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Quebec tour in late September/ early october

We are a couple in our 50s from the UK, planning to fly in to Montreal for a two week tour of Quebec, hoping to do some leaf peeping late Sept/early October. We like history, sightseeing, hiking, possibly a little gentle canoeing, and aviation history. We think that we would want to spend three whole days in each of Montreal and Quebec City, and would hire a car after seeing Montreal.

We would like to take a look at the Saguenay fjord, probably by a cruise from Tadoussac, and a hike from ? Not bothered about whale watching from a boat, but happy to look from suitable land viewpoints.

It has been suggested that we go up to St Annes de Mont and stay there for a few nights to allow for hiking in the area. Is this a good use of time in Gaspesie? We don't really want to drive around the whole peninsula as it looks like that would take a long time. Or would be better off spending time in Charlevoix (was thinking of going up Le Massif by cable car to see the leaf colours from there)and /or the Eastern Townships - how about the Route des Sommets?

Posted by
3943 posts

The fall foliage does not follow a schedule, instead depending on the whims of the season to time the colourful die-off. Quebec is vast so local conditions vary.
A quick Internet search will turn up tourism sites that follow the trends of the season. Here is one sample, based on last year and of course not working now. https://www.quebecoriginal.com/en-ca/discover/seasons-in-quebec/fall
There are others, usually including information on many activities and attractions. Tourism is a major Quebec industry, so there are lots of websites, official and commercial, waiting for you to click on and read.

Posted by
8 posts

I have looked at websites until my eyes ache! The problem with that is, they all claim that everywhere is fantastic. How do we choose?I was asking for advice on how to spend our remaining time having spent six of the fourteen days available in the cities. Are we better driving right around the peninsula, or is visiting the National park and hiking from St Anne des Montes better use of our time? If we try to do Charlevoix and the Eastern townships a swell as Tadoussac is this too much? If it is, what do we leave out?

Posted by
1172 posts

Most years, you would see some nice fall colours by early October.

In order to cut down on some driving, I would consider adding Mont Tremblant to your itinerary as opposed to driving all the way to Gaspesie. I would then also consider the Eastern Townships. Both will offer great outdoor options.

Posted by
8293 posts

Two great ideas from Sharon (above). Mont Tremblant up north in the Laurentian Mountains is picturesque and the drive up there from Montreal would allow you to stop off at any of the small Laurentian villages along the way. The Eastern Townships, south of Montreal, is a pretty area, lots of towns, lakes, mountains ...... you could stop off at any one of the towns and have a fun afternoon. Many affluent Montrealers have second homes down there so good restaurants abound.

Posted by
4418 posts

I know that you have researched forever, but I liked this article
https://www.tripsavvy.com/quebec-fall-foliage-report-2392585
I have spent time between Ottawa and Mont Tremblant a number of years between 3rd week September and 3rd week October. The colours can be fabulous as October progresses....infact it is a very busy time with tourists from Asia coming for 'leaf peeper' season. I mention this as rooming may become limited and expensive during this time. The beauty of the area is that the gondola runs from the Village and the coloured vistas are great.
If you decide to go, Scandinave Spa is a little out of the Village. You can get a pass for the saunas, hot and cold tubs and it includes a cold dip into the river. I like to go about 4:30 - 5pm and the place is almost empty. There is a roaring fire and Adirondak chairs and even with rain falling, it is so warm and relaxing. I think it is a great affordable splurge.
The Gardens of Light mentioned in the article above are lovely *but very crowded'. Attend with a sense of patience. The Botanical Gardens are a great place to visit and it also has a vast arboretum that might add to your colour viewing. Their bonsai collection is also amazing (to me).
This article mentions Montreal is often late for leaf change. The higher in altitude the better, as the temperatures are lower than the city.
I don't know about Gaspe Peninsula, as I haven't really visited that area. I believe it is higher than Mont Tremblant, but Tremblant also has hiking and is at least relatively closer to Montreal and Saguenay.
May I suggest also asking on a more destination specific forum, like TripAdvisor?
I will admit that some Thanksgivings ( usually the second Monday in October in Canada) I have been in short sleeve shirt with all trees green except the occasional Maple.
When I get home, I could review some of my Tremblant photos for dates and amount of colour.
(and yes, I will agree, that all this area may be beautiful for your dates - you can't see it all, but it also means that whatever you decide, you shouldn't be disappointed)

Posted by
8 posts

Many thanks to Sharon, Norma and Maria. Lots of helpful information, putting it to good use now!

We were told on another forum that the the trails in Gaspesie start to close at the end of September, so we gave up on that idea. We decided to put Montreal at the end of our trip, rather than the beginning, as we thought that the Thanksgiving weekend might mean attractions elsewhere were starting to close down. Looks like this may be good for the leaf peeping too, according to TripSavvy.

The plan is now to go straight to to La Mauricie and Shawinigan, up to Baie St Paul for Hautes Gorges, Tadoussac for Saguenay River and whales. Then Quebec City, one of the Eastern township towns, finishing in Montreal. Booking accommodation now as it's not long to go. And fingers crossed we will see the fall colours somewhere! Even if we don't, it should be great trip. Thanks once again for your input.

Nic

Posted by
8293 posts

Sounds great! Hope you like the Province of Quebec.

EDIT The Manoir Hovey in North Hatley is where I would want to stay in the Townships. Word to the wise.

Posted by
2157 posts

hey nicmx5
we spent 5 days in old quebec city few years ago, first week of october, then a one week cruise to new york for fall color cruise, stayed right in town. absolutely gorgeous. they just had their canadian thanksgiving. the town was decorated everywhere for the fall season, my favorite season, was so beautiful. walked around the town, along saint laurence river, took funicular, went to chateau frontenac for a cocktail at the bar, stopped in cafes for lunch, dinner, people watch, ate poutines, crepes, had hard apple cider. rented a car one day and drove to ile de orleans and sainte anne's canyon. the island is beautiful, french speaking, feels like another planet you're on, chocolate makers, cheese shops, vineyards, small villages, farm/ranches, old homes, picture taking opportunities. bought some cheese baguette meats bottle of wine and had a picnic looking over the straight. drove around the small island. so amazing and one of my favorite places. after that took a ride out to ste-ann's canyon and walked the trails and suspension bridges, saw waterfalls. stopped at sainte-anne-de-beaupre basilica, amazing church, lit a candle for mom and dad. on the way home is montmorency falls. left early morning and back by evening, think we returned car next morning. you can look at canyon.qc.ca and nationalgeographic.com (in search area: guide to ile de orleans) it was a good day trip. getyourguide.com has some tours you may be interested in. stop at a tourist information booth for more things to do. hope this puts more in your brain to think about. please let us know.
aloha

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks Norma

And Thank you to Princess Pupule

I might just try to do what you did in QC

Posted by
1172 posts

Great recommendations from princess above. Quebec City is my hometown so feel free to reach out if I can be of any help!

Posted by
791 posts

We were in Tadoussac a few years ago. I was not that interested in whale watching either, had never done it and didn't think it would be my thing. But I really did enjoy our whale watching in the St. Lawrence. First, it is amazing to see how wide the river is and how strong the currents are. I will never forget seeing the water rush by a buoy, as the tide was going out. Second, the whales are amazing. The Saguenay fjord is beautiful; we did some hiking along it. We were there in the middle of the summer.

Hope you have a lovely trip!