On our last full day in Québec, we explored the Charlevoix region. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this region is well known for its agrotourism. The Charlevoix lamb is much prized for its flavor and texture that it became the first food product in North America to be legally protected based on its region of origin.
We followed the tourist route known as the Flavor Trail that features many local growers, producers and restaurateurs. There are endless of big rolling hills from Québec City to La Malbaie… it was like riding a roller coaster. It wasn’t until we stretched our legs at a visitor center in Baie-Saint-Paul that we learned we had been driving inside a 33-mile wide meteorite crater.
At the visitor center, we chatted with a very personable older gentleman working there who told us many interesting stories about Charlevoix, for example, how the founder of Québec, Samuel de Champlain, named La Malbaie (“bad bay”) because his ship got stuck at low tide. He recommended us to take the ferry to Isle-aux-Coudres (Hazelnut Island), but we didn’t make it there due to lack of time. A visit to the visitor center was supposed to take us minutes, but it ended up to be more than half an hour.
We had a wonderful lunch in Baie-Saint-Paul, the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil, then drove to La Malbaie before driving 2 hours back to Québec City in the evening.