From the emerald rolls of mountain ridges to the citrine-brushed fields sidling up against the sapphire waters lapping Charlevoix's shores, this picturesque region is a gem. Protected in part by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, Charlevoix, a popular rural retreat, exudes a provincial charm, boasts a rich cultural heritage and dishes up fine cuisine as the rule, not the exception.
Edged in the east by the St Lawrence River, sprawling north and west of Quebec City, Charlevoix can get crowded come clear skies and warm weather, and with good reason. Whether you're an outdoors enthusiast hoping to do some trekking around the lakes of Parc de Grands Jardins or attempt the 60-mile long route, La Traversee, there are plenty of ways to keep your pulse pounding. Bikers and kayakers needn't feel out of place in Charlevoix either, whether you want to peddle your way around pretty Ile Aux Coudres or paddle. Get a glimpse of some serious gorges in Parc des Hautes Gorgesde la Riviere Malbaie, and enjoy catching your breath with a view.
Artists drawn to Charlevoix's oh-so-paintable landscapes and by-gone era streets have shored up the area with studios and European ambiance. Imagine yourself in some French village on a stop in Gaie St Paul, or La Malbaie, topping off a day of exploring with fine dining.
Come winter and snow, skiers take to the slopes of Le Massif, and take in views of the St Lawrence River on the run down.
Baie St Paul and La Malbaie are an easy 50 miles or so north of Quebec along the river. Ferries link St Simeon, above La Mabaie, to Riviere due Loup on the opposite side of the St Lawrence.