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The Côte de Beaupré:
French colonization cradle
and birth of New-France
View of the Côte-de-Beaupré from the Island of Orléans
"Côte-de-Beaupré" was populated from the beginning of the colonization in 1623 due to the extremely fertile soil. Samuel de Champlain (Quebec city's founding father) built the first farm, later destroyed during the British conquest. By 1650, the municipality already counted some 700 inhabitants, while Quebec city had only 500...
The architecture reflects the styles of the people who successively conquered the land. The oldest homes have a Normand style. The Côte-de-Beaupré is therefore an important historical place; amust see. Visitors will be spellbound by the charm of the past discovering many attractions on the site namely: old ancestral homes, vegetable vaults, traditional exterior bread ovens and finally the famous sugar shacks (where maple syrup is made).
By following the tourist circuit itinerary as proposed by the MRC (avalaible at the tourist offices of Quebec and Beaupre), visitors will be assured not to miss any of the best sightseeing locations for the rustic landscapes and ancient houses.
While following the St-Lawrence coast from west to east, on Royale avenue or Ste-Anne blvd, the suggested course stages are:
Beauport ---} Boischatel ---} Chute-Montmorency ---} L'Ange-gardien ---} Rivière-du-Petit-Pré ---} Moulin-du-Petit- Pré ---} Château-Richer ---} Rivière-du-Saut-de-la-Puce ---} Rivière-aux-Chiens ---} Côte-Saint-Anne ---} Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and his basilica ---} Beaupré ---} Guet des Bandits ---} Saint-Joachim ---} Ruisseau-Blondelle ---} Petit-Cap and Pointe-aux-Prêtres ---} Rivière-de-la-Friponne ---} Petite-Ferme ---} Cap-Tourmente, and finally the national wildlife reserve.
The first French colonists settled in 1657. Their former houses have been preserved like those of the Vézina's and the Garneau's, to the greatest pleasure of the lovers of ancient architecture. With the Lauréat Vézina home first appeared metal roofing with a prolongation to cover the front porch. The windows were symetrically aligned, the door remaining in the center.
Once washed, the carpets were stretched on the porch's balustrade to be dried, until one day a rich American tourist saw them and bought one for what was at time an huge amount of money. With the news travelling rapidly through the countryside, people everywhere in their rural homes began making famous handcrafted carpets destined for the Americans.
Here in Boischatel, the natural environment had to the greatest influence on soil utilization, the layout of buildings on the territory and the location of certain industries. In fact, that's what gives this municipality all its charm. As for the architectural heritage, it is comprised mainly of some fifty homes built around 1850.
Samuel de Champlain gave the name Montmorency to the falls, in honor of Charles de Montmorency, vice-king of New-France. An important part in the national history of Quebec unfolded here.
As part of a plan of attack to take possession of Quebec city, general Wolfe posted some of his troups next to the falls. But, from the cliff's elevation, the French general Montcalm watched. The latter, with the help of troups stationned in Beauport, pushed away the enemy during a first battle. Unfortunately, some months later, Quebec fell to the English (Battle of the plains of Abraham).
The falls: A hute water mass rushing down from a height of 83 meters (one and a half times higher than Niagara Falls!!!). In winter, an ice column of conical form cristallizes itself at the fall's feet. The people here call it «The sugar loaf».
It's only upon reaching Montmorency Park(at the top of the falls) that one can admire all the serenity of the St-Lawrence River and the savage beauty of the Island of Orleans.
Photo from the walking bridge of the Fall
In the past, the parish's topography served both agriculture needs with its hillsides, and the era's industries with its many vigourous rivers. As if to facilitate the first settler's lives, nature garnished this territory with natural barriers, parallel to the St-Lawrence river. The rivers are canalized from north to south for the forestry sector, and from south to north for the hillside sector.
The agricultural nature of the parish is obvious from the large number of homes and farms all along the "Chemin du Roy". Some of these stone houses were built two centuries ago. They are typical of ancient French architecture. The Coté, Paré, Gagnon, Mathieu, Ratté, Gariépy and Laberge homes represent the heart of the architectural heritage in question. Ancestral industry, based on wood and wheat, left its mark with the barrier on the lake, and traces of two dams along the Lotinville River.
