Six nights; five days of cycling on quiet roads and bike paths along the Navigator’s Route – the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Includes several of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Québec,” and is gastronomically superb.
“Picnic lunches were unbelievable! The creativity, variety, complete use of local foods, and quantity were indescribable!” – Mimi M
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Easy cycling terrain following the St. Lawrence River and Quebec’s Route Verte, with challenging options in the hills that parallel the river.
- Five of Quebec’s 25 “Most Beautiful Villages of Quebec”.
- Interesting variety of comfy inns, with amazing sunsets. National Geographic calls them the most beautiful in the world.
- Reford Gardens – les Jardins des Métis.
- Old-world charm in the old city of Quebec.
- Learn about Empress of Ireland – a marine disaster of Titanic scale. You can also board a docked 300ft. submarine, and climb the lighthouse at Pointe-au-Pierre.
- Fromageries, boulangeries, chocolatiers, cider, mead, and beer, and generally excellent cuisine.
Requiring moderate fitness levels, these cover terrain with hills and valleys, and tend to include distances of 50-80km (30-50mi.)/day cycling, or 3-6 hours of walking per day. Most Freewheeling Adventures fall into this category, and are suitable for most ability levels.
This is a gentle ride, on a mix of quiet paved and unpaved roads and bicycle pathways. While most of the route follows the shore of the St. Lawrence River, there are some hills, and van support will be abundant. Expect to ride on hard pack gravel and dirt roads in some places, well suited for hybrid bicycles or e-bikes.
- DAY 1: Independent exploration
- DAY 2: ~60km
- DAY 3: ~66km
- DAY 4: ~47km
- DAY 5: ~55km
- DAY 6: ~Up to 73km
- DAY 7: Farewell
Start: Québec City, Hôtel le Concorde, day one. You will meet your guides here or another pre-determined location at 09:30 on the morning of day two. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Finish: Québec City, ~14:00, day seven. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
To avoid the four-hour transfer to Quebec City on day seven, consider flying out from Mont-Joli (YYY). The small airport is about 25 minutes’ drive from your inn, and operates daily flights to Montreal (Air Canada) and Quebec City (Pascan Airlines). Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Arrival and independent exploration of Québec City
Arrive at Québec City at your leisure. Your pre-arranged room awaits, and your guide(s) will meet you early tomorrow morning to begin cycling. You can enjoy the art shops, galleries, historical quarters, and cafes of Old Québec. Other highlights include the Musée de la Civilisation, Le Château Frontenac and La Citadelle (North America’s largest fort). Dining options abound; check out foodiequebec.com for inspiration and current local favorites.
Berthier-sur-Mer to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli 50km
Meet your guides this morning after breakfast. You will begin with a 45-minute transfer from the Capitale Nationale to the pastoral tranquility of the Saint Lawrence’s southern bank. From Berthier-sur-Mer, the paved country roads of the Route Verte lead you between the Appalachians and the Saint Lawrence River, toward the seaside town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Woodcarvers and musicians frequently gather here to display their art. BLD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Auberge La Belle Époque; Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Saint-Jean-Port-Joli to Kamouraska 66km
Your ride through Saint-Jean-Port-Joli begins along a riverside road past artisan and sculptor galleries and museums toward La Pocatière. You will ride through St Pacôme, the first of several of Québec’s “25 Most Beautiful Villages” in store for you through this week. You will finish today in Kamouraska, famous for its medieval festival and the archipelago off its shores. The water retreats so far at low tide that some of the islands can be reached on foot. Try not to get caught by the rising tide, or you’ll spend the night alone! BLD
La Maison Aux Coquillages; Kamouraska
Kamouraska Loop 47km
By now you will have noticed the conical granite peeking out incongruously from the farmland. Today’s ride meanders between these ‘ monadnocks’, which inspire some adventurers to leave the saddle and scramble up for a view. Your route returns you to Kamouraska, where a waterfall hike and optional sea kayaking might assure that you appreciate the comforts of this village by day’s end. BL
Trois-Pistoles to Le Bic 55km
