the main stretch of town. It was far enough from town that it was quiet and we had our own beach, but close enough to leave the car and walk into town.

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We snapped a few photos of the view, which included the famous Rocher Percé (Pierced Rock). The western view doesn’t show the hole in the rock, but it’s still quite impressive!

I had first read about the Rocher Percé in a French textbook in high school, and visiting Percé had been on my travel list for over a decade. This trip was Jules’ pick, but I was just excited as she was to finally make it to Percé.

We ventured into town and walked around a bit, checking out the shops and comparing prices for boat tours that offered a close-up view of the rock and possible whale sightings. I had done the whale thing a couple of years earlier in Newfoundland with my mom, but Jules and Christina hadn’t. They decided to book a tour for the following morning, but I was already veering over budget, so I decided to sit this one out.

Before long, it was “blue hour,” the perfect time for a walk down the main pier for views of the town, the rock, and a children’s group singing “Achy Breaky Heart” in French.

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We finally saw the legendary “percé” part of the rock!

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And a dreamy view of the town of Percé!

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And the moon over Bonaventure Island!

After a bit of photo time, we had dinner in a big touristy barn-type place, because we figured that the seafood would be great, no matter where we went. We were right!

Perhaps one of my favourite non-photographed memories of the trip was sitting out on the beach by our hotel that evening, sharing a bottle of wine and talking for hours with two of the best friends a girl could ask for. We finally went to bed, later than planned, and set the alarm for just a few hours later. I had big dreams of getting up to photograph the sunrise, preferably as seen right through the hole in the rock. Fortunately, my friends will usually allow me one day of crazy early alarm clock per road trip, in the interest of travel photography.

March 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm 2 comments


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