By DOUG ENGLISH, Special to QMI Agency
A major tourism project has been completed in Charlevoix, a region of considerable charm and beauty on Quebec's north shore that should be on more travellers' radar.
Cirque de Soleil co-founder Daniel Gauthier, the man financing the development, began by transforming Le Massif, a ski area, into an all-seasons resort.
The last element, Hotel La Ferme, opened this summer in nearby Baie-St-Paul, with guest rooms, a farmers' market and its own railway station.
Then there's Le Train, created to bring sightseers and potential guests in from Quebec City, 85 kilometres to the west.
It offers several options, depending on the season. Right now, passengers can do a round trip between Quebec City and Baie-St-Paul, extend the journey east to La Malbaie, or include an overnight stay at La Ferme. Four short tours also are available from Baie-St-Paul. (Visit www.lemassif.com/en/train or phone 1-877-536-2774).
It's 140 km by rail from Quebec City to La Malbaie, and 85 of them are along the St. Lawrence River. En route, Le Train passes Montmorency Falls, Ile d'Orleans, Cap Tourmente Wildlife Reserve, Petite-Riviere- Saint-François, Baie-Saint-Paul, Isle-aux-Coudres, Saint-Joseph-de- la-Rive, and Saint-Irenee.
GPS locators in the refurbished rail cars activate a multimedia presentation of the region's history, culture and attractions, and gourmet food is promised.
Charlevoix is rich in all those. Landscape painters have long been inspired by its scenery, foodies by its veal, cheese, and foie gras.
When my wife and I stayed there during a driving trip several years ago, the woman running our bed and breakfast near La Malbaie said Charlevoix was a favourite getaway for couples from Quebec City and Montreal.
We had fun trotting out high-school French and were impressed by the food, the people, the hospitality, and the number of things to see and do. A six-night stay wasn't nearly long enough.
More travel news
* Scenic Cruises' 2013 Europe River Cruise brochure introduces all-inclusive pricing, new excursion programs and an exclusive GPS guided tour system called Scenic Tailormade. In June, the tour operator also launched the Scenic Tsar for travel on Russian rivers. Visit www.scenictours.com
* AmaWaterways will have two new itineraries for France in 2013, the nine-night Paris and Normandy and the 19-night Jewels of France. Visit www.amawaterways.com
* Uniworld will offer river cruising in Italy, along the Po River and in the Venice Lagoon, next year. In Asia, Uniworld will operate three new ships, Century Legend and Century Paragon on the Yangtze, in China, and River Orchid on the Mekong, in Vietnam. Visit uniworld.com
Hurtigruten's 2013/14 Explorer Voyager brochure details three new voyages and additional departure dates for its Spitsbergen and transatlantic routes. The company is best known for trips along Norway's coast but it also visits other parts of Europe, plus Greenland and Antarctica. Visit www.hurtigruten.com
* An eight-day Mississippi River cruise from New Orleans to Memphis on the paddle-wheel steamboat The American Queen is one of the new trips in Insight Vacations' 2013/14 U.S.A. and Canada brochure. Visit www.insightvacations.com
* Backpacker accommodation has come to remote Churchill, Man., home of beluga whales and polar bears. Tundra House Hostel accommodates up to 16 people in five bedrooms. Facilities include a shared kitchen, two full baths, a common living area with cable TV and wireless Internet, and on-site laundry facilities. Tundra House is open from December to September. Phone 1-800-265- 8563 or e-mail email@example.com
* Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Tam and Yves Saint Laurent are some of the fashion giants whose work is associated with BIG, an exhibition opening Nov. 3 at the Royal Ontario Museum's Patricia Harris Gallery of Costume and Textiles. Forty objects have been chosen for the show from ROM's collection of 50,000 textiles and costumes. Visit www.rom.on.ca/exhibitions/wculture/textiles.php
This story was posted on Wed, December 26, 2012
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