It took a while to get here, but spring finally arrived in Québec, only to soon be replaced by summer. There’s no better way to kick off summer anywhere, either in the States, France, or Canada, than a road trip. In Québec, the trees have begun to bloom, the tourists haven’t yet arrived, and the temperature is lovely. Start your trip in Montréal and head out on a week-long road trip, created and tested by the editors of Maudits Français, a sibling of Frenchly.
Begin your journey in Montréal by taking the famous Highway 40, heading toward Québec. Take advantage of your route by stopping in Louiseville, Trois-Rivières, or Donnacona as Charles de Gaulle did during his famous visit to Québec aboard his Lincoln Continentale.
Once in the capital, many activities await you besides visiting the old city (Vieux Québec) and the Plains of Abraham Park: stop by the National Assembly, taste the famous poutine at Ashton’s, take a ferry on the St. Lawrence river… For lodging, many Airbnb are available, including some in the heart of Vieux-Québec.
Montréal / Québec City trip: 3hrs
For your second day, leave Québec City and head for the Montmorency Falls. Though less famous than Niagara Falls, they are much higher: 276 ft. for Montmorency and 174 ft. for Niagara. Continue your journey on Route 138 along the St. Lawrence River towards the Charlevoix region.
You can then take Route 362 which will give you the opportunity to stop in many classic Québec places like Baie-Saint-Paul (try the restaurant Les Faux Bergers), the village of Les Eboulements, or the town of La Malbaie. It’s worth noting that Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park has been open for the season since May 18, so take the opportunity to visit while you can. For accommodations you can stay at one of the many hostels in the area.
Québec City / Baie-Saint-Paul trip: 1hr
The rest of your journey continues on Route 138, which will take you to the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park where you can see whales and belugas. The whale watching season has begun and you very well could have your lucky day spotting one. However, patience may be required as it is not yet the high season for whale watching.
If you don’t have any luck whale watching, you can still go kayaking in the black waters of the fjord. Take advantage of being there to take the ferry that crosses the Saguenay River and visit the village of Tadoussac before taking the road to the city of Saguenay. There you can spend pass the evening in a good restaurant and sleep in an affordable Airbnb.
La Malbaie / Tadoussac trip: 1r
Tadoussac / Saguenay trip: 1h30
After a well-deserved night’s sleep, the journey continues with an excursion to Lac Saint-Jean. The perfect moment to admire magnificent landscapes and stop in one of the many typical towns, like Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, where you can practice the region’s flagship activity: fishing. Then take Route 175 to La Mauricie National Park where you can spend the night in a campground and enjoy Québec’s nature.
Saguenay / Lac Saint-Jean trip: 1hr
Lac Saint-Jean / Mauricie trip : 4hrs
In the early morning, quietly head back to Mont-Tremblant, carefully avoiding Montréal traffic jams. Once you arrive, play tourist and enjoy a day and an evening of relaxation in the village. Activities are not lacking: panoramic cable car rides, biking, golf, restaurants, spa treatments… Accommodation opportunities are numerous and available right on site.
Mauricie / Mont-Tremblant trip: 3hrs
For the 6th day, take advantage of your morning to finish visiting Mont-Tremblant, then take the road to Ottawa (Ontario) midday. Once there, you can do yoga on Parliament Hill, stroll along the Rideau Canal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and walk to Québec via one of the bridges crossing the Ottawa River, like the Alexandra Bridge. Many events take place there during the summer season: the International Jazz Festival, the Aboriginal Arts Festival, and (of course) Canada Day. For accommodations, Airbnb is the place to look.
Mont-Tremblant / Ottawa trip: 2hrs
Finish your road trip with a visit to Parliament in Ottawa. Tickets are free and must be reserved in the tourist shop across the hill. Opt for the first visit of the day to make sure you don’t lose your day, and definitely make the most of your visit by climbing to the top of the Peace Tower.
After having been at the heart of Canadian parliamentary life, visit Omega Park for one of the best activities of this trip: driving around the park and feeding the wildlife with carrots. At last, your road trip is done… and honestly you might need another vacation to recuperate.
Ottawa / Omega Park trip: 1hr
Omega Park / Montréal trip: 1h40