Day 1: Arrival in Montreal, QC
A stylish and elegant city with a distinctly European flair offering a vibrant mix of the old and new. Here you can immerse yourself in the French
heritage of North America. Stroll through narrow cobbled lanes with 17th century buildings, quaint shops, galleries and sidewalk cafés. Montreal
is a city with a thousand different flavours, from award-winning restaurants to ethnic food stalls and locally grown products. You will enjoy the
cuisine this city has to offer.
Day 2: Montreal, QC
Today you will enjoy a classic city tour with an expert local guide. Experience an overview of Montreal and its historical sites, where you will discover
all of the characteristics this city has to offer. See the highlights of one of the world's largest French-speaking cities in the world with stops
at the city's best attractions, where you can explore and have time to take pictures. You will visit the Notre-Dame Basilica, St. Joseph's Oratory,
residential and financial districts, Old Montreal, French Quarter, McGill University and take in some panoramic views from an observation point
on top of Mount Royal, from which Montreal gets its name.
Day 3: Montreal – Québec City, QC
Today board VIA Rail from Montreal, following the St. Lawrence River, you will pass from city suburbs to the rural landscapes of forests and rich pastures,
dotted with tiny villages that extend to Québec City, the oldest walled city in North America and the heart of the French Canadian culture in Canada.
Old Québec is a UNESCO designated World Heritage City. Many Québec historic sites such as the Québec fortifications, Chateau Frontenac, Québec
Citadel, Plains of Abraham and Québec Île d'Orléans make up important landmarks of Old Québec City and the nearby region. Many different influences
have shaped Québec’s history over the past 400 years – the First Nations, the French, the Acadians, the British, the Americans, the Germans and
the Irish, to name a few. There is a lot to discover here by foot.
Day 4: Québec City, QC
Today you discover Québec City (the Upper and Lower Towns) through its history, architecture and culture. Visit the must-see walled city and the historic
Lower Town, but also travel outside the city walls to see Parliament Hill and the famous Plains of Abraham. You will walk through some pedestrian
areas like the Dufferin Terrasse, around Chateau Frontenac, Place-Royale (birthplace of the city), and the Petit-Champlain borough.
Day 5: Québec City – La Malbaie, QC
Rolling eastward across landscapes both wild and grandiose, you realize just how isolated Charlevoix was in the late 19th century. With no efficient
road system, the region was cut off from the world. The idea of creating a rail line connecting Québec City to Charlevoix is owed to Sir Rodolphe
Forget. Efforts were colossal because of the countless tunnels chiselled through peaks that plunge straight down to the sea. In 1889, a first rail
segment was inaugurated linking Québec City to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. A steam train – fondly called the Good St. Anne – conveyed throngs of pilgrims
to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica. In 1904, the train was powered by electricity. A second leg linking Beaupré to La Malbaie (Pointe-au-Pic) was
built between 1909 and 1918. The train’s maiden rail cruise to Baie-Saint-Paul was celebrated in 1918, whereas another full year was required before
the first train pulled into La Malbaie Station. Meandering along the St. Lawrence River across 125 kilometres, this singular four-hour long rail
cruise between Québec City and La Malbaie reveals all the poetic beauty of seven cliffside and seaside towns and villages. During this leisurely
coastal journey you see an ever-changing landscape where a new spectacle unfolds on every turn. A favourite of tourists, La Malbaie's calm, beauty
and fresh air have drawn North America's high society for more than 200 years. Pointe-au-Pic was the first resort area in Canada. The prestigious
Manoir Richelieu was built in the early 20th century when the great white ships docked in Charlevoix, sitting high above the St. Lawrence and next
to the Casino de Charlevoix. The Musée de Charlevoix in picturesque Havre de Pointe-au-Pic is dedicated to folk art and is considered to be the
leading museum of its kind in Québec.
Day 6: La Malbaie – Rimouski, QC
This morning starts en route to the Gaspé Peninsula by crossing the St. Lawrence from Saint-Siméon to Rivière-du-Loup on the southern shore by ferry.
Take time to do a boat tour of the untouched islands off Rivière-du-Loup that are part of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. Protected by Société
Duvetnor, these islands provide shelter for colonies of seabirds and seals and are a great place to observe belugas. Two of the islands are open
to the public: Pot à l'Eau-de-Vie (Brandy Pot) Island, with its completely restored historic lighthouse, and Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island). Sea
excursions are onboard safe and comfortable boats with an interpreter guide that provides commentary on the species observed. The tour follows
the southern route to the town of Rimouski.
