Montmorency Falls and Île d’Orléans
Our visit to Québec has been quite impressive, starting in the vibrant Montréal, road tripping on the Chemin du Roy, and visiting the charming Québec City! But the province of Québec has more to offer visitors, we took a daytrip from Québec City to Montmorency Falls and Île d’Orléans. While the cities of Québec offer great tourist attractions, historical monuments, and wonderful restaurants and bars; venture outside of the cities to experience nature and the beautiful countryside of Québec.
Montmorency Falls are located seven miles northeast of Québec City. Visible from AutoRoute 440, visitors get a sneak peak of the grand waterfall before getting to the visitors station. This impressive waterfall is 272 feet tall, 98 feet taller than Niagara Falls, but much narrower than Niagara Falls. There are several ways to view this magnificent waterfall (cable car, trails, a suspension bridge, and viewing platforms). We started at the parking lot of Manoir Montmorency (welcome center, gift shop, and restaurant) then ascended the stairs, stopping at viewing platforms on the way up to the footbridge. Once at the top of the falls, visitors can take a breathtaking (literally) walk across the falls on the suspension bridge. This bridge, gives you impressive views over top the falls and the surrounding area. The loud roar of the waterfall reminds visitors of the massive power of the water flowing below them. I was a little intimidated by the bridge, with decent winds the day we visited, I could feel the bridge sway slightly as we stood upon the bridge and marveled the falls. After viewing the falls, and taking lots of pictures, we made our way to the path on the opposite side of the bridge to another set of stairs and started descending to the lower viewing platform. With 487 steep steps, and several viewing platforms, visitors acquire another impressive view and can feel the water spray upon their faces. Once at the lower viewing platform, a welcome surprise greeted us, there was a beautiful rainbow in the mist of the Montmorency Falls! After loads of picture taking and a few more minutes to view this amazing feat of nature, we made our way to the lower cable car terminal. We then took the glass-walled cable car back to the top terminal and parking lot. If you are unable to climb stairs, cross the suspension bridge, or walk the path, you can take the cable car (roundtrip) for upper and lower platform views. For adrenaline seekers, rock climbing down along the waterfall and ice climbing (during the winter months) are offered for visitors that want a close up view of the falls. With impressive views of the surrounding Québec countryside, and an amazingly beautiful feat of nature, Montmorency Falls are a must see while in Québec!
Isolated from the mainland until 1935, Île d’Orléans is a quaint island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The recently built highway bridge connects visitors to this adorable island. With beautiful coastal views visitors can drive the main loop around the island. Route 368, also known as chemin Royal, circles the 21-mile long and 5-mile wide island. We spent several hours driving on Route 368, enjoying the beautiful views and making a few stops to taste local goods. With only six tiny villages on the island, and fertile fields to grow produce (we saw numerous grapevines, apple orchards, onion harvesting, and strawberry fields), and small farms with livestock, this island mainly promotes agritourism. Since we visited towards the end of October (after the main tourist season), we were the only people on the road, winery, and cider mill we visited! It was a fantastic and scenic drive around this wonderful agricultural island!
Our first stop was at the winery, Isle De Bacchus. This beautiful, eleven-acre vineyard has stunning and sweeping views of the Île d’Orléans Bridge and the Québec mainland. Founded 25 years ago, and the first winery on Île d’Orléans, this adorable winery invites guests to step into the wine cellar to taste their superb local wines. With beautifully stoned floors and walls, I felt transformed back to medieval times. We tasted six wonderful wines, and bought a delightful ice wine. Back outside, we sat on the picnic tables and enjoyed the amazing view of the autumn splendor!
Our next stop was at Domaine Steinbach. This cider mill and gourmet bistro produces over 50 products. From ice cider, pâtés, vinegars, mustards, confits, jellies and jams, visitors are welcomed to try their products. We sampled mustards, jellies, jams, confits, and paired pâtés, duck terrines and confits with flavored ice ciders (with the help of a Domaine Steinbach guide). Although a bit leery of tasting duck pâtés and confits (I just can’t seem to like duck, even after trying it in several countries) I was pleasantly surprised at the combinations of flavors that arose when guided by our gastronomic expert. Maybe it was the sweetness of the maple syrup or the ice cider, either way, for the first time I truly enjoyed tasting duck! After trying all the free samples, we purchased an ice cider, jams, and mustards for gifts, then went outside for the gorgeous view of the St. Lawrence River from their back yard.
Montmorency Falls and Île d’Orléans are two great destinations outside of Québec City. Being only fifteen minutes from Québec City, it is the perfect day trip combination! Both Montmorency Falls and Île d’Orléans feel like a world away from Québec City and showcase the beauty of the Québec region. I urge you when visiting Québec City, to take a day to enjoy nature’s beauty at Montmorency Falls and promote agritourism on the Île d’Orléans and taste locally grown and made products! Québec is full of vibrant cities, charming historical towns, beautiful natural wonders, and quaint villages that take visitors back in time. Thank you Québec for exceeding my expectations and having a beautifully maintained region in Canada!
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