Here are the five places you must stop on your trip across Quebec:
You’ve been behind the wheel, staring at pavement and trying not to lose at punch buggy. Perhaps it’s time to take a break? Step out of that hot car, my friend. Well, after you put it in park. Make a stop at Parc Omega, a year-round nature centre full of moose, bison, and bears. Here, you can stretch your legs while hiking various trails, and get a few Instagram shots of you sport-ing in nature. And guess what? If feeding a deer in the wild is on your bucket list (and really, why wouldn’t it be?), you can do so here. Just don’t feed the wild boars. Because, well, you know. Wild boars.
Next leg: 130 km (1 h, 30 minutes)
You know its name, you’ve seen the photos, and now it’s time to understand why Tony Bennett should have left his heart in Montreal instead of San Francisco. What’s not to love? Take a bite out of life when you walk into Fairmount Bagel. New York can stop bragging about its breads, because Fairmount Bagel’s got it covered. These bad boys are extra sweet with a slight crunch, and are hand-rolled every morning. Grocery store brands will never, ever compare again. Need to walk off the calories? Venture into the Biodome. Home to four different ecosystems, the nature exhibit showcases over 500 plants and 4,500 animals—including penguins, piranhas, and porcupines. No need to worry if your feet are barking at the end of the day; there are tons of hotels in Montreal near the Biodome if you need to make it an early night. Or, if you want to be closer to the crisp mountain air, book a spot at a Mont-Tremblant hotel, close to the trails. And if you have a bit of time before you hit the road again, mosey on over to popular sites like Montreal Tower, Montreal Museum of History and Archaeology, or Smoke Meat Pete to grab a smoked meat sandwich for the road.
Next leg: 108 km (1 h, 15 minutes)
Canadians have a reputation of being peaceful—unless you start talking about the best poutine in the country. You might want to keep some of those opinions to yourself in Drummondville and just stuff your face instead, because this town is one of the purported birthplaces of poutine. In fact, if you’re cruising into town in August, you can join the Poutine Festival (also known as Festival de la Poutine de Drummondville, for you Francophones). All the gravy. All the cheese curds. All yours, friend. We know it’s tempting to fall into a poutine coma and call it a day, but if you want to try to burn some of it off, go ahead and mill about Village Quebecois d’Antan, a recreated 18th-century village, or hike through the ethereal Drummond Forest for bird-watching.
Next leg: 69 km (1 h)
We hope you remembered a phone charger on your road trip through Quebec, because your camera is going to have a field day in Trios-Rivieres. Explore historical sites such as Cathedral of the Assumption; its 125 stained glass windows, done in Westminster style, make it one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country. Or walk into Maison Rocheleau, which was built in 1742 and displays artefacts of local history. And if you have some extra time, make a stop at Bistro Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises, where you can down home-brewed beer inside the vault of an old bank. With nine beers on tap, a list of imported wines, and an onsite smokehouse, something tells us you’re going to have more fun in Trois-Rivieres than those bankers did…
Next leg: 130 km (1 h, 30 min)
You might find yourself doing your best Carrie Bradshaw impression as you say “Hello, lover” to Quebec City. Regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world, you’re going to want to park the car and see what makes this place so special. With cobblestone streets, old-fashioned street lights, and little cafes promising lattes that excite the bloodstream, Quebec City is unlike anywhere else in the world. Oh, what’s that familiar-looking site you spot while exploring? That’s the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, of course. Known for its castle-like architecture, it rivals Kim Kardashian as one of the most-photographed attractions in the world. Speaking of beauty, take some time to visit Quartier Petit Champlain. The old world stone buildings house art galleries, jewellery shops, and pubs that serve wine so good you’ll forget the day of the week.
Total drive time: 2,631 km (29 h, 20 min)
Once you’ve sobered up from your mini wine fest, it’s time to bid Quebec adieu and get ready for the next leg of your trip. You’ve got the Maritimes waiting for you just beyond the bend!