This parish is bordered to the west by the Lotinville or "Petit-Pré" River and to the east by The Dogs River. The Sault-à-la-puce River offers a spectacle comprised of falls, canyons, pools, bassins, all garnished with an aboundance of flowers.
The origin of the name Château-Richer seems to have been lost in ancestral
legends, however historians think that this nomenclature began at the
start of French colonization. Regardless, Château-Richer was one of the first
organized parishes after Quebec and Montreal.
There are more than two hundred old homes, some being more than three hundred years old. These offer clues as to the lifestyles of the first French colonist to settle in Quebec.
Among the tourist attractions of Château-Richer are also:
If the historical character of this locality, associated with religious tourism, make Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré an internationally recognized location, the beauty of its landscapes renders it just as picturesque. By going up Cote Saint-Anne, overlooking the St-Lawrence River by approximately 100 meters, you get a breathtaking view on the Island of Orleans, Quebec City, the grand opening of the St-Lawrence river at the East end of the island, and on the low lands of the St-Lawrence at the feet of the famous Cap Tourmente. Custom would have it in certain areas, particularly on the wharf, that the cape can be compared to a beaver coming out of the St-Lawrence.
View from the shore of the Motel Bellevue
The municipality of Beaupré was founded in 1928 combinint part of the territories of Saint-Joachim and Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Since obtaining city statur in 1962, Beaupré has not stopped growing.
A frequent winner of the Cities and Towns in Flower competition, the City of Beaupré, with its exceptional natural setting at the foot of the fabulous Mont Sainte-Anne along the St. Lawrence River, is a modern, diversified city that offers both residents and industry all the conveniences and services of a large urban centre.
With its parks and green spaces that stretch as far as the eye can see, the unique Canyon Ste-Anne with his three suspended bridges, along with its inns, hotel complexes, conference centre and renowned restaurants, Beaupré welcomes you!
Taking inspiration from nature and drawing on local expertise, Beaupré's citizens have built a flourishing tourist industry centered on Mont Sainte-Anne, an exceptional resort that attracts tousands of visitors each year. During the winter season, Mont Sainte-Anne offers skiers of every caliber breathtaking cross-country ski, alpine skiing and snow boardint trails. In summer, it transforms into a delightful haven for golfers, cyclists, and hikers.
The mont Sainte-Anne
In this municipality, the last on the official circuit, you can visit an old mill and walk along a pedestrian walkway that runs alongside the Jean Larose River to the Racine bridge. Also, as in neighboring communities, the ancestral homes offer clues to a rich past carved out of the sweat and bloud of french settlers, and the courage of those men and women that were able to adapt to difficult living conditions.
View of the Mont Sainte-Anne Saint-Ferréol-Les-Neiges
The tourist attractions of those cities are not limited only to the Basilique with its cross way and its Cyclorama on Jerusalem or even Mont Saint-Anne (ski resort). All along Royale Avenue, you can visit:
Finally, on the return way, along Saint-Anne boulevard, you can admire two art expositions and a museum. The first exposition has for theme the maple leaf, as well as antiquities.
Saint-Joachim, located nest to Cap-Tourmente and its "Snow Goose sanctuary" (Cap Tourmente wildlife reserve) was the first colonization site on the east end of Cote-de-Beaupre. Champlain ordered construction, as of 1626, of houses and barns destined for an agropastoral production to feed the population of Quebec city.
Entering at Saint-Joachim from the Grande-Rivière sector, the ingenuity in the choice of locations for the homes of the first settlers is immediately apparent, located as a fonction of the high winds, of the tides and the difficult water supply, all climatic conditions typical of the Cap Tourmente region.
By its geographical situation, Saint-Tite, with an altitude of 1640 feets (500 meters), begins or ends Cote-de-Beaupre. One must climb the hills to see it in the valley below. The mountains (The Laurentiens) protect her from all sides and the parish stretchs between theses Laurentian walls. Saint-Tite presents four distinct entities that are: the mountain offering a grand view (in a glance: vue on the St-Lawrence, Island of Orleans, Crane Island, the Cap, The Laurentiens), the village, the Lombrette River and small channels arranged as fish pools. A camp ground awaits visitors.
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