Canada’s countryside awaits to be explored and the best way to see it is by taking an epic road trip. When planning our Canadian road trip from Montréal to Québec City, we found several options (bus, train or rental car) and decided a rental car was the best option for us. While there are several routes to drive from Montréal to Québec City, we decided to drive along the historic Chemin du Roy/Québec Route 138. Keep reading to learn more about our picturesque drive through the French-Canadian countryside.
Chemin du Roy History:
Chemin du Roy (“King’s Highway”) is a scenic and historic road that winds along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. In 1706, the Grand Council of New France proposed that a road be built to connect the settlements along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River. Road work began on the Chemin du Roy in 1731 and was completed in 1737. At that time, the Chemin du Roy was the longest road in North America, north of Mexico. Today, the Chemin du Roy mostly follows the Québec Route 138 through historic villages, charming towns, and modern cities, winding along the St. Lawrence River.
Road Trip from Montréal to Québec City:
We rented our vehicle at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport and set off on the Chemin du Roy/Québec Route 138. This scenic route took about five to six hours with many stops along the way to photograph the picturesque scenery. An alternative to the Chemin du Roy, is AutoRoute 40 (north shore of the St. Lawrence River) or AutoRoute 20 (south shore of the St. Lawrence River) which cuts your drive time to about two-three hours from Montréal to Québec City. With plenty of time to drive along the historic road, the beauty of fall colors on display, and good company, we drove slowly to enjoy the view from the car.
Québec Road Trip Tips:
- In Québec, just like in the U.S. and the rest of Canada, drive on the right-side of the road.
- Obey the posted speed limits (measured by km/h), as it will vary throughout the route.
- Plan for extra time to explore the charming small towns along the Chemin du Roy.
- Knowing basic words in French will help as we found a small language barrier in some of the towns along the route.
- Purchase a Québec driving map (yes, they still make paper maps!) before your road trip, as we experienced some areas along the route with little to no cell service (which means no Google maps).
This charismatic road, provides visitors with beautiful scenery, well-preserved historic villages and churches, charming old houses and barns, and several one-lane bridges that cross the tributaries of the St. Lawrence River. The villages along the route offer modern conveniences, local restaurants and shops. Outside the villages, livestock grazed in the fields, and farm-stands with fresh produce and handmade goods were scattered along the rural road. With stunning views of the St. Lawrence River, quaint villages, and historic buildings, the Chemin du Roy was the perfect route to explore the communities between Montréal and Québec City!
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