Escape from Home – Quebec

Quebec influencer Jeanne Rondeau-Ducharme escaped from her city home in Quebec to take an adventure to Indigenous gems in her province. Travel with her as she delights in Indigenous cuisine, learns about the Wendat Peoples, takes part in interactive workshops and gets up close and personal with some marine beauties.

First Stop: Wendake

My trip kicked off with dinner at the Sagamité restaurant in the heart of Old Québec. La potence (yatista) came highly recommended — it’s a typical Indigenous dish reminiscent of fire. Three game meats (deer, elk and bison) are cooked around a heated metal cylinder, then drizzled with brandy just before serving. This sizzling and spectacular treat was quite the show that caught the eye of every neighbouring table. And the flavours? Exquisite. The entire experience was a fascinating culinary exploration of Indigenous cuisine.

After dinner, I headed for the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations, inspired by Indigenous architecture and art, where I spent the next two nights.

Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations

The next morning, I went to the Huron traditional site where I joined Luc for a guided tour. He provided insight into the history of the Wendat community. Just a few steps inside the longhouse, I recalled visiting the place on a school trip when I was younger. It has changed a lot since then and this visit refreshed my memory on the culture of the Huron-Wendat community. Luc was an excellent guide who took extra time to answer all of my many questions!

I sat down for a while on the patio of the Nek8arre restaurant to enjoy a traditional meal: root vegetable soup and bannock bread. In the afternoon, I returned to the hotel to visit its onsite museum and longhouse where I learned about the various nations in the community, and some amazing historical facts.

Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations

Later, I met with Isabelle, the storyteller, for a talking stick making workshop. As the name implies, the talking stick allows the person holding it to voice his or her opinion in a group without an accusatory tone. It’s a way to prompt better listening and open conversation.

After an amazing culinary experience from start to finish at the La Traite restaurant, I walked over to the longhouse for a unique Myths and Legends night with Isabelle, who I had met earlier at the talking stick workshop. I stepped into a mystical atmosphere around a blazing fire and sat, captivated, for an hour of fascinating tales and stories. It was undoubtedly one of my favourite activities that day in Wendake.

Next Stop: Essipit

Pourvoirie des Lacs à Jimmy

It was pouring rain when I reached Essipit after a three-hour drive. I was undeterred as I knew that the trip would be full of adventures and wildlife viewing opportunities!

As soon as I got out of the ferry, I headed for the Pourvoirie des Lacs à Jimmy. Before my bear watching tour, I headed to Poissonnerie des Escoumins, an eatery run by the Essipit community. I had already been there a few years ago and yet again, I left satisfied. It’s a must if you are in the region!

A little later, I joined my guide for the bear watching tour. He invited me aboard his quad and together with other participants, we moved in a procession-like manner towards the bear observation site a few kilometres from the chalets. A female bear was already waiting for us when we arrived there. A few barrels of fish offal and cakes later, other mama bears and their babies quietly showed up. It was an incredible experience to see bears in their natural habitat from a safe distance.

The next morning, I had some free time and I took the opportunity to visit Manakashun, a traditional Innu site in Escoumins with authentic teepees facing the river. The place is simply breathtaking!

Croisière Essipit

In the early afternoon, I did a whale watching activity on a zodiac with Croisière Essipit. After putting on overalls and flotation jackets, we headed out to sea to meet the most majestic (and massive) marine mammals in Quebec. The sun was out and it was a magnificent day! We saw a fin whale, a humpback whale and a few porpoises in the distance! WOW!

Croisière Essipit

I then went to Mer et monde, located a few kilometres away, for a night of camping at a unique Quebec location. I had been camping there before, and this trip once again brought back the beauty of the place! It’s one of my favourite spots in Quebec thanks to its sea kayaking activities and cozy camping sites.

I accompanied my guide David in a sea kayak at sunset, and from the get-go I knew it would be a memorable evening. For about two hours, we paddled alongside a humpback whale (while keeping the regulatory and safe distance from the mammal). The attention-seeking whale offered quite a show along the coast by Mer et monde. In the distance, we could hear people shouting with joy at each blow and dance of the whale. The sea kayaking trip was definitely an all-time favourite for me thanks to the sense of calm I felt, the connection with nature, and the close proximity to the marine life that swam alongside us.

Croisière Essipit

I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, and my experiences exceeded my expectations. There was so much to do: recreational activities, sightseeing, and Essipit’s awe-inspiring landscapes. What made this trip especially unique and meaningful was that I was able to learn more about the Indigenous culture and traditions that have shaped our history.

To get help with your planning your escape, you can also contact our travel agency partner, Indigeno Travel:

1-888-202-8262

Info@IndigenoTravel.com

Jeanne RD

Jeanne Rondeau-Ducharme has a passion for travel and photography. She shares her discoveries, love of the outdoors and adventures around Québec and beyond on her Instagram account @jeannemap. She's excited to have her dream job working with businesses and tourist associations, in and outside of Québec, to promote her favourite spots.