Tag Archives: drive vacation in Quebec

Gaspé accommodations

This blog on Gaspé is all about where to stay. There’s plenty of places to rest your weary head but none will be at a chain. There wasn’t a single hotel chain to be found during our seven-day trip. Welcome to mom and pop inns, B&Bs and motel/hotels. Good-bye Best Western, Holiday Inn and the like. A break from the standard highway hotels gave us a chance to meet and speak casually with local workers and experience small-town hospitality.

Gite la Roseraie in Ste. Flavie

We stayed in the “Familiale” suite on the second floor. It consists of one room with a double bed and a twin bed in an alcove with a curtain divider. The room has its own bathroom with shower. There’s no air-conditioning but there are two windows, which provide a decent breeze. Many trucks drove by through the night and it was too hot to sleep with the windows closed in summer.
I stepped on nail clippings on the floor early in the morning on my way to the bathroom and when I picked it up, I got long strands of hair in my hand as well (not mine). Apart from that, the room, sheets and bathroom were clean. The shower is minuscule but functional.
However, the caveat is that the beds are rock solid and immensely uncomfortable! My husband and I were in pain in the morning and our son, who can sleep anywhere, complained that his back hurt. The inn-keeper needs to change the mattresses in the “Familiale” room, not to be confused with the “Famille” room on the same floor. Maybe the other beds are more comfortable.
Breakfast is included and it’s homemade, hardy and delicious. Between us we had crepes, French toast, eggs and bacon, orange juice and coffee, fresh fruit and toast! Everything is included in the price ($95). Can’t beat that, or the inn-keeper’s hospitality.

Huttopia in Gaspé National Park

My son loves to camp and since I don’t, a huttopia was our compromise. We both loved it. This is glamping at its best. Just show up with your sleeping bag and some food. And, don’t forget wine. You can store it in the fridge! Yes, this ready-to-camp-tent has a fridge, outdoor stove, all the cutlery, plates, pots and pans and glasses you’ll need for four people. There’s even a toaster and kettle plus dish-washing accessories including dish soap and clean rags.

A picnic table and chairs are placed in the middle of the A-frame tent. To the right is the kitchen counter with cupboards below and a small fridge. At the back are beds, which consist of a raised wood platform with four plastic mattresses. Just plunk your sleeping bag on top and you’re ready for bed. Right outside the front door to the tent is a propane stove. The canvas roof is high enough so you don’t have to stoop inside (except on the beds) and the front door has a pad lock. There are also zipper-windows.

One night was about $150, which included taxes and the daily park entry fee for three people. Your kids will love it and so will the kid in you.

Hotel-Motel Manoir de Percé in Percé

Manoir de Percé is a good deal. It’s located across the street from Percé Rock on HWY 132. It’s super clean, offers free Wi-Fi, complementary coffee at reception and a small fridge in the room.
The bathroom and room décor are dated and the towels are rough. Those are my only two criticisms. Our room, 157, is the last room on the second floor; accessed by outdoor stairs. The porch and room window overlook the rock! We had the best view in town. And no one walked passed our room!
We took the hotel up on its dégustation (tasting) menu. The package was a five-course dinner and a hardy breakfast. The restaurant is located on the main floor. The décor is also dated and a little stuffy, but the food is delicious and the service friendly and attentive.
The room, with two double beds, was $104 a night. We all agreed that we would stay here again.

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Gaspé restaurants

In the second of the Gaspé vacation blogs, I’ll highlight the restaurants we stopped at during our week-long drive. You’d think that being right on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the verge of the Atlantic Ocean, the seafood would be out-of-this-world. Think again.

While seafood is a mainstay on most local menus, most of it is deep-fried and battered. Unbelievable, but true.

Centre d’Art Marcel Gagnon

The first restaurant we ate at was in Ste. Flavie on our first day, at the end of the long drive from Montreal. Our innkeeper suggested it. Centre d’Art Marcel Gagnon looked promising with Easter Island-inspired carvings in the water behind the restaurant and in the art space next to it.  The restaurant is attached to an art gallery downstairs and an inn upstairs.

I learned this place is highly regarded  but it was a regal disappointment. We were thankful they could accommodate us with no reservations on a Saturday night, but an hour wait-time for our food to arrive, after we ordered, was ridiculous. I wish they had said, ‘sorry no tables.’ When the food did arrive, it was tasteless and the bill, expensive.

Drop-by for the art and Gulf views. Dine elsewhere.

Le Matelot

This place, right on highway 132 in Baie des Sable, hugs the shoreline. It was packed on a weekday afternoon. Le Matelot came highly recommended to us by Montrealers who have summer homes nearby.

This casual place serves good seafood. A lot of it is caught locally. We dove into our seafood chowder full of Matane shrimp, scallops, and fish. We also ordered the escargot and pasta dish. The portions are small. The waitress was friendly and the service quick. What more do you want from a lunch-stop on the side of a highway?

