The Whale Route (Route des Baleines) stretches for over 800 km (497 mi.) along the St. Lawrence River, from Tadoussac to Kegaska, at the end of Route 138. You can also explore toward the north, heading out from Baie-Comeau, to see the gigantic hydroelectric facilities―our very own modern-day pyramids!
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To be discovered absolutely
We do everything in a big way, so be ready to open your eyes wide. Whales, rocks shaped like flower pots and the Jardin des glaciers: it’s all enormous.
Whale Route (Route des Baleines)
It’s not the squirrels in our backyard that grab our attention; it’s the whales in our river. In fact, from Tadoussac onward, Route 138 takes on a new name, becoming the Whale Route (Route des Baleines), marked with attractive blue signs with a little white whale, to make sure you don’t miss the many sites devoted to our marine mammals.
The route runs for 880 km (547 mi.), following the path of these sea giants. Thirteen whale species roam the St. Lawrence River during the summer and fall. You can catch sight of them from the shore or on the water, aboard a cruise boat, sea kayak or Zodiac boat, and you will even hear them sing!
A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as a female elephant, or around 3,629 kg (8,000 lb.).
Protecting more than 1,000 islands and islets over 110 km2 (43 sq. mi.), the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve has the largest concentration of monoliths in Canada. Mono what? Monoliths are colossal upright limestone outcroppings. An unusual Côte-Nord geological feature, these rocks erode over time as they are sculpted by the sea and wind. They take the shape of flower pots and other surprising artistic forms created by Mother Nature.
Whether from a boat, kayak, sailboat or stand-up paddleboard, or on foot on the islands, you’ll be able to immortalize this corner of the world by photographing the unbridled landscapes, unique flora—including rare plants—and bustling wildlife. By the way, if you’re looking for sea parrots on the Île aux Perroquets island, you should know that “perroquet” is the nickname given to the comical Atlantic puffin.
You can spend the night at an inn set in the former Île aux Perroquets lighthouse.
Jardin des glaciers and Seashell Valley
Millions of pastel seashells piled on top of one another in the middle of the forest... who would ever expect it? Proof that thousands of years ago the Côte-Nord was submerged under the sea! You get to Seashell Valley through Baie-Comeau’s Jardin des glaciers, an interactive museum that explains the last ice age through exhibits and an impressive multimedia show. And it’s really quite a story.
Twenty thousand years ago Québec was covered by an ice sheet (or inlandsis) that was 4 km (2.5-mi.) thick. When it melted 12,000 years ago, the ice gave way to water, which spread everywhere, forming seas (Champlain and Goldthwait) as well as thousands of lakes and rivers. When Goldthwait Sea receded, it left behind an “ocean” of seashells and fossils. Prepare to be amazed!
The Jardin des glaciers is in the heart of the Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve.
Explore Côte-Nord and its coastal charm
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