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The Fjord Route
Distance: 300 km (187 mi.)
Regions: Charlevoix and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
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Fjords in North America? Why of course – we have them right here in Québec! And you can explore the breathtaking beauty of their landscapes, seascapes and mountains along the Fjord Route, beginning at Baie-Sainte-Catherine. As you meander along their majestic way, you’ll see wide-open spaces, picturesque villages and local artisans.
1. Sainte-Catherine - whale-watching cruises - Whale watchers have been flocking for over 20 years to Baie-Sainte-Catherine to board the boats for a better view of the beautiful sea mammals that inhabit the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Saguenay Fjord. Oriented toward the ocean, the quaint village has a population of only 260!
2. Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park - The 1,245 km2 park was created to protect the St. Lawrence Estuary and Saguenay Fjord marine environments. It has several interpretive centres plus observation cruises, hiking, discovering the underwater world and sea-kayaking, not to mention the amazing Marine Environment Discovery Centre. Guided tours (bilingual). Centre d’interprétation des mammifères marins (CIMM)
3. Musée de la nature - A museum that shows its love of nature and artistic side with exquisite mushrooms, sculptures, interesting tree burrs, witches’ brooms, butterflies, minerals and seashells. You can even touch a shark that came from the nearby waters! Guided tours depending on availability (bilingual), interpretative signs (French).
4. Centre d’interprétation des battures et de la réabilitation des oiseaux - The only bird sanctuary and aquatic bird habitat in the Saguenay−Lac-Saint-Jean region, the centre’s mission is to protect the environment and nurse injured birds of prey back to health. They also educate the public about these birds – crested owls, eagles, snowy owls, falcons, hawks and Northern goshawks – and explain how they care for them. Guided tours depending on availability, and interpretative signs (bilingual).
5. La Baie district - The city of Saguenay is the seventh largest city in Québec with a population of 145,089 an area of 1,165 km2 – twice as large as Montréal Island. Located in the heart of Québec at the head of the majestic Saguenay fjord and by the Massif des Monts Valin, the La Baie District serves as the region’s maritime terminal.
6. Les Aventures d’un Flo - Go with the Flo in Saguenay−Lac-Saint-Jean. And why not? It’s funny, moving and spell-binding theatre. Over 200 actors put on sublime costumes to depict the main events that marked the last four centuries. A show for the whole family.
7. Musée du Fjord - Find out about science in an easy, amusing and interactive way. The winner of eight excellence awards, the Musée du Fjord reveals the fantastic universe of the Saguenay Fjord and the Baie des Ha! Ha! and their fabulous ecosystems through projections, guided tours and captivating exhibits. Seek adventure at l’îlet mystérieux, play scientist or look for treasures on the banks of the bay. Guided tours depending on availability, and interpretative signs (bilingual). (Cruise)
8. Site de la Nouvelle-France - Go back in time to New France with colonists as your guides! A special presentation of this recreation of 17th-century Québec City is Terra, les chevaux du nouveau monde (“Land: The Horses of the New World), which explores the relationship between man and horse in New France. Food and beer from the 1600s, too! Guided tours.
9. Parc National du Saguenay – Rivière Éternité - The park, whose mission is to preserve the Saguenay Fjord, has 100 km of short- and long-range hiking trails affording out-of-this-world views of glacier-sculpted rock cliffs 350 metres high, fascinating marine terraces (called Les Dunes), a major crossroad of birdof-prey migration, and beluga whale watching. Cruises, sea kayaking, rabaska canoeing, fishing from a row-boat or zodiac, and sailing are available, as are cottages, shelters, and campgrounds with or without amenities.
10. L’Anse-Saint-Jean - Nestled in the mountains with an outstanding window on the Saguenay Fjord, L’Anse-Saint-Jean is one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Québec.” The town has some fine specimens of ancestral homes plus a covered bridge.
11. Saint-Siméon - Saint-Siméon is a beautiful village on the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Activities include canoeing, fishing, swimming and camping. The town is also the gateway to the Bas-Saint-Laurent region via the M.V. Trans-Saint-Laurent ferry to Rivière-du-Loup, a 65-minute crossing with great views of the shores and whales.