Quebec City's Ile d'Orlean & Sainte Anne on the Trans-Canada Highway

Ile d'Orlean & Sainte Anne
Bureau D'accueil Touristique De L'île-D'orléans
490 côte du Pont, Saint-Pierre-de-L'Île-d'Orléans, Québec, Canada, G0A 4E0
(418) 828-9411 toll-free: (866) 941-9411 (Canada, USA)

Ile d'Orléans, only 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City, is an island in the St Lawerence 34 km length by 8 km wide with some great river views. In 1535, Jacques Cartier saw this green island and named it " island of Bacchus " for the wild vines growing there. The algonquin natives called the island " Windigo " which means " bewitched corner ", likely due to the presence of will-o'-the-wisps in the evening. Its final name, Island of Orleans, comes from the ocassion in 1536, when Jacques Cartier baptized it the island the honor of the Duke of Orleans, a relative of François I, the King de France.

The original colonists of the island came from Normandy and Poitou, and in the census of 1685 numbered 1,205 islanders with 917 heads of cattle. The island is the ancestral ground of 317 great Québécois families. Today, the Island of Orleans has 7,000 residents in 6 parishes connected to the mainland community of Beauport by one bridge, and to each other by one principal road, the Royal Way , which serves all the towns of the island. Before the current bridge was opened in 1935, residents had to travel across the water by boat and had to cross the dangerous ice in winter. The Taschereau Bridge was named in the honor of Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, then Prime Minister for Quebec and deputy of Montmorency; though today the official name is Pont of the Island of Orleans.

The Island is a historical treasure trove with more than 600 heritage buildings. Historical structures include the oldest church of News-France, some bakeries from the 1680s and 1800s, though the many flour mills, tanneries, shoe manufactures and saddleries on the island no longer exist. From 1908 to 1967 the Island built 300-400 ships a year, from the Island's timber.

Country roads to the Royal Way
Before the 1680s, the roads were small dirt tracks which ran house to house or towards the mill or the church. The Royal Way (today route #368) circled the island in 1744 with a 67 km panoramic view of the river, at a poit where it begins to widen dramatically.


Canyon Sainte-Anne
206, Route 138
Case postale 2087
Beaupré, QC G0A 1E0
(418) 827-4057, Fax: (418) 827-2492
A 243 ft notch was eroded into the 900 million year old glacier-scoured rock of the Canadian Shield by the Saint Anne River. Take an easily accessible footpath and cross on one of the 3 suspension bridges, the highest being 180 ft above the gorge. Admission: adult: $7.50; student: $3.45; 12 and under: $2.50; 5 and under: free. Taxes, parking and shuttle included.

Chocolaterie de l'Île d'Orléans
196, chemin Royal
Sainte-Pétronille, QC G0A 4C0
(418) 828-2250, Fax: (418) 828-2253
The Chocolaterie de l'Île d'Orléans makes high quality chocolate using ingredients imported from Belgium and France. Production is diversified and from November to May, the Chocolaterie acts as a wholesaler for food stores in the province, and in the summer, the Chocolaterie offers ice cream and home-made sherbets. The retail outlet is located in a 200-year-old ancestral house. Boutique hours: October to May from 9 am to 5 pm; June to October from 9 am to 9 pm.

Centre d'Interprétation de la Côte-de-Beaupré (Interpretive Centre)
7976, avenue Royale, C. P. 40
Château-Richer, QC G0A 1N0
(418) 824-3677, Fax: (418) 824-5907
The Centre d'interprétation de la Côte-de-Beaupré (CICB) is located in an old, fully renovated convent. Relive the early days of Côte-de-Beaupré with period-costumed interpreters, images, stories and notable figures of the Côte-de-Beaupré area. Discover the architecture, rich religious heritage and splendid natural sites of the Beaupré seigneury. The remains of a 1655 windmill, and the foundations of Beaupré's first two convents, built in 1694 and in 1830, may be viewed from two glassed-in observation areas. Admission fee.

Domaine de la source à Marguerite (pick-your-own fruit farm)
3788, chemin Royal
Sainte-Famille, QC G0A 3P0
(418) 952-6277, Fax: (418) 829-0830
Orchard with 4,000 apple trees growing34 varieties along the St. Lawrence River, with a breathtaking view of the Laurentian mountains. U-pick apples, picnic tables, family and country-style atmosphere. Or you can buy produce and products from an old-fashioned fruit stand, including hard ciders, ciders, apples, apple juice, berries, jams, maple syrup products. Groups welcome.

