Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just Enough Wilderness... Adventures in La Belle Province

We love to travel in Quebec. Most years we spend a week in August at our time share condo in a village on the Saguenay Fjord called L'Anse-Saint-Jean. 

The 105 km long fjord is magnificent. 


www.flickriver.com

And the tiny village of L'Anse-Saint-Jean...well, it's really the perfect place for us. 

quebecensaisons.com
 It's quiet, historic, beautiful, with a great cycling trail, a couple of good restaurants, one perfect little boutique (pour moi.) Oh...and it's French. So we can practice speaking French while we're here, albeit  with an execrable accent.

Most days we cycle. 

Sometimes we pedal up streets of tidy wooden houses... 



with well cared for gardens.



Sometimes we pedal on the dirt roads that run past farm fields...



Sometimes on the cycling trail...



that follows the river...



and then crosses the river through the old covered bridge.



I love covered bridges. I remember, when I was nine, my mother's younger brother told us kids that when you drive over a covered bridge you're supposed to yell...really loud...the whole time you are inside. I still want to do that. 

This year we saw this little guy, below, pointing to the exhibit of local painters set up inside the bridge. What a cool idea, eh? Or as we learned in grade six French..."C'est une bonne idée!" (I remember some kids in my class thought that phrase meant the weather was nice. Must have been of Scottish descent:)


L'Anse-Saint-Jean was settled in the 1830's and many of the buildings are very old. Each historic home has a little green plaque telling the story of the house.







And the village has the best barns. 





I'm fond of barns. And sheds. And this one is my favourite.




Many of the homes in L'Anse-Saint-Jean still have a traditional Quebec bread oven in their back yard. 



I'd love to taste the bread that was baked in these. 



One day each trip we set off on our bikes for Restaurant La Fringale for casse-croute. Every now and again I must feed my hot dog obsession. And these are the best hot dogs in the world. Grilled, on a toasted bun with fried onions, cabbage slaw, mayonnaise, and ketchup...and a side of some pretty terrific patate frites. 

Oh my.... so tasty. We're spoiled, now, so we only eat hot dogs when we're in L'Anse-Saint-Jean. 


Some days we hike. Or we might take a drive up the road to Chicoutimi or La Baie. They have good cycling trails there as well. 

This year we stopped in Rivière-Éternité, also called the Village de Crèches. In a wooded Parc Municipal right on the highway is a stunning display of Quebec (and international) craftsmanship. Under wooden roofs to keep out much of the weather, are numerous carved nativity scenes, most made from pine or bois de pin, some from other materials, all... well... surprising, to say the least. Not what one expects when one speeds round the turn in the highway and descends the big hill into the village. 






This one was my favourite.




I love the gentle expressions on the faces of Mary and Joseph. The way you can see the grain of the wood. And the hands. The hands are amazing. 



Most of our week is pretty quiet. We barbeque something for supper. Maybe eat dinner out once, at the most. Sip a glass of wine on the deck of our condo. Read a good book... or three. Speak bad French to each other and laugh that we're probably making up our own dialect.


And just enjoy the view. 





I've had plenty of wild wilderness this summer...what with our camping trip to Bonnechere and our canoe trip to Algonquin Park

Our sojourn here is just enough wilderness for me at the moment. 

Besides after I finish my glass of wine I may take a stroll down to the bottom of the hill. Where there IS that one perfect boutique that I mentioned earlier. They carry a line of lovely, funky jewellery crafted in Quebec.  Hmmmmm. A new bracelet might be in order.




What adventures have you been having this summer? Wilderness or otherwise.



3 comments:

  1. Sounds and looks truly memorable.

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  2. That looks like a perfect getaway, the right mixture of comfort and adventure...and so much nourishing beauty. I need a trip to Quebec soon; it's been too long.

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    1. Quebec is always an adventure. Two restaurants, one boutique...millions of tress and hills...perfect. Thanks for stopping by.

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