Day 7: Rimouski, QC
The Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse near Rimouski played a primordial role in the history of navigation on the St. Lawrence River. The existing lighthouse,
built in 1909, is the third to be built on the site and is the second tallest in Canada. Accompanied by an interpreter guide, climb to the top
of this unusual structure and take in the view of the St. Lawrence. Later, explore the exhibits in the lighthouse keeper’s house and the foghorn
shed. You will also visit the Onondaga, one of the only submarines open to the public in Canada, and the Empress of Ireland Pavilion, which commemorates
this maritime tragedy through a multimedia show as well as an exhibit of artifacts rescued from the wreck. The afternoon is free to explore this
quaint town by foot.
Day 8: Rimouski – Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC
This morning at Grand-Métis, stop at a national historic site of Canada and a heritage site of Québec: the Reford Gardens, which are a must-see for
anyone visiting the Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent. A tourist destination for over 50 years, the Reford Gardens provide visitors with varied multisensory
experiences. Some 3,000 species and varieties of plants, including the famous Himalayan blue poppy, can be found in over a dozen gardens. Estevan
Lodge presents a permanent exhibit on the summer stays of Elsie Reford (who created the gardens from 1926 to 1958) and her family. Be sure to visit
Elsie’s vegetable garden and the museum of gardening tools. Starting in late June, the International Garden Festival presents innovative contemporary
gardens designed by artists, architects, and landscape architects from around the world. Conceptual gardens give visitors the opportunity to experience
contemporary art and offer children a giant playground in which to explore fun and interactive installations. Further east, in Cap-Chat, the sea
and mountain scenery is dominated by 133 wind turbines in one of North America’s largest wind farms. At the interesting École Cap-Chat wind energy
interpretation centre, visit the highest and most powerful vertical-axis wind turbine in the world.
Day 9: Sainte-Anne-des-Monts – Percé, QC
Driving from lighthouse to lighthouse eastward through spectacular sea and mountain scenery from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, the tour takes you towards
the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula with its magnificent scenery. Since Gaspé became the Cradle of Canada when Jacques Cartier erected a cross here
in 1534, the town is also home to many interpretation sites and museums that will introduce you to this region’s fascinating history. Forillon
National Park is located at the easternmost tip of the peninsula. In this breathtaking landscape, you can learn about the gulf’s rich ecosystems
as well as local fishing history. Forillon is also home to Canada’s tallest lighthouse at Cap-des-Rosiers. The tour continues to Percé, the easternmost
tip of the Gaspé Peninsula.
Day 10: Percé, QC
The quaint village of Percé is an attraction in its own right, where you can enjoy exploring the local boutiques, churches, the small museum and art
galleries. Percé has a reputation for fine dining, and of course, the region’s star attraction is majestic Percé Rock! Offshore, you can see Bonaventure
Island and get a close-up of this protected area during your sea excursion there. A visit to the island and its national park will give you the
opportunity to observe over 300,000 seabirds, including 120,000 northern gannets, in the world’s most accessible colony of these birds.
Day 11: Percé – Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC
Completing the circumnavigation of the Gaspé, head towards the Bonaventure area of the Gaspé where you can stop at the Mary Travers historical site
in Newport and be introduced to Québec and French Canada’s first singer/songwriter, known as “La Bolduc”. A little further west, the Banc-de-Pêche-de-Paspébiac
Historic Site presents the history of the area’s two largest Jersey Island fishing companies, the Charles Robin Company and LeBoutillier Brothers.
An inland drive cuts through the heart of the peninsula through the Gaspé National Park, home to 25 mountains over 1,000 metres high, the only
caribou herd south of the St. Lawrence, a large moose population, arctic-alpine flora and spectacular scenery on every side! You will drive through
the splendours of the Chic-Choc and McGerrigle Mountains while keeping an eye out for interesting wildlife (caribou, white-tailed deer, moose and
over 150 species of birds).
Day 12: Sainte-Anne-des-Monts – La Malbaie, QC
A drive along the scenic southern shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence through the towns of Matane, Rimouski and Rivière-du-Loup, followed by a ferry
ride to the north shore of the Gulf takes you back to La Malbaie for your overnight stay.
Day 13: La Malbaie – Québec City, QC
There is a two-hour drive back to Québec City early this morning to connect with your flight home.