Île d’Orléans is a small island just outside of Québec City known for its amazing produce and rich francophone history. All over the island you’ll find little villages and big farms growing some of the best strawberries and blackcurrants in the summer and apples in the autumn. Although not very big there are many great places to discover and it’s an easy day trip only 30 minutes Québec City.
We visited Île d’Orléans during our Québec road trip this past summer. After exploring Québec City and the Bas-Saint-Laurent a little we spent two nights in Île d’Orléans before heading back home. We had originally planned to spend two full days exploring but we really only needed the one full day and ended up leaving early the second day and stopping in Montreal on our way back home to Ottawa. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty to do on the island but we didn’t feel the need to visit every single winery or spend time doing activities that just didn’t interest us. We were also visiting early in the week and a bunch of the better looking places to eat were closed. We still managed to cover the whole island in a day and visit a lot of places even though it threatened to rain most of the day.
For our stay on the island we found the Auberge Triangle d’été, a charming little B&B in the village of Saint-Laurent-Île-d’Orléans at the southern end of the island. We booked them through Airbnb but you can also book directly through their website. The host was lovely and super accommodating with our checkin. she also provided us with great recommendations of places to visit. The room was very comfortable and we loved sitting out on the porch in the evening and having breakfast outside under the big tree in the morning. She also served us a great healthy breakfast with coffee and tea. Overall it was just a lovely and relaxing stay.
What to do and where to eat in Île d’Orléans
Île d’Orléans is divided into 6 villages/regions that each have a little main street with shops and restaurants and along the way you’ll find vineyards, farms and other interesting little places to stop. This isn’t an exhaustive list of what to do in Île d’Orléans but rather the places we stopped on our day driving around the island that we really enjoyed. This list moves clockwise around the island from where our B&B was in Saint-Laurent-Île-d’Orléans.
Strawberries: There are so many strawberry farms and other berry and apples farms around the island. You can’t drive 5 minutes without passing a sign for strawberries in the summer. Many farms allow you to pick your own or you can just buy a basket. We stopped at OhBio and picked up some delicious berries as well as some homemade granola and local kombucha.
Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans: While this won’t be the best chocolate you’ve ever had it was a nice little shop with lots of different types of chocolate. While in this little village we also went for a walk down by the water on the Promenade Horacio-Walker.
Saint Pierre Le Vignoble: I honestly wasn’t expecting much from the wine in this region since it’s not very well known but I was pleasantly surprised this vineyard. There are about 6 wineries on the island but this is the only one we stopped at and I’m glad we did. The wine was actually all very good and we walked away with 6 bottles of great wine. The tasting experience was great and we had a view of the Montmorency Falls from the patio over the vines.
Café Boutique La Maison Smith: This little cafe also has locations in Québec City and it’s a nice place to stop to grab a quick pastry and coffee before continuing your day. They also sell some lunch items.
Cassis Monna & Filles: Cassis Monna & Filles was one of our favourite places on the island. They produce amazing cassis (blackcurrant liquor) as well as many other products with blackcurrants. We actually visited twice during our stay. The first time was when we arrived on the island after a long drive and we were starving so we drove over for dinner and had a delicious meal with a beautiful sunset view. Pretty much everything on the menu includes cassis in someway. Then we went back the next night for a tasting and dinner again. We bought a bottle of their cassis as well as some cassis jam and vinaigrette. We also had some of their cassis ice cream and it was equally delicious.
Domaine des Sorciers: Although they were closed when we were there we heard from our host that this cider place is really great and they have a lovely view of the Saint-Laurent.
Microbrasserie de l’Île d’Orléans: We stopped here for lunch since other little casse-croute (food trucks/stands) placed we wanted to try were closed. The food was perfectly fine, your average pub food and the beer was good so it’s a decent place to stop.
La Roulotte du Coin: We wanted to eat at this casse-croute that was closed unfortunately this year due to staffing shortages. Hopefully if we return they’ll be open since we heard that their food was delicious and based on the menu posted it looked amazing.
Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orléans: A nice little cheese shop, perfect for buying some stuff for a picnic or to take back to your accommodation.
The Observation Tower: This is a quick little stop at an observation tower on the eastern tip of the island that gives you a nice view of the island and the Saint-Laurent. There is also some interesting information about the history and geography of the region.
La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans: These lavender fields are free to visit so we made a quick stop since we were there when the lavender was in bloom. This place also has private gardens that you have to pay to visit but we didn’t feel the need to see them since they didn’t look very big and the fee was pretty high.
Terre & Grève: While driving through the cute little village of Saint-Jean-de-l’Île-d’Orléans I saw a sign for pottery so we pulled over and stopped in. This woman’s studio back behind a house is full of amazing work inspired by the colours of the Saint-Laurent. She doesn’t have any kind of website or social media and payment is cash only. I was really tempted to buy everything since her work was beautiful and pretty inexpensive. If you’re driving through the village be sure to keep an eye out for her sign and stop in.
La Boulange: A nice little bakery in a beautiful old house in the village of Saint-Jean-de-l’Île-d’Orléans. They have lots of different thing on offer but I’d suggest going earlier in the day since things sell out.
Driving around Île d’Orléans you’ll see plenty of places to stop, there are tons of little shops and food places and so many of the houses are just so old and pretty. If the weather had been nicer we probably would have walked around the villages a bit more and maybe stopped into some of the old churches. Unfortunately the main streets are pretty narrow with not much sidewalk space which does make it a bit difficult to walk around and explore. We were also hoping to find a nice place to take a long walk but we couldn’t really find a good area. Although Île d’Orléans is really pretty I think it’s best done as a day trip since there isn’t a ton of stuff to do compared to other agro-tourism destinations.
One thought on “Île d’Orléans Mini Travel Guide”
Good job on the blog, I’ve been reading for quite a bit; and I’ve got to say you really bring the words to life.