Gaspe Peninsula

Overview

Introduction

The Gaspe (pronounced Gah-SPAY) Peninsula is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Quebec. This is an area where you should just drive, shop for antiques, eat great food, see the countryside, explore the tiny fishing villages, lie on the beaches and visit with the people. Ideally, this trip should take about a week—even three nights will seem rushed.

Start driving east on Highway 138 out of Quebec City along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Take the ferry across at St. Simeon to Riviere du Loup.

Before reaching St. Simon de Rimouski, stop along Highway 132 at Aux Petits Caprices to view local crafts and to pick up delicious handmade chocolates.

As you pass through Ste. Flavie, take time to watch the fish run at the salmon-counting gate (you'll want binoculars). Also take a look at Le Grand Rassemblement (The Great Gathering), a collection of more than 80 life-size stone statues in the Centre d'Art Marcel Gagnon.

At Matane, salmon fishing goes on downtown, and there's a salmon ladder where you can watch the indomitable fish head upstream.

Ste. Anne des Monts is the gateway to the spectacular Parc National de la Gaspesie, where the Chic-Choc Mountains rise dramatically from the valley floor. The climate in the area is much like that of subarctic Quebec, and it's one of the only places in the province where you'll see moose, wood caribou and deer all in the same territory. The park has a nature-appreciation center and offers canoeing, camping, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.

In Paspebiac, where the residents are descended from Basque and Jersey Island settlers, you can take tours of the old fishing posts. Bonaventure is a center of Acadian culture, and its Musee Acadien du Quebec traces Acadian history. At Parc National de Miguasha, you can see fish and plant fossils that are millions of years old.

The Gaspe Peninsula begins 185 mi/300 km northeast of Quebec City.

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