Epic train journey carves path through scenic and historic Quebec region
Onboard the train, the sights, sounds and sea breeze are marked by the local offerings and gourmet samplings from the region. (Caroline Perron)
With Canada marking its sesquicentennial year, a visit to explore the centuries-old wonder of Québec City and a ride on the Charlevoix Train are ideal ways to celebrate.
Beginning just outside Québec City at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, the Charlevoix Train is a magnificent way to experience a unique side of Québec that’s off the beaten path.
The tourist train, carving a 125-kilometre path through the scenic, seaside Charlevoix Region, provides views of sea, cliffsides and parts of the landscape that aren’t otherwise accessible by road. It’s also a great way for tourists to Québec to visit other areas without having to rent a car.
Train journey carves path
The train winds from Parc de la Chute-Montmorency to La Malbaie, passing through quaint towns like Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré and Baie-Saint-Paul, giving the chance to stop off and explore a bit if the mood strikes. In fact, the train stops in two of the most beautiful villages in Quebec: Les Éboulements and Saint-Irénée. An added bonus is that many of the towns have bicycle rentals, allowing for more exploration!
Aside from the changing tides, mountainous and seaside landscapes, sightseeing highlights on stops during the train ride include the beach of Saint-Irénée, the gaming fun of Casino de Charlevoix in La Malbaie, the Musée de Charlevoix in Pointe-au-Pic, and many shops, galleries and beautiful churches.
Sights, sounds and samplings
Onboard the train, the sights, sounds and sea breeze are marked by the local offerings and gourmet samplings from the region: On this year’s menu, visitors can enjoy beers from MicroBrasserie Charlevoix, cider from Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault, quail eggs, guinea fowl rillette and sweet pepper jelly from Volières Baie-Saint-Paul, paté from Les Viandes Biologiques de Charlevoix, and more.
The Charlevoix Region has had a railway for more than 100 years, allowing for residents and visitors to get from town to town, but also to take in the rugged beauty of the area. This two-car train allows that same sense of exploration and wonder, and isn’t to be missed!
As the train disembarks just outside Québec City, let’s not forget the opportunity to experience one of Canada’s provincial capitals and a renowned tourism hotspot.
When you disembark
The only fortified city north of Mexico, Old Québec is known across the globe as a place of history, art, architecture, food and more. In fact, the United Nations designated it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. In 2017, Expedia users gave their vote of confidence, naming Québec City the number one destination in Canada and the number two destination in North America.
Visitors to Quebec City, the site of countless events that have shaped not only Canada, but the continent of North America, will find countless ways to discover its past alive in the present, be it through guided tours on foot, bus tours, or river cruises.
Within Old Québec, visitors can explore the cobblestoned streets and internationally famous sights such as Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the Plains of Abraham, Petit-Champlain District and Place Royale.
Where the past comes alive
Called the most photographed hotel in the world, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has hosted royalty, heads of state and entertainment luminaries for decades, first being erected more than 100 years ago. It’s outlasted fire and age, and remains a beautiful and majestic presence looming over Québec City.
Of course, a trip to Québec City is not complete without a visit to the Plains of Abraham. Famous for the decisive battles that once took place there, it is now home to gatherings, concerts and green space akin to Central Park in Manhattan. The Battlefields Park, which combines the Plains of Abraham and Des Braves Park, was the site of historical clashes that shaped the future of Canada so many centuries ago.
Moving further afoot, the past comes alive on Rue Saint-Jean. It is here visitors will discover the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, the only church with a Holy Door outside of Europe, a national historical monument, and a church that has stood in the same place since 1647. Strolling a little further afoot outside the walls, Rue Saint-Jean is the site of another interesting slice of heritage, as it is home to the oldest grocery store in North America, J.A. Moisan.
In another part of Old Québec, and keeping with the living days of yesteryear theme, visitors to Place Royale can step back in time and visit the area where Samuel de Champlain founded his settlement in 1608. Or they can visit the oldest stone church in the province dating back to 1688, with a trip to Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church. Also to be seen is the Fresque des Québecois mural, which traces over 400 years of heritage in Québec City.
Whether an explorer of the past, or a visitor wanting to experience a wonderful culture and unique landscapes within Canada, a trip to Québec City and the surrounding area this summer is the perfect travel plan.