The French explorer Jacques Cartier first planted his wooden cross on the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula way back in 1534, earning today’s town its honorific title as the "Cradle of French Canada." These days Gaspe is known as one of Quebec’s first-rate adventure holiday destinations, with an outdoors offering that’s second to none. While many visitors come to sample the rugged cliffs and soft Atlantic beachfronts, others seek hiking and biking trails through the mist-covered conifers or the salt marshes of the Forillon National Park. Gaspe is also widely known as the kingpin of one of Canada’s premier fishing regions, and the city boasts great access to three of North America’s most prolifically populated salmon rivers. What’s more, with almost half a millennium of history to unravel it’s also not surprising that Gaspe is a great place for budding culture vultures, and between the WWII memorials and quirky windmill factory, there’s plenty more to see.
The Forillon National Park is a medley of natural terrain like no other. Home to some of the most dramatic cliffs and valleys on the Atlantic seaboard, the park’s interior is a patchwork of marshlands and dense forests just waiting to be discovered. What’s more, it sits entirely within the metropolitan boundaries of Gaspe proper, making it an easy day out for anyone staying in town.
iterally translating to "pierced rock," the defining wonder of this maritime bluff that rises from the ocean just out of Gaspe is its colossal archway formation. It’s amongst the largest of its kind in the whole world and bears a formidable appearance that has made it the center of many a Quebecois legend. While the protrusion continues to spawn local mythologies all over the Gaspe Peninsula, it’s also one of the most breathtaking sites the area has to offer and is definitely not to be missed.
Here the panoramic views incorporate some of Quebec’s highest peaks and a veritable array of the region’s natural beauty, from alpine meadows to thick fir forests. In the summer the Gaspésie National Park is the most popular walking destination around Gaspe, while winter ushers in a myriad of snow sporting opportunities, from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing in the hills.
Photo via their official website.
A champion of locally sourced foods and creatively brewed beers, the Restaurant and Bistro at Brise Bise is a Gaspe favourite for good reason. Expect regular live music events and a menu that’s peppered with a range of different cuisines, from traditional Quebec poutine to Italian classics and a formidable array of seafood.
Photo via their official FB page.
Enjoying a magnificent position perched high on the Gasp cliff tops near the village of Cap-des-Rosiers, this traditional seaside hotel offers visitors excellent access to all of the region’s major coastal sites, from the white-washed lighthouse on the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the bluffs and valleys of the Forillon National Park.