It’s a heartfelt invitation. Lanaudière and Mauricie invite visitors to come genuinely experience the Belle Province. Authentic Québec comes in four seasons, each with its distinct flavours. Whichever time of the year and whatever activities you choose, a truly enriching trip awaits.
Whether you are coming from Montréal or Québec City, you’ll be treading the Chemin du Roy (King’s Road) to enter Authentic Québec. This scenic and historic route runs along the St. Lawrence River and will take you through history as it goes by historic sites and villages. Lanaudière and Mauricie were privy to the early settling of Nouvelle-France in the 17th and 18th centuries. History unravels along the Chemin du Roy. In Vieux-Terrebonne, sites like Île-des-Moulins or the Maison Bélisle, a heritage house dating back to 1759, are worth your while. In Trois-Rivières, the old district founded in 1634 by first commandant Laviolette bears testimony to olden days gone by.
Travelling in Lanaudière and Mauricie is like flipping through the pages of history. Pages of paper made in Trois-Rivières. Located in the former filtration plant of the Canadian International Paper Company in Trois-Rivières, Boréalis shows the human face of the paper industry: lumberjacks, log drivers and factory workers. You go back even further in time by visiting the first industrial site in Canada, built in 1730 at Forges-du-Saint-Maurice. This national heritage site is managed by Parks Canada. The Saint-Maurice River has more secrets to unfold. Shawinigan’s La Cité de l’énergie has a Science Center and a Historic Center to spend a great day of discovery: old powerhouses, immersive multimedia show, interactive exhibits, museum of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, evening circus show with Cirque Éloize in the outdoors amphitheater, trolleybus sightseeing tours and river cruises. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Shawinigan from atop the Hydro-Québec Observation Tower. At 115 meters high, it is the second highest tower in Québec. The tower will give you a bird’s eye view of Shawinigan.
They go by the names of Joliette, Terrebonne, Repentigny and L’Assomption in Lanaudière; Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan and La Tuque in Mauricie, to name a few of them. They are quaint and cozy towns, so typical to Authentic Québec. These towns each have their own charm and they are usually well equipped in terms of the cultural offer (e.g., the Musée d’art de Joliette or the Musée POP in Trois-Rivières dedicated to Québec’s popular culture). The town of Berthierville has a museum dedicated to Gilles Villeneuve, the local kid who grew up to become a Formula 1 legend. Or, perhaps you’d like to visit Our Lady of the Cape Shrine in Trois-Rivières. This ancient and spectacular basilica is Canada’s national shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Whatever tickles your fancy, these endearing communities will win your heart. Even during the high season when boats cruising the St. Lawrence are full and when festivals abound, you will enjoy the laid-back and casual atmosphere.
The beauty of the countryside will be hard to miss. The greenery will stimulate your senses. Grab a picnic basket and fill it to the brim with cheese, fruits and veggies, beers, wines and spirits, fish and game, smoked meat and delicatessen, honey, jams and chocolates. The countryside comes in many flavours. You’ll need a guide to explore this cornucopia. “Goûtez Lanaudière!” proposes five food & drink itineraries to sample a bit of everything. In Rawdon, for instance, you can visit La Terre des Bisons to taste bison and wapiti or just watch them graze. A fan of gourds? Visit La Courgerie in Sainte-Élisabeth to check out their 100 varieties of cucurbits! The Abbaye Val Notre-Dame shop in Saint-Jean-de-Matha is a hidden gem that will amaze your sweet tooth. In Mauricie, be sure to leave some room for some traditional maple syrup at the sugar shack Cabane à sucre Chez Dany and for some pork & beans at Boulangerie Guay. Thirsty? Lanaudière and Mauricie tally around 20 microbreweries pouring out gallons of incredible craft beer.
A walk on the wild side
Adventure calls. Here, the Great Outdoors will put you under a spell, whether it is winter, spring, summer or fall. Vast forests that change colours in fall, dazzling lakes that freeze in winter. If you are lucky enough, you can observe black bears, beavers, common loons, wolves and the gigantic moose. A world of wonders awaits you in the vast national parks, whether it is Mont-Tremblant in Lanaudière or La Mauricie National Park. Authentic Québec also has 15 regional parks and 3 wildlife preserves to keep you kayaking, fishing, camping or hiking. It’s an endless discovery with the National Trail that passes through 4 regional parks in Matawinie, Lanaudière, before connecting to La Mauricie National Park and the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve. There are many ways to take in the panorama, from a gentle interpretive walk to more thrilling experiences. Feeling gutsy? Head out for the Parc de la rivière Batiscan to try out the steep via ferrata or the Tyrolean traverse to get that adrenaline rush. When winter finally comes, a whole new choice of activities arises. Snowy trails and frozen lakes welcome you to experience winter as never before. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice skating or ice fishing… the choice is yours, take your (ice) pick! Make sure you hop on a snowmobile too. Authentic Québec is snowmobile country with 4,800 km of trails in superb conditions. In Québec, tradition and creativity go hand in hand. Try fat biking or do some larger-than-life snowshoe art in La Mauricie National Park, before heading back to a cozy cabin or an original oTENTik, a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin.
The fresh air experts
Some of your hosts in Authentic Québec are the best guides you can imagine to help you make the most of the great outdoors. They have been living in harmony with nature–Mother Earth–for millennia. The Indigenous nations of Authentic Québec welcome you to experience their culture: sleep in a teepee, learn about trapping, attend a pow wow or a crafts workshop. The Atikamekw of Lanaudière’s Manawan community and those of the Club Odanak outfitter in Haute-Mauricie will introduce you to their age-old traditions and values. “What’s an outfitter?”, you may ask. These were initially private fishing and hunting grounds that have been made accessible to all. La Seigneurie du Triton is yet another example of an outfitter offering several nature-related activities and types of accommodation such as fully furnished inns, rustic cabins or even teepees. Whether it is summer or winter, outfitters are the perfect place to get some fresh air and enjoy seasonal activities.
Switch off and tune in to nature
To feel at home in Nature’s backyard, this is the promise of comfy lakeshore inns and hotels in the woods. Four-season accommodation right in the middle of vast green estates where you can enjoy some fine dining and take in the view. Mauricie’s Sacacomie Hotel or Lanaudière’s Auberge du Lac Taureau are renowned names. At Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, the Auberge du Lac-à-l’Eau-Claire gives you a wide choice of regular rooms or luxury suites in its inn, condominiums or cabins. Hiking and canoeing packages are the rage in summer, but you can also go for stand-up paddling or a seaplane trip. In winter, nothing beats snowmobiling. In Saint-Paulin, LE BALUCHON Eco-Resort lets you put on your Western boots to shepherd a fold of Highland cattle. All these establishments offer a wide array of activities, including a full range of spa services, for an unforgettable getaway. Our team’s pick for spa services is La Source Bains Nordiques in Rawdon, to enjoy fine dining, a perfectly Zen atmosphere against the backdrop of a mountain forest. Switch off and tune in to yourself.