"Québec", which comes from the
Algonquin word kébec
meaning "where the river narrows", originally referred to the
area around Quebec City where the Saint Lawrence River narrows
to a cliff-lined gap.
Canada comes from the
St. Lawrence Iroquoian word
kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement." In 1535,
indigenous inhabitants of the present-day
Quebec City region used the
word to direct French explorer
Jacques Cartier to the village
Stadacona. Cartier later used
the word Canada to refer not only to that particular
village, but the entire area subject to
Donnacona (the chief at
Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring
to this region as Canada
Be sure to click on the many
in the descriptions for more information.
Charlevoix region, located in
Quebec, includes parts of the
north shore of the
Saint Lawrence River and the
Laurentian Mountains region of
Canadian Shield. This dramatic
landscape includes rolling terrain, fjords, headlands and bays;
the region was designated a World
Biosphere Reserve by
UNESCO in 1989.
of this region was dramatically altered by a
meteorite impact that occurred
350 million years ago creating the
Charlevoix crater (photo):
The impact created the forty-mile-wide
crater that is the heart of Quebec's Charlevoix region, ranging
from just west of Baie-Saint-Paul to just east of La Malbaie.
Today, the area inside the crater is home to 90 percent of
The 229 mile ride is broken up into 2 parts
to make the route easier to follow:
1) Part 1 - Quebec City to La
Ride - Part 1 (outbound)
- This 108 mile ride follows the St Lawrence and soon stops at
(map). Walk over the spectacular suspension bridge above the falls or
take the cable car for great views. The ride continues past Mont Ste-Anne
(a famous ski area with great views of the Saint Lawrence.) Take
the small diversion to pretty
Petite-Rivière-Saint-François and enjoy the view at the quai
Next pass through beautiful Baie Saint-Paul, home to many artists and performers.
Continue east and stop at the scenic view just
outside of town on the right (photo1)
Continue riding on Route 362 with great views of the river. Take
a quick detour to the Coudres Ferry view (photo)
and then continue past the pretty towns of Les Eboulements and Saint-Irénée.
Finally, make sure to take the small detour to the white bridge
just before La Malbaie. Be sure to look for street performers in
the park across the street (video). This outbound ride ends at the resort town of La Malbaie.
Lunch is at
Joe's Smoked Meat in La Malbaie (review)
L'Orange Bistro (review)
in Baie Saint-Paul.
2) Part 2 - La Malbaie to Quebec
Ride - Part 2
(return to Quebec City)
- This 121 explores the gigantic crater that is a remnant of a
cataclysmic meteor strike eons ago (photo).
The ride follows the rim of the canyon from La Malbaie to
Clermont. The route then turns north and heads straight toward
the rim of the crater. The road climbs the crater wall and
continues to the visitor center at
Parc National Des Hautes-Gorges. Return the way you
came and then turn west on the
Route des Montagnes (mountain route) to
for some great crater rim views on the way to
Baie Saint-Paul. The ride
then travels west on Route 138 to the town of
This town features the famous
Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Cyclorama of Jerusalem, and the
Edison Museum. The route finishes by following Royal
Avenue back to Quebec City. Be sure to sneak a peek at the nice
Montmorency Falls as you ride by.
Saguenay Fjord Ride
Saguenay Fjord is the southern most fjord in North
America. Tadoussac is a major whale watching location as whales
congregate near the mouth of the Saguenay River.
Ride - This
361 mile ride follows the St' Lawrence northeast through
Charlevoix. Arrive in Baie-Ste-Catherine and take the free
Tadoussac Ferry to the north shore of the Saguenay
River. Ride route 172 deep into the heart of Quebec along the
north shore of the Saguenay Fjord. Stop in the pretty town of
Sainte-Rose-du-Nord on the fjord. Cross the river in
Chicoutimi and see the white house. Take route 175 across the
Canadian Shield back to Quebec City.
L'Anse-Saint-Jean Fjord Ride
a pretty town on the south shore of the Saguenay Fjord. Route
381, Route 170, and Route 362 along the Charlevoix Coast makes
for an awesome riding triangle.
Ride - This
343 mile ride is one of the most popular in Quebec. Route 381 is
a pretty twisty ride across the Canadian Shield. The road has
nice curves and mountain views. Stop in La Baie on Ha! Ha! Bay.
It is hard to beleive that ocean liners stop here. Next follow
Route 170 east along the southern shore of the Saguenay Fjord.
Stop in pretty L'Anse-Saint-Jean for some pretty fjord views.
Follow the pretty river route along the Charlevoix coast and
continue on to Quebec City.
Chicoutimi is at the
head of the Saguenay River and is affected by its tides. It
experienced severe flooding in 1996 and the white house is a
symbol of its resilience. Both Routes 175 and 381 cross the
Canadian Shield which are the oldest mountains on Earth.
Ride - This
285 mile ride crosses the Canadian Shield in both directions.
Travel north on Route 175 to Chicoutimi. Travel along the
Saguenay to La Baie which is a port for ocean liners on Ha! Ha!
Bay. Take rugged Route 381 south across the mountains to Baie-Saint-Paul.
Turn south and follow Route 138 back to Quebec City.