Forge à Pique Assaut - Économusée de la forge
2200, chemin Royal
Saint-Laurent-de-l'Île-d'Orléans, QC G0A 3Z0
(418) 828-9300, Fax: (418) 828-1186
See a selection of art works created by Guy Bel, using traditional blacksmithing techniques. The Interpretation Centre bears witness to this craft, now in danger of extinction.

Site patrimonial et historique Maison de nos Aïeux
3907, chemin Royal (Île d'Orléans)
Sainte-Famille, QC G0A 3P0
(418) 829-0330, Fax: (418) 829-0440
The Parc des Ancêtres de l'Île d'Orléans in Sainte-Famille commemorates the island's founding families. O The Maison de nos Aïeux (House of Our Ancestors), a century-old home that was once a prebystery, can be open to public. Open: June to mid-October daily; rest of the year Monday to Friday. Stop at nearby "Maison Drouin" (Drouin House at 4680 chemin Royal), which is the oldest home on the island, which has been conserved in its original form, and dates back to the French Regime. Free parking for cars and motorcoaches.

Maison Girardin
600, avenue Royale
C. P. 57033
Beauport, QC G1E 7G3
(418) 666-2199, Fax: (418) 667-8936
The Maison Girardin is the focal point of Beauport's historic district and this restored stone dwelling dates back to the 1680s and is managed by the Société d'Art et d'Histoire de Beauport. Permanent exhibit on the historical district of Beauport, its architectural heritage and Beauport's first families. Open year round Tues - Sun from 10 am to 5 pm. Guided tours. Reservation required for groups. Free admission.

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (Montmorency Falls Park)
2490, avenue Royale
Beauport, QC G1C 1S1
(418) 663-3330, Fax: (418) 663-1666
East of Québec, in a wonderful natural setting overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Île d'Orléans, the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency features an 83-metre (272 feet) high waterfalls, one-and-a-half time the height of Niagara Falls. You can ride the cablecar to the top of the falls, and walk the promenade to two bridges and scenic terrace. On the western cliff is the 1871 Manoir Montmorency, built originally as a private residence, but used later as a hospital, a monastery and a hotel. The former manor had some well-known visitors and residents including the Duke of Kent, the Queen of England's father, from 1791 to 1794. The present manor houses an interpretation centre, a restaurant and a terrace with a panoramic view, boutiques and reception rooms for up to 500 persons. On the east side of the falls a stairway takes you back to ground level and to your starting point. There is a summer theatre (La Dame Blanche) near the Manoir. There is a summer theatre (La Dame Blanche) near the Manoir, and in the wintertime, at the foot of the falls, observe a strange natural phenomenon called "sugar loaf" by locals (made famous by a Conelius Krieghoff painting.)

Village of Sainte-Pétronille
Ranked one of the most beautiful villages in Quebec, Sainte-Pétronille was once known as Bout-de-l'Île (the island tip) and is the site of the island's first settlement "Beaulieu" in 1648. It was later home for the Hurons before they emigrated to Loretteville, and then General Wolfe who set up camp up here during the English siege of Quebec City in 1759 before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Facing Quebec City and Levis, Sainte-Pétronille attracted many upper class Quebecers as a vacationing spot and the Victorian hotel called La Goëliche was built on the water's edge, close to the ferry docks. With its white wooden houses, Sainte-Pétronille always contrasts with the green leaves of summer and the red and golden colours of autumn (September 15 - October 15). With the arrival of the winter season, admire the holiday lights and decorations, and listen as the ice crackles with the coming and going of the tides.

Coming from Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) take highway Dufferin-Montmorency (440) to reach the island. Coming from Montreal or the southern banks, take highway 40 east (sometimes called Boulevard de la Capitale)towards Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, onto the Île d'Orléans bridge over the river, and just after entering the island, turn right at the traffic lights at the top of the hill. Park at the community centre close to City Hall (corner of Rue de l'Église), and tour the village on foot. Follow the interpretation walking tour signs.

Community Map

Blue = Trans-Canada Route| Green = bicycle friendly scenic route | red = downtown detour from TCH