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Lanaudière-Mauricie : Your destination for a passionate summer escape

March 1, 2024

Sébastien Larose © Sébastien Larose
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Between Quebec City and Montreal lies the heart of everything Quebec has to offer at its finest. Whether you prefer river or forest, city or countryside, relaxation or adventure, flavour or culture… this region truly caters to all tastes, authentic at the very heart of Quebec. So when it comes to planning your trip, why not let your passions do the talking?

With territories stretching from the St. Lawrence River to the vast boreal expanses, Lanaudière and Mauricie are kaleidoscopes of environments, landscapes and atmospheres. Whether they’re predominantly natural, rural or urban, these worlds are themselves like Russian dolls of potential experiences, with each region weaving its own unique stories, heritage landmarks, outdoor playgrounds, local flavours and opportunities to meet the locals. For the lucky vacationers who set out to discover Authentic Quebec, the challenge is to make choices. First time visitors to the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions? We recommend exploring two major dimensions: time and space, responding alternately to the call of history and that of the forest. Our selection of attractions and activities is sure to appeal to everyone’s interests.

Lanaudière-Mauricie : Your destination for a passionate summer escape

If you're passionate about heritage and living culture... © Fabien Proulx-Tremblay

If you're passionate about heritage and living culture...

Let us start at the very beginning! Because of their position on the map, the Lanaudière and Mauricie regions have been privileged witnesses to the province’s epic history since the New France era. As evidence, the Chemin du Roy is one of the very first carriageways in North America, built between 1731 and 1737. Today, as you travel the 280 km of this historic route, now an official tourist route, you’ll discover exclusive panoramas of the St. Lawrence River, as well as numerous heritage stops and sites that take you back in time.

In Trois-Rivières, we remember, we laugh and we applaud! © Damien Lair

In Trois-Rivières, we remember, we laugh and we applaud!

Midway through, the city of Trois-Rivières in Mauricie offers an array of attractions allowing visitors to dive into different eras, including the region’s industrial past. Our favourite? On the Canadian International Paper site, once one of the world’s largest paper mills in the mid-twentieth century, Boréalis brings to life the great paper-making saga by showcasing the players involved, from the forest to the paper machine. Innovative and interactive, this museum like no other perpetuates local industrial memory from a deeply human angle, notably through the testimonies of former employees. Exhibitions and activities captivate all audiences. We know toddlers who visited Boréalis several years ago still talk about the paper-making workshop or the “Path of Forgotten Souls” under the underground vaults! Other activities have since been added, such as a digital investigation, an escape game and an immersive cruise on the Saint-Maurice River. At the junction of the Saint-Maurice and St. Lawrence rivers, Boréalis is as much a delight for the eyes as for the taste buds: La Terrasse aux Confluents is the perfect place to grab a drink and a bite with a view.

In Lanaudière, stories of water, wood and squabbles abound... © Alexandre Pampalon

In Lanaudière, stories of water, wood and squabbles abound...

History enthusiasts from all eras will find no shortage of surprises on our prolific Chemin du Roy, also known as Route 138. As it continues towards Montreal, the Lanaudière region unveils its own glorious glimpses of the area’s past. Victorious and often perilous, as one discovers at the Maison des Cageux in Lanoraie. Just steps from the river where the raftsmen practiced their epic skills, the site pays tribute to these men who navigated immense square-timber rafts that could exceed 500 meters in length and 60 meters in width on the water. These giant rafts and their intrepid sailors used the river from the beginning of the 19th century until 1914.


It’s a different era, a different kind of vehicle and a truly unique hero that awaits us in Berthierville. In this Lanaudière town, also served by the Chemin du Roy, grew up a certain Gilles Villeneuve, and it is here naturally that a museum should trace the career of the most legendary Quebec racing driver, while a film about his life is currently being shot (with a global release planned for 2025). The Gilles-Villeneuve Museum has been honoring the Formula 1 champion since 1988, four years after his tragic demise on the Zolder circuit in Belgium. Cars, trophies, Grand Prix memorabilia… the impressive collection on display will dazzle enthusiasts.

Set your compass for Matawinie to rejuvenate and immerse in nature! © Myriam Baril-Tessier

Set your compass for Matawinie to rejuvenate and immerse in nature!

