50. Île d’Orléans, Québec, Canada

Overview:
Île d’Orléans may be just a stone’s throw from Québec City, but it feels a world apart. A rural island in the St. Lawrence River, it’s dominated by agriculture and has a relaxed, old-world feel. Expect to hear even less English than in QC.

How I got there:
Drove. You can get from downtown QC across the bridge in less than 20 minutes.

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What I did:
There’s a road that loops around the island, and there are certain places where you can cut across the middle. We went for the circular route, and as soon as we crossed over the bridge, we made a left, following the advice of some of our fellow guests at Le Gîte du Hu-Art.

There were a number of farms and places to pick fruit along the way, and we stopped to check out a few of them and take photos.

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(The gourds and cornfields made me super excited for fall, but it was boiling hot at the time. This was to be a recurring event throughout September and October.)

The rest of what we did was pretty food-oriented (like…even more so than farms and orchards), so I’ll save that for the next section…

Where I ate/drank:
About halfway through our trip, we stopped at Microbrasserie de l’Île d’Orleans, which has lots of outdoor seating that looks out onto the St. Lawrence. The beers were also really, really good; there wasn’t a bad one in our flight. I was definitely both surprised and impressed.

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Later, we made another stop, this time at Les Fromages de l’isle d’Orléans (a cheese place, for you non-French speakers). There, we tried free samples of Le Paillasson; it’s a semi-firm cheese that’s eaten hot after being fried on a raclette grill.

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Last stop: Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orléans. The ice cream line was pretty insane, but we waited it out. You could pick hard shell toppings! Like at Dairy Queen, if Dairy Queen were way better.

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What I missed:
There are other ways to see the island and its 6 regions; its tourism website offers different routes focused on history and culture, religious heritage, and more.

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