Advantages Prepare to be charmed, fascinated and awed...
Disadvantages Too much fresh air????
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
The Gaspe Peninsula... home of my ancestors, and a place of extraordinary beauty, is located on the eastern tip of the province of Quebec, north of New Brunswick, and is a coastal region surrounded by the St. Lawrence estuary and gulf as well as by the Bay of Chaleur. The Gaspe Peninsula is 560 km from Montreal and 340 km from Quebec City by road.The Gaspe Peninsula is divided into five different regions: The Coast, Upper Gaspe, Land's End, Bay of Chaleur and The Valley. Perce is situated in the Land's End area... a mountainous area crammed with dense forests, rivers, and very little population. The scenery is, in my opinion, breathtaking... especially from the numerous Belvederes (Italian word meaning beautiful view). These Belvederes are tourist rest stops with rustic wooden structures (meant to blend in with the surrounding mountains and forests) with washrooms, area maps, drinks and food dispensers, picnic tables and coin operated binoculars.
Perce itself used to be an important fishing area, even before the arrival of the first Europeans, and was the favourite fishing spot of the Mi'kmaq (also spelled Micmac) Indians.Perce, in English, means "pierced". Strange name for a small fishing town, unless, of course, you have ever heard of the famous Rocher Perce (english for pierced rock) which is situated below the town in the St. Lawrence Gulf. This famous rock is one of the largest and most spectacular natural arches in the world, and rises upwards from the gulf in a massive limestone stack measuring 1420 feet long by 295 feet wide and 289 feet at its highest point. The rock gets its name from a large 50ft high arch near its seaward end. There were actually two arches in the rock, when the outer arch collapsed on June 17, 1845. For 4 hours at a time during low tide, the water recedes from a wide spit that allows the rock itself to be visited. If you plan on visiting the area of Perce, make a point of visiting the rock itself as it contains millions of marine fossils such as trilobites, tetracoralla, brachiopods and ostracods from the Devonian period. A must see.
Although the rock, in itself, is inspiring, the inhabitants are no less so. There are just barely 4000 inhabitants within the Gaspe Peninsula, but they are remarkably kind and colourful. Fishermen by trade and by nature, they will welcome you as though you were a long-lost friend, will tell you stories if you are willing to listen, and will feed you like you have never been fed before... the world's BEST seafood. Fresh Langoustines (scampies) dipped in a buttery garlic sauce, lobster, crab, cockles, muscles, oh... and fresh salmon, cod and haddock... and that delicious concoction called a Coquille St. Jacques (a mixture of fresh seafood in a creamy sauce served in a large flat shell)... exquisite! The fare is simple, the people are down-to-earth, and the prices for the most elaborate meal will cost you under £20 per person. What more can you ask for?If you plan on spending a few nights, you'll find a few rustic inns, bed and breakfasts, and motels in and around the town of Perce... extremely affordable at under £35 per night for a room with double bed, and offering a large breakfast for under £5 per person complete with bacon, eggs, tomatoes, fried potatoes, beans, cretons, toast, jam or marmalade, juice and coffee. Of course, you can always choose to stay at a manoir (manor) or hotel, something a bit more posh that'll offer you a swimming pool and a gym, but hey, be prepared to pay for the extra services.
During your stay in Perce, a visit to Bonaventure Island is a must. The island is situated 5km from the town of Perce, and excursions to the island (May to October), including a close-up look of the rock itself, will cost you under £8 for an adult, approx. £7 for a student, 6-12 year olds will cost under £3 and younger children go free.The island became a migratory bird sanctuary in 1919 due to the 1916 Migratory Bird Convention between Canada and the United States. The province of Quebec acquired ownership of the entire island in 1971 renaming it Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé (Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park) in 1985. It is one of the largest and most accessible bird sanctuaries in the world with more than 280,000 birds, 293 different species of birds have been recorded as visiting, migrating to, or living on Bonaventure island. The most common bird found on the island is the Northern Gannet. The island is home to the second-largest colony of gannets in the world, with over 30,000 nesting pairs. Other populous colonies include the black-legged kittiwake and the common murre. Seagulls, terns, black guillemots, auks, herring gulls, great black-backed gulls, razorbills, Leach's Storm-Petrels, great cormorants, double-crested cormorants, Atlantic puffins, boreal chickadees and Blackpoll warblers can also be observed on Bonaventure.
A note of wisdom from a native who knows (if you plan on taking this excursion)... bring earplugs! The noise is deafening (to say the least)! Also, DON'T bring food, not unless you plan to audition for the re-make of Alfred Hitchcock's BIRDS!A lobster fishing excursion is also available which will cost you £9 per adult and approx. £4 for children 12 and under. Want both excursions... try a package deal... £15 per adult and £5 for children 12 and under. How affordable is that!
In comparison to visiting the major cities, these out-of-the-way trips along the coast are cheaper by far, the scenery is spectacular, the people are welcoming and speak, for the most part, French and English, and the food is extraordinary.
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Pages: 264, Hardcover, University of Oklahoma Press
Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Pages: 264, Hardcover, University of Oklahoma Press
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