Sunsets in Kamouraska are supposed to be among the nicest ones in all of Quebec, and after spending three evenings there, I find it hard to argue with this statement. It's truly worth spending at least part of an evening along the river to see the wonderful spectacle of colors in which the whole village seems to bask. To get an idea of how beautiful it can be, I've included a link to Paul Charbonneau's website. For nearly 10 years, this photographer took pictures of the Kamouraska sunset every day and posted the best one on his website. Unfortunately, M. Charbonneau passed away in 2012, but his wife now continues to take and post pictures in his memory.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that a small place like Kamouraska hasn't got much nightlife. The thing to do once you're done enjoying yet another fantastic dinner in one of the town's restaurants is to go for a walk - this will allow you to digest your meal, watch Kamouraska's amazing sunsets, and mix it up with the locals (just don't forget to say "bonjour" to everyone you meet, or else they'll know for sure you're from out of town!). People tend to converge towards the old pier - there's now a new one built right next to it, and it gets pretty busy in the evening. The streets leading down to it are incredibly charming, and there's plenty of spots along the river where you can sit to watch the sun go down.
Mississippi Road is described as one of the province's most beautiful country roads, and I've no trouble believing it! Picturesque is the word that comes to mind when I think of this small road we walked along on the way back to the village of St-Germain after hiking the Caburon trail. In fact, even though the terrain along Mississippi Road is rather flat, it sort of compliments very well the Caburon trail thanks to the wonderful landscapes it offers. This time, instead of looking down at the river, you get a fantastic view of Kamouraska's lush and peaceful countryside. We stumbled upon a group of painters, and I can totally understand why they had picked that particular spot to practice their skils. Aswe got closer to the village, we also found the literary fridge, literally an old fridge that works as a book exchange - it's got to be the *coolest* library I've ever seen (get it?!)!
This small chocolate factory is owned by a very friendly chocolate maker who might be just as excited to make you discover his products as you will be to taste them! La Fée Gourmande offers a great selection of fine chocolates as well as delicious homemade sorbets. Some of the flavors offered are rather surprising, but the more original they are, the tastier they get - I loved the peach & lavender sorbet and the spicy Mayan chocolate! My goal is to go back when the strawberry & basil sorbet is out, and I probably won't be able to stop myself from picking up a few more chocolates at the same time. Did Oscar Wilde have this place in mind when he wrote that the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it?!
When I asked one of my friends who's familiar with the Kamouraska region where the best spot was for hiking, he suggested we look up the Caburon trail and boy, was he ever right! Located in St-Germain-de-Kamouraska, this 4-km trail takes you through an old-growth forest to the very top of the hills, from where you get a fantastic view of the St. Lawrence River and Kamouraska Islands. Walking along the rocky edges of the mountain is a lot of fun, as is picking blueberries all along the trail :-) There is no access fee and parking is also free at either end of the trail. I highly recommend parking in the village of St-Germain and walking back to your car by following the Mississippi country road (see my tip) to complete this wonderful rural experience.
I thought this seemed like the most interesting museum in the Kamouraska region, so we decided to add it to our itinerary. Located in Saint-Denis-De La Bouteillerie, just 9 km east of Kamouraska, the Maison Chapais was built in 1833 for Jean-Charles Chapais and his family. Chapais was an enterprising man, who first ran a general store and post office from this home before getting elected mayor of St-Denis, which lauched a long and successful political career. His son Thomas followed in his footsteps, and was even knighted by King George V. Great effort has been put into restoring the house and its grounds, including the gardens that were lost for many years before being rediscovered in 2003. The house itself is pretty impressive, one of the very few examples of French Canadian upper-class homes I've had a chance to visit. Also, the visit is made quite entertaining by the fact that several guides take you through the different rooms and each take a turn sharing their bits of the Chapais story.
This microbrewery was established in 1992, production began in 1998, and the brewery was open to the public in 2001. Located in an old country home, the beer (named after the famous Belgian painter Pieter Bruegel) is produced by M. Baekelmans in the purest Belgian tradition. They brew 15 different types of beer or so, most of which you can sample when you visit the brewery. The owners are happy to welcome you into their house or let you roam around their beautiful grounds (there's even a short hiking trail) while you taste a few of their delicious beers. I tried the St. Pâcome, a refreshing raspberry-flavoured white beer that went really well with the old cheddar I ordered. Oh right, because they have recently added a smokehouse to the brewery, which allows them to serve some light meals so you don't even have to like beer to enjoy your visit. Even our cat was made to feel at home and was provided with a bowl of fresh water! Both the beer and smoked products are of course available for sale on the premises.