I had heard so much about the Gaspésie region. I live in the same province just a few hours away, which makes it even more a topic for discussion. My boyfriend had been when he was quite young and his recollections always intrigued me: this remote location where supposedly few live and where they must hire out-of-towners each summer to keep up with the tourist demand.
We set out in the van equipped with a comfortable double bed in the back, in search of campsites with free or paid showers. This depending of course on the mood of the campsite owners...
We passed through Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City and saw those cities and towns that everyone gets a chance to visit on their way Eastward.
Our trip really began the morning we woke up in Rimouski, a town which sits right on the bank of the St. Lawrence River. It is also the town for which I have a special fondness for because it is where my grandmother grew up. I imagined her, walking through the town, dressed in the fashion of her day, and how different it must have been over 90 years ago.
We set out on the road, arriving in Sainte-Flavie, a small town with a locally renowned lobster club. We then continued south, driving through forest and hills. We made our way through the Matapedia Valley stopping on the way, in the rain, to glimpse the tails of a few salmon, climbing up the Causapascal Falls.
Our last stop that day was at Mont-Saint-Joseph followed by Carleton-sur-Mer. The view from the mountain was beautiful and Carleton-sur-Mer is a welcoming little town just below. We visited an excellent microbrewery that I had read about before: Le Naufrageur. A game of baby-foot and a little warmth from their outdoor fire gave us a nice ending to our first day.
The next morning we woke refreshed and drove to Bonaventure where we stopped at the pebbled beach Le Malin, along the Bonaventure River. It's turquoise waters brought us immediate relaxation as we walked around exploring, sunbathing, and enjoying the views of our magnificent surroundings.
A few hours later, after drifting along the road, a curve, a hill, et le voilà! That famous rock, that famous hole: Le Roche Percé; that symbol of Gaspé. Even from a distance, to see it protruding from the point was an unforgettable experience.
We spent the afternoon walking around, exploring, then decided that Ms. Chauvin's crack was worth a visit. Of course Ms. Chauvin is no longer, but the crack still is. Climbing up Mont-Blanc, on a steep dirt road, we arrived at the spectacle of the great crevasse. Relaxing with a bottle of wine to enjoy the sunset and marvel at the crevasse was a fitting end to our adventurous day. A nice evening spent in awe of one of nature’s wonders ended with a fine lobster dinner at La Maison du Pêcheur.
The following morning we returned to La Maison du Pêcheur for an amazing breakfast of eggs & lobster. We then set out on to the ferry that would carry us to see the Roché from all sides and to set foot on the fascinating little round island: Île Bonaventure. The bird population on that island is remarkable: on all sides, at all angles, there are a hundreds flapping around at all times to keep your eyes entertained.
We headed towards Gaspé, spent a night, woke up and found our way to the beach Boom Reserve. This huge sandy peninsula overlooks the river and Forillon Park. Scattered along the beach we found pieces of wood sanded and stranded by the water, jellyfish who were unwittingly sunbathing, accompanied by huge flies in obvious lack of affection. We spent the morning walking along that seemingly endless shore.
The last stretch was our road homeward. Small villages followed each other in succession: Cloridome, Grande-Vallée, the stunning Mont-Saint-Pierre and finally, the sunset on the edge of the road at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. I bet you can guess the menu for our last dinner in Gaspésie ...
It was the perfect nature road trip. I must say that Gaspésie is one of the most beautiful parts of the province that I have yet seen. If you love nature, long stretches of little-used, pristine road, beautiful sunsets and space to breath, this is a trip for you.