When in Lanaudière and the call of the great outdoors beckons, the right move is to head north to a region particularly rich in beautiful forest and mountain panoramas dotted with lakes and rivers: welcome to Matawinie! It’s said that here, the landscapes not only delight the eyes but also invigorate the body. A visit to the Maison Louis-Cyr in Saint-Jean-de-Matha will dispel any doubts. This local hero, born in 1863, was considered the strongest man in the world. During his career, Louis Cyr showcased his incredible feats of strength with his circus throughout North America and in England, earning nicknames like the Canadian Samson or the Quebec Hercules! It’s in the house he lived in with his wife, a native of Saint-Jean-de-Matha, that exhibitions bring to life his phenomenal achievements, as well as his destiny and era. A stop as enlightening as it is invigorating!


Speaking of getting in shape, the Matawinie region is inevitably synonymous with connection to a sovereign nature. In summer, this territory housing magnificent regional parks offers families a vast array of outdoor activities. Hiking on the trails of the various parks and the National Trail, mountain biking, climbing, or tree-to-tree courses at the Forêt Ouareau regional park, where canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) are also practiced, canyoning at the Chute-à-Bull regional park… Waterfalls indeed, Matawinie is far from lacking them. Whether to admire or to cool off in the heart of summer, there are also beautiful ones at the Sept-Chutes regional park, discovered during a hike in search of high-altitude panoramas among the most sumptuous in the region. The Chutes Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles regional park, with its 21 km of hiking trails, nature trail, footbridges and lookouts, is another destination of choice. As for nautical pleasures and even beach activities, head to the Lac-Taureau regional park. Sandy beaches, swimming, boating and pleasure boating: a must for summer vacationing with a boreal twist!


And the Lanaudière summer has not yet said its last word... © Barrons-nous

And the Lanaudière summer has not yet said its last word...

Before returning to its neighbour, Mauricie, there are still some fine options in Lanaudière to enhance your holidays in the best possible way: surrounded by greenery! Just south of Matawinie and only 1 hour’s drive from Montreal, the town of Rawdon is the epicentre of ecotourism and agritourism experiences that are well worth the detour. Here you’ll find the headquarters of Bonjour Nature. This non-profit solidarity cooperative is known for organizing excursions and stays in the Lanaudière region from the Quebec metropolis. These turnkey getaways can combine a multitude of experiences tailored to travelers’ tastes, including outdoor activities, cultural, heritage, and gastronomic discoveries, not to mention various accommodation options (inn, shelter, ready-to-camp), all while minimizing environmental impact. While these two-day stays and one-day eco-excursions in Lanaudière can be experienced independently, it’s worthwhile to take advantage of Bonjour Nature’s expertise. Those who provide your transportation are also passionate guides who excel at sharing their knowledge of the region and of Quebec. They perfectly embody this human-faced, green and solidarity tourism that we would like to see emerge everywhere and which suits this territory so well!


Still in the vicinity of Rawdon and also committed to the principles of the solidarity economy, there is an address that’s essential for feeling the pulse of Lanaudière’s great nature. More than just an address, Chalets Lanaudière welcomes guests all year round in the heart of a vast natural domain marrying landscapes, lakes and boreal forest. It’s the ideal environment for unwinding, relaxing with family or friends, and filling your days with activities such as canoeing, kayaking, pedal boating, swimming, hiking, and nature interpretation, among other outdoor delights. As for accommodation, you can set the comfort level to your preference. 25 equipped chalets of various sizes are available for rent. For a deeper green immersion, you can opt for a stay in a yurt or in an isolated cabin deep in the forest. New mini-chalets with universal access are being added to the offerings this summer.


Last but not least, one should not leave Lanaudière without planning an agritourism experience, especially one that’s unique in Quebec, and even more so if you find bison fascinating! In Rawdon, La Terre des Bisons offers the chance to learn everything about the breeding of these impressive bovids by visiting their interpretation center and observing them graze from a trail. And have a taste of their delicious meat? You bet! This and many other products await you at the kiosk.

Make your way to the heart of Mauricie to say a big © Damien Lair

Make your way to the heart of Mauricie to say a big "yes" to Shawi!

