These 9 Little-Known Villages in Quebec Are Hidden Treasures Worth the Detour

Windows down, hair blowing in the wind, iced cap of Timmies and suitcases packed, it’s the season of road trip in Quebec!
The province is full of small towns with bucolic charm just waiting for you.

Of course, Percé in Gaspésie, Kamouraska in Bas-Saint-Laurent or Île d’Orléans in the National Capital are must-see places to discover at least once in a lifetime. It is not for nothing that crowds of tourists flock there year after year. However, other small villages that are rather unknown, or at least not found in the popular choices of an itinerary, are real hidden treasures that are absolutely worth the detour.

Whether it’s for their picturesque architecture that gives the impression of diving into Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, or even for their rural activities on the banks of the river, these municipalities have everything to make you live the dream this summer.

Fill up on gas and go stock up on memories!

Old Chelsea | Outaouais

Address: Old Chelsea, Outaouais, QC

Why you should go: Just minutes from Gatineau and Ottawa, the village of Old Chelsea will delight epicureans at heart. At the entrance to Gatineau Park, you can stop at one of its many terraces.

La Terrasse du Square, which welcomed its first customers this summer of 2024, is also a must-see with its unifying, festive, gourmet and family space in the heart of Square Old Chelsea.

Want to grab a latte and a pastry? Biscotti & Cie is the place to be. A cold beer to end the day? Head to the Chelsea Pub. A happy hour sipping an Aperol spritz? Mamma Teresa Ristorante is the place.

In short, you will not lack options to relax for a day in this municipality where it is good to be.

Website by Chelsea

Our Lady of the Portage | Lower St. Lawrence

Address: Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Bas-Saint-Laurent, QC

Why you should go: Located halfway between Rivière-du-Loup and Kamouraska, Notre-Dame-du-Portage has nothing to envy its neighbors. On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, this small municipality of just over 1,000 inhabitants will quickly seduce you with its charm and the sea breeze that provides a feeling of well-being.

For your stay, the Auberge sur Mer and the Auberge du Portage offer spectacular sunsets accompanied by the gentle sound of the tides. For foodies, the Pizzéria des Battures and the April Bistro, open in season, are must-sees. Also take advantage of your stay to take a sea excursion and explore the Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie islands.

Notre-Dame-du-Portage website

Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly | Chaudiere-Appalaches

Address: Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Chaudière-Appalaches, QC

Why you should go: In the MRC of Lotbinière, about thirty kilometers from the Quebec Bridge, is the village of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly where local products, farms and historic monuments are on the menu.

We stop there for La Maison Normand, a former general store transformed into a boutique lodge with a serene yellow facade that is worth a pose, for the Fleuraissance flower farm that offers self-picking with the river in the background, and for a most gourmet meal at the crêperie Du Côté de Chez Swann. Don’t forget to make a quick stop at the Fromagerie Bergeron to stock up on supplies for your next aperitif.

Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly website

Saint-Jovite (Mont-Tremblant) | Laurentians

Address: Saint-Jovite (Mont-Tremblant), Laurentians, QC

Why you should go: Yes, the village of Mont-Tremblant is one of the most famous in Quebec, but before you head to the mountain, a stop in Saint-Jovite is necessary. Now the city center of Tremblant, the main street buzzes with life in both summer and winter.

The ancestral homes now host cafes, restaurants, terraces and shops that make you want to spend the whole day there. Le Petit Hameau, a pedestrian shopping center, is like a village within a village. You’ll think you’re in a Christmas movie, but all year round, it’s so charming.

Mont-Tremblant website

Wakefield | Outaouais

Address: Wakefield, Outaouais, QC

Why you should go: A pretty municipality bordering the Gatineau River, Wakefield has gained popularity thanks to its covered bridge which attracts many tourists.

The Wakefield Mill, which has been transformed into a hotel and spa, has everything you need to pamper you for a weekend.

In the village, you have to enter La Confiserie Wakefield to smell the sweet and chocolatey smell that emanates from it. It is also in Wakefield that you will find the famous Eco-Odyssé Nature Park where a labyrinth on the water awaits you.

Site Web de Wakefield

Frelighsburg | Estrie

Address: Frelighsburg, Estrie, QC

Why you should go: Frelighsburg is known as one of the most beautiful villages in the province. Just over an hour from Montreal, right next to the American border in Vermont, this place will quickly become one of your favorites in Quebec. Here, farm products and a country atmosphere are the stars.

You can of course do some gourmet tourism there by stopping at the Passe-Montagne wine cellar, Les Cocagnes, the Au Coeur de la Pomme orchard or the Beat & Betterave microbrewery. To help you digest, you can venture onto the trails of Mount Pinacle or stroll through the city to admire its cultural heritage. The Freligh mill is sure to amaze you.

Site Web de Frelighsburg

Saint-Rose-du-Nord | Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

Address: Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Why you should go: A small tourist village with fewer than 500 residents, Ste-Rose-du-Nord stands out for its magnificent view of the Saguenay Fjord. Several inns and restaurants will help you discover the region’s renowned hospitality for a well-deserved break.

The 3 G snack bar and the Rose Café, located a few steps from the quay, are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the moment.

Sainte-Rose-du-Nord website

Saint-Henri-de-Taillon | Lac-Saint-Jean

Address: Saint-Henri-de-Taillon, Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Why you should go: Lac-Saint-Jean is a region that is full of places to discover and its reputation is well established. However, during your visit, you must take a trip to Saint-Henri-de-Taillon simply for its large white sand beach worthy of the American East Coast.

To get there, you can go to the Pointe-Taillon National Park, which offers many other activities such as cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding and others. Ready-to-camp accommodations are available for rent, but you can also choose to rent a cottage, outside the Sépaq park, on the shores of the lake and have access to the private beach.

In the village, a few restaurants and services will help you out, but we advise you to travel the few extra kilometers to stock up on necessities in Saint-Coeur-de-Marie.

Saint-Henri-de-Taillon website

Cap-Chat | Gaspésie

Address: Cap-Chat, Gaspésie, QC

Why you should go: On your next road trip In Gaspésie, don’t forget to stop at Cap-Chat, just a little east of Matane. On one side of the road, the beach at the rest area will allow you to take a dip in the sea that stretches as far as the eye can see, while on the other side, the peaks of the Chic-Chocs Mountains rise to several metres in altitude.

The Valmont chalets of all kinds of colors will amaze you for a night or two, but you can also choose to camp there in one of the Airstreams for rent. Imagine waking up and having your morning coffee with a view of the river!

Outdoor activities are available four seasons a year. In summer, boating on the river, hiking to see the Hélène Falls and strolls through the wind farm will certainly keep you busy during your stay.

Cap-Chat website

This article has been updated since its original publication.

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