Monday, September 15, 2014

Road Trip along Quebec’s North Shore: Tadoussac

Saguenay Fjords
Photo by Kate Tompkins
We spent a couple of nights in Tadoussac so we could take a five hour boat cruise up the Saguenay Fjords. Of course, that's really two hours up, two hours back, and a stopover for lunch. It was scenic but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with kids--the ones that were on the boat were bored silly. The number one industry in Tadoussac seems to be whale watching cruises, but we didn’t have time to do that as well as the fjord cruise, and it was still fairly early in the season for the best whale watching.

Whale watchers must have lots of money because eating in Tadoussac was expensive. At least, I consider $9 for a slice of pizza, or $12 and up for a burger expensive. It was a very good burger, mind you. Possibly there are some fast food chains in the area, but we didn’t see any.

Hiking at Tadoussac
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If you’re not into whale watching, there is the beach, though it’s a small one. There are also some short, not too strenuous (though they do involve stairs) hiking trails with good views. I gather that kayaking and cycling are also available.

We did splurge a bit on accommodation, staying at the Hotel Tadoussac, which is right on the beach. It’s a hotel in the grand old style, with the current building dating back to, if I remember correctly, 1945, back when steamships full of tourists used to pull up to the docks. Now the tourists arrive by bus and car, making the narrow streets a bit of an obstacle course.

Hotel Tadoussac
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The front lawn of the hotel is lovely, built on a grassy slope overlooking the water, with chairs to sit in. It would be even better if they were serving afternoon tea, or had a beverage service. The building is lovely, too, especially the lobby, which is huge, and has lots of comfy chairs and tables that people actually use for conversations and relaxing—one had a large jigsaw puzzle set out on it. The doors were open most of the time so the “sea” breeze could blow through, keeping things nice and cool.

Unfortunately, our room was at the back of the hotel, facing onto a sheltered area, and while we kept our window open, there was no breeze to be had. There was also no air conditioning, although we did have a ceiling fan, which helped. Somewhat. I wouldn’t have cared to be there when it was actually hot out, however. So if you decided to stay, try to get a room on the river side.

The hotel does have various packages, including deals on cruises, meals, etc. We opted to have breakfast there, and at $10 per person for a hot and cold buffet, it was probably the best deal in town. The Coverdale dining room wasn’t a bad deal for dinner, either. For $10 more than a burger cost elsewhere, I could have a really nice steak.

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