Tourisme Bas-Saint-Laurent

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A High Tide of Highlights for Our Outdoorsy Getaways

Yvan Martineau cycliste


Yvan Martineau, a seasoned cyclist who explores the Lower St. Lawrence to reveal his favorite spots.

Some subjects are up for debate, while others evoke rare unanimity. The Bas-Saint-Laurent region is one of the latter: everyone agrees that such splendid landscapes and charming natural and touristic attractions make for the perfect getaway destination. My latest visit to the area—Rimouski, Le Bic, and Parc national du Bic—gave way once again to a high tide of impressive highlights.

Yvan Martineau has had a career in the French-language media in Quebec and Canada. He is also a passionate and dynamic speaker, a spokesperson for cycling events, and a TV host for several sports programs broadcast on the major networks. But above all, he is an experienced cyclist who has criss-crossed the four corners of the globe on two wheels. He was in the Rimouski area in May 2023 and tells us about his cycling trip with his cycling friends.

My first highlight was the discovery of a bicycle path I had not yet explored. Then, a whimsical hike in the Bic’s Sépaq, followed by an enchanting stay at an inn nestled in an authentic local heritage house. Finally, a nice pit stop on the way back. And as if that weren’t enough, a steady amount of good weather and sunshine!

Sofie Lacoste Photographie

Let’s start with our day on two wheels…

“Out of the blue on Saturday, we made quite a discovery: the Rimouski cycling circuit and its stunning surroundings stretching over kilometres of coastline along the Saint Lawrence River which turns estuary at that latitude. A real gem of a find!” This is what I wrote on my social media pages and excitingly expressed on the radio once I got back home.

From our inn, Auberge des îles du Bic in Le Bic village, my partner, four of our friends, and I pedalled 11 km before reaching the street du Rocher Blanc which marks the beginning of the Raymond-Sirois circuit which would later become the Charles-Albert circuit. About five minutes in, the Saint Lawrence puts on a show that will continue on as we cross the town of Rimouski. We keep going until Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer, the town at the 35 km mark of our journey.

Notice the choice of words? It’s a journey, not a race! Because our mythical River (which Europeans have fallen in love with), its shimmering waves, and its distinctive fragrant breeze deserve to be enjoyed fully. No better place and no better time to lean into the wonders of contemplation.

On the way, we passed the marina where ferries to and from Forestville, Sept-Îles, and Port-Menier depart and return. Close by, the Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse National Historic Site stands strong with its Empress of Ireland Museum that lets visitors hop on the famous submarine that tragically sunk off the coast of Rimouski in May 1914.

It’s in Sainte-Luce-sur-Mer that our second delicious highlight was awaiting: Bistro des Ancrés. This quaint local restaurant located right next to the Sainte-Luce church and set up in the renovated old bedeau (beadle) house gives direct access to the beach. So, what about our meals? A symphony of flavours! I ordered a beautiful, scrumptious seafood pizza that satisfied my ravenous appetite.

SHMP bord de fleuve @PNP

Soon, it was time to hop back on our saddle and turn around by getting back on our round-trip itinerary.

In the end, my Garmin GPS showed a total of 70 km and 350 m drop. And over a hundred times over during our journey, I’ve told myself that this was one for the books!

Parc national du Bic

The day before our bike ride, my partner and I met our friends at the Parc national du Bic’s camping— another gem right by the River. This popular national park is renowned for its points, bays, coves, and mountain islands, but its absolutely magical sunsets have made it a truly unmissable stop in the area.

In this Sépaq destination, we decided to swap our bikes for our walking shoes and embarked on the Le Grand Tour hike. Watch out, we’re getting off the beaten track! In fact, this adventurous itinerary is only accessible at low tide. Rated “difficult,” this 8.7-km trail of about 3 hours required that we grabbed on to things and gave each other a few pushes along the way to overcome obstacles—we came close to rock-climbing.

Parc national du Bic, RimouskiSofie Lacoste Photographie

But time and time again, as we went up and down, we were welcomed by natural belvederes that allowed us to peak at the majesty of the River, the Bic islands, and even a few seals. This steep coastal path also gives access to striking cliffs and beaches. Postcard views, to say the least! And to top off this celebration of the Bas-Saint-Laurent great outdoors, we noticed a mamma fox and her babies were following us for a short stretch.

Parc national du Bic, RimouskiSofie Lacoste Photographie

Auberge des îles du Bic

While her friends decided to camp, we opted for a stay at the lovely inn Auberge des îles du Bic, which quickly made our list of local highlights.

This historical house located in the Le Bic village was restored by devoted owners who respected the patrimonial nature as well as the original architecture and interior design of the building. Immediately, we were hit with a wave of long-lost memories from our grandparents’ homes. “Oh, mine had a commode just like this one!” “Mine had the exact same stove!” “Check out this antique!”

The incredible kindness of our hosts as well as their top-notch breakfast cooking skills (copious, delicious, and full of local produce) made this charming stay a truly unique experience.

In short, as you probably already guessed it, our getaway was an all-around success. We’ll definitely have to come back to the Bas-Saint-Laurent area to add more highlights to our list!

Sofie Lacoste Photographie

Getting around

Cycling in the Bas-St-Laurent area and in Rimouski : 

Tourisme Rimouski : and 

It would be wonderful if the cycling path could one day start directly in Parc national du Bic. It’s currently possible to start the itinerary in the Sépaq section of the park, but one has to pedal a little while along the main 132 Route before merging into the official cycling path from du Rocher Blanc Street : 

Auberge des îles du Bic :