The Îles-de-la-Madeleine, or 'Magdalen Islands', form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 79.36 square miles (205.53 square kilometres). Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec. Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine encompass eight major islands: Havre-Aubert, Grande Entrée, Cap aux Meules, Grosse-Île, Havre aux Maisons, Pointe-Aux-Loups, Île d'Entrée and Brion. All except Brion are inhabited. View more
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The much-acclaimed scenic getaway from Cap-aux-Meules to Havre Aubert, is all yours on this half-day adventure. It includes a visit at the St Peter Lavernière church to learn about ship wrecks around the islands.
The first stop will be at La Vernière, a wooden church first built in 1876, is now classified as a historical monument. This is the second-largest wooden church in North America. It was struck several times by lightning: first in 1900, then in 1945, 1947 and 1980. The wood used in its construction was retrieved from shipwrecks and had to be blessed before the building could be rebuilt. It is an important part of the Madelinot heritage.
Musée de la Mer (sea museum):
Next a stop is made at the permanent exhibit at Musée de la Mer: Laboureurs du Golfe examines the history of the Islands through models of ships and lighthouses, photographs and maritime objects that demonstrate the development of navigation, stories about fishing, seal hunting and shipwrecks as well as collections of minerals, shells and rocks from the Islands.
Next travel to Havre-Aubert is a natural fishing and yachting harbour with a modern fish-processing plant. Its most interesting attraction is without a doubt the Historical Site at La Grave. La Grave is a privileged heritage site where traditional architecture is showcased. The beach was a favourite spot for fishing and commerce and still maintains its maritime flavour. Designated as an historical site by the Minister of Cultural Affairs in 1983, La Grave still fulfills its original purpose as a favourite meeting place. Free time is given where you will find on the site several boutiques of art and craft as the Artisans du Sable, the famous café de la grave, jewellery and different souvenir shops.
Please note: This tour involves a minimal amount of walking for approximately 91.4 metres (100 yards) on sometimes uneven ground. Total walking distance at LaGrave is approximately 800 metres (.5 miles) however is at guests discretion. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Dressing according to the weather is recommended. Gift shop at La Grave accepts CAD cash and Visa/MC only. Order of sites visited may vary.
Enjoy the highlights of Cap aux Meules Island where you will learn about erosion of the north side of the islands, the sandy beach of dune du nord and have some time for shopping at la cote.
Depart the pier for the for the short ride to La Vernière, the wooden church which was first built in 1876 is now classified as a historical monument and is the second-largest wooden church in North America. It was struck several times by lightning first in 1900, then in 1945, 1947 and 1980. The wood used in its construction was retrieved from shipwrecks and had to be blessed before the building could be rebuilt. It is an important element of the Madelinot heritage.
Your next stop is "le Flâneur" art gallery where you will relax by the sea and enjoy a break with scones, homemade jam and coffee or your choice of a selection of over 50 different teas. Afterwards, enjoy visiting the gallery and meet the artist who has expressed on large canvasses the many emotions typical of the island lifestyle. Arthure's work will help you appreciate what defines us and draws us together.
Guests have the choice to cross the street to l'Étang-du-Nord fishing harbour with its magnificent sculpture and Public Park for some free time as well, or continue to enjoy the art galleries hidden gems.
Your last stop takes you to the north coast of the island which boasts spectacular steep, jagged cliffs. The Cap-Hérissé lighthouse offers one of the most striking examples of cliffs sculpted by the sea. There are two types of cliffs on Les Îles de la Madeleine, gray sandstone is more resistant to erosion and is found in some of the highest landforms on Entry Island, Havre-Aubert, Cap-aux-Meules and Havre-aux-Maisons. These are often volcanic mounds with veins of clay, limestone and gypsum.
Please Note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking for approximately 137 metres (150 yards) with a few steps to negotiate at the gallery. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a foldable wheelchair however guests must be able to get in/out of the vehicle with minimal assistance or the assistance of their travelling companion. We recommend guests wear weather appropriate clothing, a light sweater or jacket and comfortable walking shoes. CAD and credit cards accepted at the souvenir shop.
Havre-aux-Maisons Island is remarkable for its bare landscape; the scarcity of trees is due to extensive lumbering during the last century. The island's smooth landscape stands out sharply against its worn red cliffs. Havre-aux-Maisons, located on one of the most beautiful islands of the archipelago, has a sweet rural character with winding roads and houses scattered about the countryside. You will meet with local artist, learn about the Islands first alcohol "bagosse" and enjoyed the sandy beach with red sand stone cliff.
