In 1535, Jacques Cartier’s travel log cited the discovery of a veritable “kingdom.” Today, visitors can explore this history-rich region to their heart’s content, walking the sandy shores of a lake or hiking along the cliffs that offer postcard-perfect views.
How to get there
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To be discovered absolutely
One of the longest fjords in the world, an inland sea encircled by a bike path and a historic village home to a 72-m (236-ft.) waterfall.
The Saguenay fjord
The Rivière Saguenay fjord is among the longest in the world, stretching 105 km (65 mi.) and set between steep cliffs. Admire its sheer immensity by boat as you explore the gorges and capes bearing such divine names as Trinité and Éternité. And you’re sure to wonder how a statue of the Virgin Mary could possibly be perched so high!
Several lookouts punctuate the trails of the Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, providing breathtaking views. The Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park protects the marine area. The mouth of the fjord, in the St. Lawrence estuary, attracts belugas and other sea mammals that come to feed from June to October. You can spot them from the shore or take a boat cruise for a closer look.
The fjord cliffs stand more than 400 m (1,312 ft.) high.
Take the Fjord Route (Route de Fjord) by car to discover the vast surrounding wilderness and visit charming villages, such as Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. It’s well worth the trip!
Covering 1,100 km² (425 sq. mi.), Lac Saint-Jean is a veritable inland sea—or just about, since it’s not salt water. Nonetheless, with its lovely sandy beaches, you’d swear you were at the seaside. Water temperatures can climb to 25 °C in summer. Not bad! Circle the lake by car or take the Véloroute des Bleuets bicycle circuit—256 km (159 mi.) of up-and-down terrain. Your calf muscles will thank you!
You could take up a different type of challenge with the Traversée internationale du lac Saint-Jean open-water swimming competition in July. This 32-km (20 mi.) athletic undertaking from Péribonka to Roberval has become a major festival featuring shows and a supper held at a table stretching one km (0.6 mi.) long through the streets of Roberval. The festive spirit is just as huge as the local blueberries! Incidentally, Lac Saint-Jean locals are affectionately nicknamed “Bleuets,” and they are always proud to welcome you!
210 km (130 mi.) of shoreline and 42 km (26 mi.) of sandy beaches, for southern feel in the north!
Village historique de Val-Jalbert
Long considered a ghost town because of its abandoned homes, it has now become a thriving historic attraction nestled in the middle of the wilderness!
From 1901 to 1927, Val-Jalbert was an industrial pulp and paper town whose pulp mill was powered by the Ouiatchouan Falls (meaning “clear water river” in the Innu language), which are the main attraction and can be viewed by cable car. Standing 20 m (66 ft.) higher than Niagara Falls, they will enthrall you with their magnificence. Hikers can view their splendour from the trails and lookouts.
At 72 m (236 ft.) high, the Ouiatchouan Falls are higher than Niagara Falls.
The village itself features tours by guides dressed in period costume who recount the stories of daily life a century ago. Visitors can even spend the night in historical homes, mini-cottages or at the general store or campground, which has a heated swimming pool!
Explore Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean in all its grandeur
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