After visiting Québec City a few times in the last several years we decided to go a bit further on our little summer road trip and drive up through the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Québec. We took the day and drove from Québec City to Grand-Métis where we visited the Jardins du Métis the next day. We made many stops along to way to eat, explore and hike. We really only scratched the surface on what there is to do in this region since we only had the day but here is our road trip through the Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Starting from we Québec City crossed the bridge towards Lévis and got on Highway 20. Then at Rivière-Ouelle we actually got off the main highway and started on the old Highway 132 which is a slightly longer but nicer drive through the smaller villages and along the Saint-Laurent. Our first stop was in Kamouraska which was such a cute village. If we had known how cute it was we probably would have planned more time. We parked down at the Kamouraska Beach were there were public bathrooms. Immediately we were hit with the smell of salty sea air and wild roses, it was so lovely. From the beach we walked up to the main street past a bunch of really cute houses. The main street is filled with cafes, restaurants and a few shops. We went to Le Comptoir Gourmand for some pastries and a sandwhich and Le jardin du bedeau for some Québec strawberries. Many of the other cafes, restaurants and shops on the main street looked great too. Kamouraska would be a great place to stop overnight if you’re not planning on going into Québec City but need to break up your drive since it’s only about 2 hours away and there seemed to be lots of guesthouses and inns. It seems that many of the places are closed on Monday and even Tuesday and Wednesday so if you’re planning to come here and other places in the region plan to visit in the second half of the week.
From Kamouraska we continued along Highway 132 and made a stop at the Petit Phare, which is a cute little lighthouse with major Wes Anderson vibes. We were lucky to visit when all the roses that line the path to the lighthouse were in bloom so it was picture perfect!
Then it was time for lunch so we stopped off in Notre-Dame-du-Portage and went to a newly opened pizza place called Pizzeria des Battures. They had a great patio facing onto the Saint-Laurent and the food was delicious. They also have a little ice cream shop if you want some dessert. There is also a brewery just before you reach the lighthouse that is pretty good called Tête d’Allumette Microbrasserie. We stopped here on our way back to Québec City and it was great. We were hoping for some food when we visited but they only had small bites but it was a great place to take a break on the road and the beers were really good.
From the pizza place we continued driving north to the Parc national du Bic for a little hike. We wanted to do this cool looking coastal hike that you can only do during low tide so we were racing against to clock to get to the park in time to do the hike. Luckily we made it just in time and I’m so happy we did since the park is beautiful and the hike was great. You can read more about the hike in a post I wrote here!
After the hike we needed some good food and a cold beer so were continued driving to Sainte-Flavie where there is a great brewpub called Le Ketch. It gets pretty busy but they were able to seat us outside without issue. You can make a reservation though if you have a better idea of when you’ll be there unlike we did. Not only was the food and beer great but we had the most amazing view for sunset along the Saint-Laurent. I definitely recommend making a stop here if you can. It also seems to be one of the better places to eat in the area.
After the beautiful sunset we drove over to our hotel in Mont-Joli for the evening. The next day we visited the Jardins du Métis / Reford Gardens, which was our main reason for visiting this region. The gardens are beautiful and there is also a very cool International Garden Festival with art installations from artists, architects and landscape designers from all over the world. We were able to spend most of the morning and afternoon exploring these beautiful gardens. You can read more about our visit to the gardens here! Before leaving this region you should also stop at the Distillerie Mitis in Mont-Joli. The distillery produces amazing spirits using ingredients from the region, including botanicals from the Jardins du Métis.
That’s it from our little Québec/ Bas-Saint-Laurent road trip! We kept it pretty short and I’m sure there are many things we missed but this is a taste of some of the great places to stop in the region. We were so pleasantly surprised by the whole region and each spot. I always thought this route was something you just had to get through on the way to the Gaspésie or the Maritimes but there is so much to explore and experience here. When we go back in the future we will definitely plan to explore a bit more and spend more time here since it’s really beautiful and there is so much to see.