THE INLAND SEA
“Lac Saint-Jean is a true paradise, it is the most successful inground pool,” laughs the Quebec music group Ouanani, from the region, in one of its songs. With an area twice as large as the island of Montreal and a maximum depth of 63 meters, Lac Saint-Jean is a real inland sea, a boating paradise on the northern border.
Mashteuiatsh, Métabetchouan, Péribonka, these indigenous names of towns and villages sound like a sweet lullaby in the ears of visitors to the Lac Saint-Jean region.. Fertile land abundant in natural resources, this territory was long defended by the Amerindians who created the myth of a sacred kingdom in order to preserve it from any European colonization. This term is now an integral part of the history of the region that is often nicknamed the Kingdom of the North.
Water, like nowhere else in Quebec, is the real common thread in the history of the Lac Saint-Jean region. Several museums and interpretation sites offer their visitors a trip back in time to better understand the landscapes, economy and character of the region today. The historic village of Val-Jalbert is a fine example of time travel, to the heyday of its famous pulp mill.
In the 1920s, this village was called “Ouiatchouan”, named after the waterfall that fed the mill to make wood pulp. Visitors are invited to roam the beautifully reconstructed streets of this open-air museum and listen to the old-fashioned characters tell their best anecdotes. We learn that, 25 years before the rest of Quebec, the inhabitants of Val Jalbert enjoyed the luxury of electricity and running water thanks to the energy drawn from the powerful Ouiatchouan waterfall, observable in all its splendor for two Spectacular gazebos with a glass platform!
The L’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs theme park also contributes to growing our fascination with water and its importance in the life of the region. Lively and interactive, its exhibitions present, for example, the great moments of the construction of the Isle-Maligne hydroelectric power station. The adjacent park also offers hiking trails leading to breathtaking views of the dam as well as the city of Alma.
IN THE LAND OF BLUEBERRY
If there is a region that admirably combines sports and agri-tourism activities, that of Lac Saint-Jean is to be honored. It has taken advantage of the cycling potential of its smooth, gently rolling land to combine it with the star of berries in Quebec: blueberries . The result is a superb 256 km asphalt Véloroute bordering the lake with a gourmet theme that appeals to young and old alike.
Accessible to both seasoned cyclists and bicycle novices, the cycle path offers privileged points of view that no motorist can access from the road. In 3 to 6 days depending on the speed of the family peloton, the complete tour of the lake is spread out according to the gourmet or cultural stages. It is offered in the fifteen municipalities that the Véloroute crosses .
A large number of packages are also available to cyclists with bike rental, luggage transport or accommodation at the foot of the lake. We will take advantage of one or two days of rest to treat ourselves to a cruise on a sailboat on the lake, a game of golf at sunset or a visit to the farm with family self-picking of the small blueberries so tasty from Lake Saint -Jeans!