Shawi is the affectionate nickname given to the city of Shawinigan by its inhabitants, as well as by everyone who discovers and falls – inevitably! – under its charm. For Shawinigan offers the pleasures of a gentle urban life along with the constant call of the wild, grand nature. First off, the city is one with the Saint-Maurice River, to which it owes its birth and development. The Cité de l’énergie, a complex unique in the country, allows visitors to trace the city’s industrial saga, founded just a century ago, particularly through the visit of its fascinating hydroelectric facilities, as well as through guided city tours and historical cruises on the river. Standing 155 meters tall, the Cité’s observation tower also reveals the universe of water and forest amidst which Shawinigan has made its home. Nearby, the Mauricie National Park spreads across 536 square kilometers of forest cover punctuated by 150 lakes. It’s one of Quebec’s most beautiful areas dedicated to nature conservation and an exceptional playground for a thousand adventures, including hiking, canoeing and canoe camping in summer. In Shawi, great expanses even make their way into the city, like at the Île-Merville park, a 160-hectare green and blue haven perfect for lazing and nautical activities. Are you a hop-loving epicurean? Head over to taste the beers of the legendary Broadway microbrewery, which offers a terrace under the trees with a garden, bees and birds, in addition to delicious bistro cuisine… Shawi certainly leaves no room for boredom.

Seeking a green retreat with a touch of sweetness near Shawinigan? © Raph Sévigny

Seeking a green retreat with a touch of sweetness near Shawinigan?

Modern cottages with top-notch comfort, rustic cabins, cozy rooms and a suite in a large renovated barn, a house that can accommodate up to 15 people, all nestled between river and mountains just 1 km from the entrance of the Mauricie National Park? No, it’s not a mirage; this is the nature-filled welcome at 2800 du Parc in Saint-Jean-des-Piles, just outside Shawinigan. And the list doesn’t end with the exquisitely appointed accommodations on the banks of the Saint-Maurice River. Conceived as a small village where guests like to gather after a day outdoors, the site provides access to a wide array of activities, from swimming and mountain biking to hiking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding, not to mention the call of the nearby park. And 2800 du Parc also knows how to please the palate, from breakfast to dinner, thanks to its Restaurant 2800. A dream come true!

Our latest coup de cœur, to be found near Shawinigan, aims to delight the taste buds in a convivial atmosphere. Add to the equation the true taste of Quebec tradition, as Chez Lahaie is an authentic family-run sugar shack that has been welcoming sweet tooths in the maple grove for four generations of maple producers. From the warm welcome to the homemade recipes accompanying the divine syrup, everything is authentically homegrown.

Venture upriver to the birthplace of Félix Leclerc in Haute-Mauricie © Jean-Gabriel Pothier

Venture upriver to the birthplace of Félix Leclerc in Haute-Mauricie

Indeed it was in La Tuque, in the Upper-Mauricie region, that our legendary chansonnier was born exactly 110 years ago. And if you are a soul in love with the great outdoors, like he was, how can you remain unmoved by the landscapes of the Haut-Saint-Maurice region? They spread their raw nature over 30,000 km², the equivalent of Belgium! What applies to the poet or the contemplative also holds true for the adventurer. In La Tuque, the main city of Haute-Mauricie, these two aspirations blend happily with a deep appreciation for history. The cultural spirit thrives at several key locations in the region. The Félix-Leclerc Heritage Space (l’Espace patrimonial Félix-Leclerc) celebrates the legacy of the iconic singer-songwriter. Nearby, the Fur Trade Interpretation Center (Centre d’interprétation de la traite des fourrures) offers insights into the region’s rich trading history. The Anne-Stillman-McCormick Center pays homage to the “Queen of Mauricie,” who was instrumental in establishing the Classique international de canots, La Tuque’s flagship event. Additionally, the Saint-Maurice River’s history is showcased at the Interpretation Center of the log drive (Centre d’interprétation de la drave sur la rivière Saint-Maurice), revealing the river’s logging legacy. All these attractions are found in one unmissable place: the beautiful Parc des Chutes-de-la-Petite-Rivière-Bostonnais. The Parc des Chutes symbolizes all the magic of Haute-Mauricie, between historical roots and landscapes that inspire. Speaking of inspiration, flying over the territory in a seaplane is an unforgettable experience made possible by Aviation La Tuque. One then realizes the vast expanse of Haute-Mauricie and its potential for adventure. There are no less than sixty outfitters and all the playgrounds in the world for canoeing, kayaking, climbing, hiking, mountain biking, quad biking, fishing… One can also set off to discover the prettiest covered bridges or meet two Atikamekw indigenous communities, those of Wemotaci and Opiticiwan. If you’ve been seduced by the extraordinary environment of the Upper-Mauricie and feel like pausing for a moment, here’s a final tip. We recommend Méandre, for an ecotourism resort stay on the banks of the Croche River. The micro-cabins, domes and campsites of these nature and outdoor enthusiasts are just as appealing as the river-rafting activities they offer. A menu of discoveries that, as always in Authentic Quebec, has more than enough to satisfy all tastes and curiosities!






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