After 2 great weeks learning French in a small francophone town in Quebec (Rivière-du-Loup), me and my friends decided to embark on a journey to the mysterious Gaspésie Penninsula. We didn't know what to expect, but we decided to spontaneously drive along a highway that loops all around the peninsula, stopping every time we found something cool along the way.
The excitement of not having any plans and just driving off for the weekend was exhilarating, and provided us with the boost to start an amazing adventure!
We started by driving off towards Gaspé and made many stops along the way.
We stopped at cheese shops (Fromagerie), local ice-cream shops (Bar Laiter), and Quebecois-style food (Casse-Croutes) and had a great gastronomic experience eating foods such as Maple Ice Cream, Poutine, Smoked Cheese Curds, and some more local classics!
We saw a lot of nature at the various "points" (which is a long walkway into water), and we also hiked a few mountains, and walked along many beaches all around the peninsula.
Some of our favourite stops with beautiful nature included:
Rocher Percé (Percé Rock)
Sugarloaf Mountain, New Brunswick
Canyon des Portes de l'Enfer
On this trip we've met lots of interesting local people, and got to know how genuine and friendly the French Canadians have been to us along this route.
We've befriended a nice restaurant owner who talked to us about the importance of preserving the culture and language of the French Canadians, and later made funny faces on our breakfast for us. We spoke in broken french in many of the local businesses and people on the streets, and everyone was open to listening to us and have a great conversation!
We've also met a few anglophones who live in French Canada, including two english-speaking girls we met at the bar who live Percé and told us about their difficult times growing up in a community that suppressed and isolates them. It was an interesting conversation which made us realize how truly complicated Quebec really is, with the french, english, and native all feeling suppressed in very different ways.
It was so great to not only study about Québécois culture in my class, but also venture into French Canada myself and experience the culture for myself. We learned about Acadian culture, and learned the history of significant events and places we've visited.
Québec is a gorgeous province with an abundance of stunning nature views, hikes, fromageries, and nice people.
Every evening, the sunset looks more beautiful then the day before. Just look at these stunning views for yourself
The freedom of having a car, and not needing to rely on public transportation was one of the elements that made this trip great. We wouldn't be able to have a similar experience without driving, since most of our stops were nice beaches, islands, stops, and restaurants along the route, or in the towns we were passing.
Our 4 day adventure was very short-lived, but we truly had the time of our lives exploring the beautiful province of Québec, and improving our French. If you are ever in Eastern Canada, a trip to the Gaspésie Peninsula is a must!