Backed by the Laurentian Mountains, Charlevoix is a spectacular natural and cultural region north-east of Quebec City. It is named after the French Jesuit explorer Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, who is considered the first historian of New France.
Things to do in Charlevoix
With its rolling hills, enchanting island and wildlife-filled forests, Charlevoix is well worth the detour from Quebec City.
Visit the Baie-Saint-Paul Museum of Contemporary Art. Located in the heart of Baie-Saint-Paul’s cultural district, this contemporary art museum occupies a former cinema known as Le Laurentien. It represents more than 500 artists from all corners of the globe and includes a large collection of paintings by the Canadian Kathleen Daly. The Baie-Saint-Paul Museum of Contemporary Art also hosts an international symposium highlighting the work of 12 artists.
Explore Grands-Jardins National Park. Forming part of the UNESCO-listed Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve, Grands-Jardins National Park encompasses more than 300 square kilometres of dense forests and rocky mountains. You can explore the hiking and cross-country skiing trails that traverse the park or join a discovery workshop to learn about the native flora and fauna. In addition to moose, reindeer and black bear, the park also provides habitat for porcupines and lynx.
Visit Isle-aux-Coudres. A short ferry ride from Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive is the Isle-aux-Coudres, which lies in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and is named after the hazel trees that were once abundant on the island. It’s a popular destination to explore by bike, with historic buildings and traditional crafts to discover. Admire the elegant Church of l’Isle-aux-Coudres and watch as grain is ground at the Moulins de l’Isle-Aux-Coudres before sampling cider at the Cidrerie Vergers Pedneault.
Getting around Charlevoix
Charlevoix is just over an hour’s drive from Quebec City and 1.5 hours from Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, which has flights to destinations across North America and Europe. Regular buses connect to Baie-Saint-Paul while renting a car is the most convenient way of exploring Charlevoix.