Start with a morning transfer to Trois-Pistoles, marked by the tall steeple of the enormous church of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges. Stop at the fromagerie, and at the government wharf to take in the view of Île aux Basques where fishermen rendered whale fat long before Jacques Cartier arrived. The ride from Trois-Pistoles to Le Bic takes you through the Basque Highlands, where you can stop to stock up on local specialties such as maple-based drinks. Enjoy the spectacular look off outside Saint-Fabien, home to the wild falcons frequently seen flying from the cliffs, then cycle to the village of Bic via the trails of Le Bic Provincial Park. BLD
Auberge du Mange Grenouille, Le Bic
Le Bic to Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens and Métis-sur-Mer 59km or 73km
Ride along the waterfront through Rimouski, stopping at the lighthouse and Pointe-au-Père maritime museum to learn about the RMS’ Empress of Ireland’s fate – Canada’s biggest peacetime disaster, on the scale of the Titanic’s, two years earlier. Continue through Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer toward another real and perhaps more peaceful highlight of the day: Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. The gardens are truly spectacular, fusing traditional garden serenity with unusual and contemporary artistic themes. You can choose to finish you cycling at the gardens or continue another 15km beyond to your Auberge. BLD
Auberge du Grand Fleuve; Metis Sur Mer
Transfer and farewells
The return transfer to Québec City takes approximately 4 hours. It departs after breakfast and will arrive in Québec City in the early afternoon. If you prefer not to transfer by van, consider flying from Mont-Joli (YYY) to either Québec City or Montreal. The small airport at Mont-Joli is about 25 minutes from your inn and operates daily flights to Montreal (Air Canada) and Quebec City (Pascan Airlines).. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Guided: C 3595 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, full-time guide and van support, maps, route instructions, taxes
Self-Guided: C 2945 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, essential transfers as outlined in the itinerary, maps, route instructions, on-call emergency support, sales tax
Single Occupancy: 795
Aluminum Racing: 295
Carbon Racing: na
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2022 Guided dates:
- Jun 19-25
- Jul 31-Aug 6
- Aug 15-21
- Aug 28-Sep 3
2023 Guided dates:
- Jun 25-Jul 1
- Jul 16-22
- Jul 30-Aug 5
- Aug 13-19
- Aug 27-Sep 2
- Sep 10-16
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Interested in custom or private departures?
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, price remains the same as advertised if you have at least six. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
This adventure follows easy cycling terrain through a viscerally French, historic area known as the Navigator’s Route. Most of the roads are now paved and well-signposted as part of La Route Verte for cyclsts, but you will follow the same path as the first explorers, Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain. The gently rolling, quiet country roads on the southern shore of the mighty Saint Lawrence River take you to quaint Québécois villages, including five of the ‘25 Most Beautiful Villages in the Province’, and a progression of gastronomic pleasures. As you ride your bike along the St. Lawrence River’s banks, observing the shorebirds and wildlife, admiring the waterfront homes reminiscent of turn-of-the-century seaside resorts, and marvelling at the traditional eel nets reaching out to sea, you might even catch a glimpse of passing whales. In the evening, you can enjoy the sun setting over the Charlevoix Mountains north of the river – rated by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. This tour includes a visit to the spectacular Les Jardins des Métis/Reford Gardens, an amazing experience even for non-gardeners!
Freewheeling directors Cathy and Philip are involved with a bicycle advocacy board, whose mission leads it to follow the excellent example made by Quebec’s bicycle network – la Route Verte. Studying la Route Verte led to the discovery of some wonderful routes, perfectly suited to Freewheeling’s week-long holidays. Some of our past guides came from Quebec and helped us discover the little things that make a trip outstanding. We now frequently travel to Quebec for biking and skiing, and having become familiar with some fine inns and cuisine in rural Quebec, have developed five unique itineraries in superbly scenic and fascinating regions.