Resto-Pub la Revolte

We stopped for lunch in the town of Gaspé. La Revolte is a sports bar/pub that wouldn’t be out-of-place back home in Montreal. Mid-range, on the water, typical pub menu, quick and friendly service.
A McCoy bus-tour of seniors piled in shortly after we arrived, so I take it that the restaurant is popular with tour companies. The restaurant also has a waterfront deck. We ate inside and had club sandwiches and a hamburger platter between the three of us. If you want authentic Gaspésian food and décor, you won’t find it here. What you will find is a big-city-style pub right on hwy 132 .

Gite du Mont Albert

The bar accommodated us on a weeknight without reservations when the restaurant couldn’t. Located inside Gaspé National Park, the bar was packed, so the staff was slow to acknowledge us and set our table but once they did, service was awesome.
We each had the burger platter and I had an aperitif. Best burger in years! However, the salad was limp and the pasta portion was tiny and tepid. After glamping in a huttopia for two days this was a treat. The décor is a mix of traditional Québecois country lodge and contemporary restaurant. We lingered as long as we could because no one wanted to go back to the campground in the rain!

Hotel Motel Manoir de Percé

We took our hotel in Percé up on its dégustation (tasting) menu. The package was a five-course dinner and a hardy breakfast. The restaurant is located on the main floor. The décor is  dated and a little stuffy, but the food is delicious and the service friendly and attentive.
The package is for manoir guests only. The dinner/breakfast deal was $47 per person. Wine is extra. Breakfast ranged from eggs and bacon to pancakes with orange juice and coffee included. Considering how expensive Percé is, this was a deal.

Boulangerie le Fournand 

We stopped by for a late lunch in Percé and we all had the croque monsieur. It was 3 p.m and most of the lunch offerings were gone. We had seen a long line-up around 12:30 p.m. The service-person heated up the sandwiches and brought them to our table.
The service was quick and friendly and the sandwiches only $6.95 each. This is a budget-friendly lunch-spot right on the strip.

Auberge la table à Rolland

We stopped in here for dinner our last night in Percé because it was getting late and there was no line up, like at other restaurants. Now we know why. It’s just okay and pricey for what you get.
The tables had clear plastic covers over the table cloths. Not pretty. I had the lobster club, which came with the worst fries ever; limp and not even browned. I couldn’t eat them. No salad side-option. My husband had the basil pizza, which he said was delicious. My son went with the 12-inch pepperoni pizza. That, with 2 ice teas, one aperitif and one garlic bread came to $87 before tip but after taxes.
It’s expensive for what you get. There are so many other restaurants to choose from on the strip.

Gaspé, Quebec vacation

We’re well into fall and it’s raining today so what better time to start planning next summer’s vacation?

If you’re like me, you dream all winter of your next summer holiday. Will it be by the beach? How will you get there? What will you do there?

With the Canadian loonie so low compared to the American dollar and the political climate uncertain south of the border, the time is ripe to stay home and explore Canada.

Last summer, my family stayed in Quebec and travelled to the stunningly beautiful Gaspé Peninsula. The ultimate destination was the seaside town of Pérce at the very eastern tip of the province, famous for its monolith, Percé Rock, in the harbour.

The Gaspé is a region of Quebec along the south shore of the mighty St. Lawrence River. The peninsula extends to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and ends at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean.

The journey is a 2,000 km return trip from Montreal to Percé on the achingly slow but gloriously panoramic Highway 132.

Six-day Gaspé itinerary

This is how we planned our 6-day trip:

  • Day 1: Montreal to Ste. Flavie. 575 km. 5h35 min. drive time plus breaks.
  • Day 2: Ste. Flavie to Gaspé National Park. 293 km. 2h25 min. drive time.
  • Day 3: Gaspé National Park
  • Day 4: Gaspé National Park to Percé. 300 km. 4h drive plus lunch break.
  • Day 5: Percé
  • Day 6: Percé to Montreal. 975 km, ouch! 10h25 min. drive plus breaks.

The rest-stops on the highway are far between but they’re clean and decent. They’re not modern like Ontario’s ONroute chain of pit stops, but you can get sandwiches and chips at most of them. We brought our own food.

There’s one breathtakingly beautiful town between Quebec City and the start of the Gaspé region in Mont. Joli. Kamuraska sits on the south coast of the St. Lawrence River next to vast mud flats that attract a variety of birds. These flats have been painted by thousands of artists over the years. A lunch-stop here includes a nip into the old-time general store, visiting art galleries and a peek at the restored town church.

In my next blogs, I’ll highlight the accommodations and restaurants that were hits and misses and of course, the attractions. There’s lots to do in Gaspé and most of it is weather-dependent, so bring rain gear and a good attitude. You’re in for quite a trip.