All these villages are francophone,
at least nominally Catholic, and white. No hijabs here, no mosques, no
synagogues. You might see one black man (and that not in a village but Rimouski)
over the four days it will take before you get back as far as Quebec City. Almost
all the cars parked in villages and towns sport Quebec license plates, too, until
you get to Métis-sur-Mer, a village
founded by Scots in 1850.
There you will not only see Ontario
plates and some from New York and Maine, but a surprising variety of churches (the
mentions the Anglican Church, the United Church, and two different Presbyterian
churches but no Catholic church, oddly) and a house called Buttercup. Some of Anglo
Montreal families summer here to this day, as they have done for generations,
and there are so many Anglo-Scottish family names on display that it’s
View of the St. Lawrence from Auberge du Grand Fleuve
The comments I could find online
about Auberge du Grand Fleuve included praise from a French couple who had stopped there twice during a
12-day tour of Quebec. What got me was not the mention of sunset over the
water, nor of comfortable accommodation. It wasn’t overused travel-guide words
like magique and charme, and it wasn’t even the reference to la cuisine toute en finesse et créativité.
Dining room at Auberge du Grand Fleuve
I was looking for something that
stood out, and I found it. This French couple declared the food they had at the
Auberge du Grand Fleuve (131, rue Principale, Métis-sur-Mer) the best they’d had
in Quebec. Now that’s saying something.
And it’s no exaggeration. The
dinner of specialties from terroir
and mer was superb
– the typical menu is here – and served with aplomb. Breakfast featured a crêpe
bretonne as well as a fine rhubarb compote, local cheese, rillettes and toast. And,
for a writer (and a reader), what a pleasure to find books in the dining room, in the sitting
room, and in the bedrooms – and to note the use to which owners Marie and Raynald
put the classic Gallimard book cover. Here is what Gallimard produces to this
And here is the link to the cover of the
Auberge’s bouquin couette. Bouquin being a book and couette
a duvet or comforter, you might think of this as reading between the covers.
Turns out, there were two of them between the covers, Raynald having been a bookseller from Quimper, Bretagne,
while Marie is a native gaspésienne. (She's the one pouring the wine in the photo below.) In
Métis-sur-Mer, they were “seduced by a garden on the edge of the sea and by a
landscape of uncommon beauty.” I was, too.
Not only that, but they brought
with them “a taste for the small pleasures and the great pleasures of the table
and their passion for the small pleasures and the great pleasures of reading.”
Text and translations by Linda Leith; photos Auberge du Grand Fleuve.