Verrerie La Méduse
The tour begins onboard a school bus. Travel to Verrerie La Méduse, a glass-blowing studio located in a heritage building called the old St-Joseph School where visitors may observe glass-blowers at work, transforming silica into magnificent works of art.
Next the roadside rest area at Dune-du-Sud gives access to a beautiful beach. Red cliffs sculpted by the sea shelter one side of the beach. There are lots of holes and caves to explore.
Continue onto Cap-Alright Lighthouse which offers a spectacular view over grey cliffs, all of Plaisance Bay and the outline of Entry Island. The lighthouse is the last one built on the Islands, and it has changed little since its construction in 1928.
The Madelinots always say that "bagosse" is the beer of the Islands, but it is really a traditional home-brewed wine. Le Barbocheux is an artisanal winery whose products include bagosse, fortified wine (porto style) and berry liqueurs. Enjoy a sample before transferring back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves moderate amount of walking and it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Guests must be at least 21 years old to be served alcoholic beverages. Dressing appropriate to the weather is recommended.
The Îles de la Madeleine archipelago, an exotic miniature paradise where the warmth and generosity of the inhabitants are legendary, is a treasure trove of tasty, tempting locally-produced foods. During the Flavours Circuit you will meet with several local producer and discover from them the passion and love that they have for their work.
Pied-de-Vent Cheese Factory
Depart the ship for a short ride to the Pied-de-Vent Cheese Factory. It is a cottage-industry cheese factory that uses raw milk to produce the tasty Pied-de-Vent cheese and Tomme des Demoiselles, a semi-hard cow's milk cheese.
Next travel to Chemin Pointe-Basse, a road peppered with many examples of traditional local architecture: houses and barns are quite simple and painted in a variety of bright colours. The Acadian and French origins of many of the Islanders, as well as some New England influences are reflected in the architecture of their homes. Several details are typical of the traditional home: the small enclosed porch, corbel, veranda, and painted or stained cedar shingles.
The smoked herring economuseum, Fumoir d'Antan, a typical smokehouse, brings to life this last vestige of what was once a very important industry. This smokehouse has been used for three generations to smoke herring, mackerel, salmon and scallops.
Have a short stop at the roadside rest area at Dune-du-Sud which gives access to a beautiful beach. Red cliffs sculpted by the sea shelter one side of the beach. There are many holes and caves to explore.
The Madelinots always say that "bagosse" is the beer of the Islands, but it is really a traditional home-brewed wine. Le Barbocheux is an artisanal winery whose products include bagosse, Enjoy a tasting of fortified wine (Porto style) before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves moderate amount of walking for approximately 1655 metres (1810 yards) over occasional uneven ground and dirt paths, therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Guests must be at least 21 years old to be served alcoholic beverages. Dressing appropriate to the weather is recommended.
Enjoy the much-acclaimed scenic getaway on this on this full-day adventure from Cap-aux-Meules to Grand-Entrée.
A school bus will bring you to the north end of the Magdalene Island, the Grand-Entree. Marvel at the impossibly beautiful scenery, with different shades of blue and green water, golden sand beaches, ever changing sand dunes, the green of the hills that contrast with the red of the cliffs. Learn more about the history of the Islands and of the Acadians, who have colonized the archipelago as the local guide provides the narration.
Village of Grosse Ile
On arrival to the village of Grosse Ile, an English settlement of 500 Irish descendant resident you will be driving past the salt mine and the guide will give you explanations about it.
East Point National Wildlife Reserve
After Grosse Ile village you will be arriving in the East Point National Wildlife Reserve, the bus will make stop to drop off half of the group for a 90 minute hike of 1.8 miles (3 kilometers). Discover a unique ecosystem in Québec; East Point. See an astonishing arrangement of vegetation, forests, fixed dunes and mobile dunes. Depending on the season, you can taste some of the different plants and berries. Marvel at the vastness of the Old Harry Beach, the former gathering place of the walrus. Enjoy an unforgettable hike where you see the beauty and understand the fragility of the Magdalen Islands.
The rest of the group will carry on to the wharf of Grande Entrée, Encounter a fisherman on the Grande-Entrée wharf. La Pointe the Grande-Entrée wharf is the largest lobster fishing wharf in Québec. With the help of a fisherman discover how our daily life is connected to the sea. Learn about the history, the boats, the lobster traps, and the importance of the conservation.
Lunch at La Salicorne Inn
Next proceed to La Salicorne Inn where you will have a relaxing lunch.
In the afternoon each group will switch and enjoy the activity they did not do in the morning.
Board the school bus for the scenic ride back to the ship.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking/hiking and it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Dressing appropriate to the weather as well as close toe comfortable shoes is recommended.