© Zach Rose /Go-Van

Taking the Route des Navigateurs

Travelling kilometres along the St. Lawrence River, through fields and mountains, is an excellent way to take the pulse of rural Québec. That's what Zachary Rose, a Toronto photographer, found out after agreeing to take the Navigators’ Road with his friend Julien Roussin-Côté, from the Go-Van blog.

Explore the St. Lawrence riverside

Through the must-see stops that punctuate this mythical 470-kilometre route, they discovered a rich maritime, historical and cultural heritage. From Nicolet to Parc national du Bic, by way of L'Isle-aux-Grues, they photographed the most beautiful places along the river. As for the fascinating encounters they made, they led them to surprising discoveries in the Centre-du-Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions. 

A generous fauna and flora revealed itself on their stops in must see places such as the Parc écologique de l’Anse du Port (ecological park), the Centre de la biodiversité du Québec (biodiversity centre) and the Vignoble Domaine de Clos de L'Isle, a flower garden open to the public. Taking the paths through the forest, they met wildlife and found unsuspected points of view. Their stay in L'Isle-aux-Grues gave them the opportunity to discover other breathtaking landscapes, as well as wild shorelines and century-old forests. "A real paradise!", as often described by those who visit this island of barely a hundred inhabitants, known in particular for its smoked sturgeon. And how about the panoramas offered by the Kamouraska region and the Parc national du Bic in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region! They are only matched by the memorable sunsets that colour the river in the evening. 

© Zach Rose/Go-Van
© Zach Rose/Go-Van

On their encounters with producers, Julien and Zachary measured the richness of the terroir: from a bison farm to a microbrewery, without forgetting the welcoming roadside places serving local specialties such as guédille. What a pleasure to bite into a hot dog bun overflowing with lobster, crab or shrimp salad!  

The two travellers also discovered the cultural and historical aspects of the regions the Route des Navigateurs intersects. Just think of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, a true incubator of artistic talent. They literally fell under the spell of this municipality that they took the time to tour on a bike. Sensitive to art as a means of expression, Zachary especially appreciated his meeting with a renowned sculptor who willingly opened the doors of his studio. A visit of the submarine at the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père (maritime historic site) and of a lighthouse were among the highlights. And spending the night in one or the other can certainly turn into an unforgettable experience!

© Zach Rose /Go-Van

Visiting the Centre-du-Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions

In this part of Québec where the river is omnipresent, where it widens into an estuary with increasingly salty water and where fields give way to mountains, taking the Navigators' Route is an experience in itself. We are hypnotized by the vastness of the St. Lawrence, dazzled by the diversity of the panoramas and amazed by the richness of the territory. To fully appreciate it, a stay of a few days is necessary. Time to kayak down the river among the seals, enjoy spectacular views from a walk in the forest and inhale the salty air. On board a recreational vehicle, on a camping site or in any of the many other accommodation options, each just as friendly as the next.

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