A road trip to Tadoussac, this was our plan to celebrate my first week-end in the New World. We were so anxious to leave that we didn’t even waste time creating a detailed itinerary. We had heard about the famous scenic route 138, also known as the King’s Way, that starts in Montreal and runs up to Sept-Iles, the northernmost town in Quebec and the last stop before the real Canadian wilderness. The King’s Way passes through Tadoussac, a small town halfway between Quebec City and Sept-Iles, perfectly located for a 2 day escape from Montreal.We left Montreal on a Saturday morning. The weather was perfect. We followed a country road along the Saint-Laurent, reaching Trois-Rivières and then Quebec City. I was impressed and excited about everything. The houses, the farms, the trucks, the cars, the trees, advertising, the roads… everything’s different from what you see in Europe, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. Besides, everyone seemed to enjoy life. People were either taking care of their gardens, washing their cars, or relaxing in comfortable rocking chairs. There were a lot of bikers and travelers on the road. I felt really far from the seriousness and gravity of France.
Once in the suburbs of Quebec, I understood that architectural beauty is definitely not a North American thing. The road was surrounded by the ugliest motels, fast food restaurants, local Wallmarts and insanely huge Canadian Tires. “These are the suburbs”, I thought, “nothing to be surprised of”. And to be honest, I liked that. But when we passed the waterfalls of Montmorency, I was now like, “what the heck!?” Let me describe it: these are huge falls, probably more than 80 meters high, really impressive and beautiful. But why the damn did they have to build such an ugly bridge above them? Why did they surround the place with a concrete fence to hide the falls from the highway, and yet build this insane concrete path just at the bottom? That, I can’t explain. I can just say it’s an environmental disaster.
The route between Quebec and La Malbaie was lovely. The landscape had changed from plains to woody hills. At some point, we had a break around Port-au-Saumon. We explored the area and discovered two small beautiful islets. My brother and my friend thought it’d be fun to swim to the closest one. I didn’t dare do it, and I don’t regret that. The water was so cold! I thought one of them would die of hypothermia on the way back.
We eventually reached Baie-Sainte-Catherine, on the South side of the Savenay Fjord. We had to take a ferry to cross the river. Fortunately, it was a free service. Once on the other side, we visited Tadoussac for a little bit. It’s a very small town that probably survives thanks to whale watching. There’s a small and lovely harbor, one weird-looking church, some hotels, restaurants, and one local store. We went to the hostel to see if we could sleep there. The place was a typical Canadian house, and I was looking forward to relaxing in one of the many armchairs of the living room. But when we saw the dorms, we thought we’d better save our money and changed our plan last minute. We decided we’d go camping somewhere outside of the town.
So, we left Tadoussac, following a small road that led us to a giant sand dune near the Moulin-à-Baude Bay. Even though it isn’t far from the town, it was already wild. We parked the car and explored the area. A small path going through a firtree forest took us to the top of a big rock, from which we had a wonderful view of the dune. At that point, I realized how big Canada was: we were obviously in a touristy place, but we were strangely alone. That would hardly happen in Europe.
Around 8, the mosquitoes became seriously aggressive, and we had to find shelter in my tent. I didn’t have a good night, but I succeeded in getting some rest. In the morning, I had dozens of mosquito bites everywhere.
We left Tadoussac around 11am. So far, we’d been lucky with the weather. But it was changing and around 2pm, we had scary, dark clouds just above us. I got the opportunity to drive all the way from La Malbaie to Quebec, and I really liked it. Driving in North America was a fun experience. When we arrived in Quebec, I thought I’d rather stay there for 1 or 2 days instead of going back to Montreal straight away. I visited some of Quebec with my brother and our friend, and then they left me to go back to Montreal.
This trip was really fun. I was able to see a bit of the Canadian countryside. I tasted some local food, saw unique places, discovered more about the history of the country and learned how to drive an automatic car… but the awesome memories I made on this two days trip are just a taste of the wonderful experiences I’ve had in North America.
Some of the photos have been taken by my bro and Loïc. Hope you like them :)