Charlevoix & Saguenay – ideas for free time

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Baie St Paul is popular weekend spot for the residents of Quebec City and therefore, despite its small size, it has a good selection of cafes, restaurants, galleries and boutique shops. If you are staying here allow an afternoon to wander or, if you are passing through, stop for lunch. Further on Baie St Catherine and Tadoussac boast a pretty vista of white weatherboard buildings dotted with bright red rooves, and often seem disproportionately busy due to the main attraction of the whales. However, wander the streets and you will find charming little souvenir shops and friendly locals who seem thankfully non-plussed by all the fuss. Up the hill from the ferry landing in Baie St Catherine the Pointe Noire Observation Centre (open mid-June to early September) is a whale study post and features information about these marvellous creatures as well as an observation deck and telescope. In Tadoussac the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre is worth a visit, whilst various short walking trails offer some excellent viewpoints and spots from which to look for whales frolicking in the waves.

The Musee du Fjord in La Baie is a good place learn about the colonisation and industrial development of the area, and of course the fascinating ecology of the fjord, with a giant saltwater aquarium and a vivarium bringing it all quite literally to life. Additionally, the Village Historique de Val Jalbert in Chambord is a reconstructed 1920s company town, providing an insight in to the life of workers during the paper mill heyday.

Please note that there is a free roll-on / roll-off ferry between Baie St Catherine and Tadoussac. It runs continuously between the two, making departures roughly every 15 minutes, and no pre-booking is required.

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