Notre-Dame-du-Portage was strategically located at the north end of the great canoe carying trail between the St. Lawrence River, Acadia and the Maritime provinces. Natives, missionaries, coureurs de bois all travelled across Notre-Dame-du-Portage. The last stop on a long and arduous journey, the village has evolved into the place of rest and the exclusive resort it is today. At the edge of the St. Lawrence estuary, the village is huddled between marine docks and a beach.
The scent of salt water and algae is unmistakable in Notre-Dame-du-Portage. Across the great river, the Laurentian capes of Charlevoix are profiled in blue tones, behind the Rivière-du-Loup ferry and the Île aux Lièvres (Hare island). To the east of the island, the Saguenay fjord spreads out onto the horizon.
The 1859 church, presbytery, and cemetery lie at the water's edge, surrounded by several buildings and waterfront inns-the 1859 Victorian-style Auberge du Portage, which features an ocean-water pool. You can go smelt fishing on the town dock, swimming in the warm salty municipal pool, or whale watching with binoculars from shore.
From Montreal, Quebec city or Rimouski, take scenic highway 132 to the village or take exit 496 or 499 from the highway Jean Lesage #20 (the Trans-Canada Highway).