Seven must-see sites for cyclists on Quebec’s Véloroute Marie-Hélène Prémont
Explore the interesting — and tasty — cultural heritage of New France along the Véloroute Marie-Hélène Prémont, a nearly 50-kilometre-long, bike-friendly portion of The Great Trail that runs west from the Montmorency Falls outside Quebec City along Highway 360 on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River to Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area. The trail, lined with centuries-old homes and businesses, is one of the oldest transportation routes in Canada and has plenty to offer cyclists, from wineries and farms to restaurants serving up traditional dishes to stunning river views. Here are a few can’t-miss spots along the route.
Kick off your véloroute adventure at the base of the Montmorency Falls in Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, located just 12 kilometres from old Quebec City. Save your legs and opt for the cable car that takes you to great views of the 83-metre-high falls (30 metres higher than Niagara Falls), and enjoy a hearty meal on the terrace of Manoir Montmorency. The bravest in the bunch can hook up to a 300-metre zipline and fling themselves over the falls. Open year round.
Ferme Le Comte de Roussy
Make a quick pit stop at this family farm in L’Ange Gardien, in operation since 1658, and pick up whatever’s in season or savor a slice of one of their delicious homemade pies (you’ve earned it!). Grab a cup of coffee too and relax on the terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence River and Île D’Orleans. Open from June 16 to November 10.
Domaine de l’Ange Gardien
For cyclists looking for refreshment of another kind, look no further than this local vineyard offering a taste of the local terroir since 2007. Visit their tasting room to sip fruity and floral white varietals, a vibrant rosé, a dry red or a smattering of sweet dessert wines. Open year round.
Aux Trois Couvents
Time for a history lesson. Explore the exhibitions at Aux Trois Couvents, an interpretive centre in the small town of Château-Richer, to learn about the region’s origins as the centre of New France (Samuel de Champlain built a farm here in 1626). The centre is located in a circa 1907 convent, though the first convent was built on this location in 1694, and features a recreated classroom from 1912, excavated artifacts and exhibitions on the region’s cultural identity. Open year round.
For a place to rest your tired legs, look no further than this charming five-room auberge set in a 150-year-old historic stone home just ten minutes from Mont-Sainte-Anne. Before hitting the road again, be sure to pop into the acclaimed Baker’s Restaurant onsite to sample upscale Quebecois dishes, such as goose leg confit with cranberries and sesame-crusted Arctic char caught in the nearby Charlevoix region. Open year round.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Each year, nearly one million visitors from around the globe make the pilgrimage to this awe-inspiring, three-centuries-old shrine dedicated to Saint Anne (believed to be the grandmother of Jesus). Learn about the history of Saint Anne through paintings, mosaics, sculptures, stained glass windows and relics. Open year round.
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area
End your véloroute tour at Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, which offers spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River and the landscape you just traversed. At this precipice of Canadian Shield, St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Appalachian region, watch for flocks of migrating snow geese (spring and fall) and more than 180 other bird species as well as 30 mammal species, such as white-tailed deer and, on occasion, American porcupine. Open from January 6 to December 22.