Driving across the only bridge, visitors are quick to fall under the spell of an island where farming and all forms of agriculture thrive year round. A trip around Île d'Orléans is a delightful way to discover the surrounding countryside at your leisure. Traveling counter-clockwise, your treasure trail begins with…
Admire the farm stands and strawberry fields for which the island is renowned. In 1830, the parish had over twenty boat builders and a handful of family-owned shipyards. Visit Parc maritime de Saint-Laurent and learn about the region's maritime history. Come breathe in the fresh air as you gaze out across the mighty St. Lawrence River to the bluffs of Lévis. On your way to the next village, you'll pass by a flour mill that dates back to 1715.
In days gone by, St. Lawrence River pilots and navigators were the main residents of Saint-Jean-de-l'Île-d'Orléans. The houses they lived in—dating from 1825 to 1860—have been preserved in the center of the village. The village is also home to Manoir Mauvide-Genest, a remarkable example of New France manor architecture built in 1734. Here we find the largest producers of strawberries whose farms are exposed to wind and sun enabling them to cultivate from early spring to late fall. We also find unique places where we can taste these berries, fresh and transformed, such as the Tigidou Jam Factory.
At the far end of the island, Saint-François-de-l'Île-d'Orléans draws tourists with its rest area and observation tower where visitors can admire the islands of the archipelago and the St. Lawrence Estuary stretching eastward.
Sainte-Famille is the island's oldest parish. Its stunning views of the Beaupré shoreline and Mont-Sainte-Anne open up onto expansive orchards, most of which allow you to pick your own apples. Talk about a real feast for the senses! Moving on, you can stop and admire the densest concentration of stone houses dating back to the French Regime, among them Maison Drouin, one of the earliest 17th century dwellings.
The village is the most populated part of the island because of its proximity to the bridge and is also home to Espace Félix-Leclerc, an interpretation center built in memory of the local singer and poet. Before leaving the island, be sure to visit the gift shops and artisans to sample their cider, terrines, confits, apple butter, and other local delicacies. Find our more about the famous blackcurrant liqueur made on Ile d'Orléans at the Economuseum Cassis Monna et filles.
Visit the tourist information office at the entrance to Île d'Orléans to get the tourist guide, the multifunction card or to find out more about our tours. For more information, visit the Tourisme Île d'Orléans website.
Jeff Frenette Photography
Île d'Orléans, Jeff Frenette Photography