Questions about Gaspé peninsula.

May 5th, 2004, 05:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 71
Questions about Gaspé peninsula.

As I said in an earlier post, my girlfriend and I are planning a road trip starting from Hartford, CT and going up through Montreal, Quebec City, and around the Gaspé peninsula during the first two weeks of June. I have a few questions about the Gaspé peninsula in particular:

1. Should we make reservations ahead of time or wing it? We plan to stay in Ste-Anne-des-Monts for one night, Percé for 2-3 nights, and Campbellton for one night but I'm not sure how accurate my driving estimates are.

2. Will a laptop help or hinder us. I am tempted to bring it to help organize our trip and possibly to use the internet for any last minute changes or arrangements we might want to make. I have heard that this region is very safe as far as crime, but is it safe enough not to have to worry about a laptop being stolen from hotel rooms, cars, etc.? What about Montreal and QC?

3. From what I have read it looks like Percé is where most of the hotels are. Is it smarter to use Percé as a 3 day home base while we visit Gaspé and the Forillon national park or should we stop in Gaspé for a night and Percé for two?

4. I am assuming that all of the hotels around the peninsula accept Visa. Will the main restaurants accept Visa as well? I would like to keep the cash we carry down to a minimum due to safety and exchange rates.

5. Have I overlooked anything or left anything out? Neither of us have taken such a long road trip before so all suggestions and comments are very appreciated. Thanks.
JWitt is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Posts: 71
Oh, I have a bad habit of hitting that post button prematurely. One more question. Has anyone gone hang-gliding in Mont-St-Pierre? Is it safe? Is previous instruction required? Thanks.
JWitt is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 08:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 218
1-You shouldn't have any problems finding rooms on the go at that time of the year, especially if your not too picky. A problem you might encounter is that some hotels (motels actually) might not be open or fully open this early in the season, very unlikely though. Reservation are always safer, of course.

2-Crime? What crime? I wouldn't worry, but then again, you never know. I don't see why you would need a laptop though.

3-Perce is a tourist trap as far as I'm concerned. The pierced Rock is nice to see but more interesting is a cruise to Bonaventure Island. The island being a provincial park, don't forget some cash to pay the entry fee on the island (3.50$ per person in 2003). Being more touristy, you might find more/better sea food restaurants in Perce.

There are motels and possibly B&D in Cap-des-Rosiers, which is next to Forillon park. I believe there are some in other nearby villages as well. Otherwise, I would use Gaspé as a base for Forillon. Perce is a fairly long drive to Forillon.

I'm more into nature than culture/food so I'm biased towards Forillon. If you like hiking and wildlife, Forillon is the place to be. Perce doesn't have much to offer in that regard, except for Bonaventure Island. Stop at "Camping tête d'indien" (indian head Campground) if it's open and ask Dan Fromm for places to eat and visit. He's an American who's passionate about the region. He knows where to go around Percé but he will also tell you that the town itself is a tourist trap. I followed his advice to have breakfast at "Cafe Couleur" and he was right on.

4-I dunno...

5-You left out Gaspésie Park!!! This a great place if you love nature. Unfortunately, you'll be too early to hike Mont-Albert or Jacques-Cartier because the trails will still be closed to protect the cariboos. You can hike part of the trail to Mont-Albert though. Only the summit is closed. You need good legs. There are still other great trails to hike and even if you're not into hiking, I recommend walking the short and easy (under a mile) trail to "Lac Aux Américains". It's best viewed in late afternoon evening. You can visit the park based from Ste-Anne-des-Monts (an easy 40km) or better yet, the Gîte du Mont Albert, which is at the heart of the park.

I'm not very familiar with the Baie-des-Chaleur and never did hang-gliding.

Some sites of interest are for provicial park and for Forillon.
Erick_L is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 10:57 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 71
Eric L. - Thank you for your detailed response. The web sites were also helpful.

I had overlooked Gaspésie park as it is not shown on either of my maps! We have a long drive from Quebec City to Ste-Anne-Des-Monts and then another long drive to Cap-des-Rosiers. Do you think Gaspésie park warrants an extra day's stay in Ste-Anne-Des-Monts?

Forillon park looks great. Do you think 4 hours is a good estimate for driving time between Ste-Anne-Des-Monts and Cap-des-Rosiers (I drive slowly)? If we stay in Cap-des-Rosiers for two nights to allow for an entire day in Forillon park would you recommend stopping in Gaspé for a night or driving through to Percé?

If you have any other specific recommendations for lodging, eating, or anything else I would love to hear them. Thanks for all of your help. Does this itinerary look right as far as driving times? Is there anything else I have overlooked?

Hartford, CT.
Sun. Montreal - 5 hrs.
Mon. Montreal - 0 hrs.
Tues. Quebec City - 2 1/2 hrs.
Wed. Quebec City - 0 hrs.
Thurs. Ste-Anne-des-Monts or Gîte du Mont Albert - 7 hrs.
Fri. Gaspésie Park - 0 hrs.
Sat. Cap-des-Rosiers - 4 hrs.
(Forillon Park)
Sun. Cap-des-Rosiers
(Forillon Park) - 0 hrs.
Mon. Perce - 1 hr.
Tues. Campbellton - 4 hrs.
Wed. Bangor - 7 hrs.
Thurs. Hartford - 5 hrs.
JWitt is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I drove around the Peninsula a few years ago. You need to be ready to pay cash at least once.
I ate at a nice place that accepted some Quebec bank card only.

I do not however understand your exchange rate question/concern. If you charge something on a credit card, your purchase is exchanged into dollars.

If you need more spending money, go to a bank ATM and withdraw on your ATM card. Basically you will be charged 1% above the bank wholesale exchange rate. In fact, if you have a credit card issued by a bank that slaps on an extra 2% for doing essentially nothing, you could be worse off using your credit card.
I carry a card issued by MNBA just to avoid the extra charge. (It is also good for gasoline discounts in the States.)

I was far less concerned about safety out there than I am in any metropolitan area in the USA. I think it is a useless to think you would be at greater risk there.

If you have a lap top, how do yu use to organize your trip? I travel all over Canada and the USA without one and don;t miss it. Yet I am glued to my machine at home. Just where would you use it other than your motel? How do you communicate with an Internet provider? I suppose AOL has a number useable from the Gaspe.

As for your time estimates, I failed to see any place on the whole trip that was worth 3 nights. I spent two nights total, and wished I had allowed a 3rd night between Quebec City and New Brunwick.

Some of that conclusion can be explained, however, by the slowness of the roads. I knew they were narrow and two-laned, but I underestimated them.
Some of the downhill pitches are as great as 17 degrees. Fortunately, the distance was relatively short.

bob_brown is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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Posts: 71
Bob - This is the first major road trip I have ever planned so forgive me if I am going a little overboard with the planning. Since I have found most of my info for this trip from the internet I was thinking it might be easier to store everything on my laptop rather than buy and carry books. I have decided to use a small notebook to write down some notes to myself instead.

I am sure that we could make it around the peninsula in three nights. I was thinking we might want to spend an extra night in Forillon Park to take a rest from all the driving and really soak in the beautiful scenery. We might leave that decision until we get there.

As far as credit cards go, I was under the impression that they offered the best exchange rate. Maybe I was wrong, I will have to look into that. We are planning on starting out with $400-$500 Canadian dollars.

Thanks for your continued input.
JWitt is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 129
About hang-gliding in Mont-St-Pierre, no previous training is necessary, but there is a weight limit, as you fly with the instructor (sorry I forgot how many pounds... my husband, who was close to 200 lbs, could not go). It also depends on the wind conditions, etc.

ventdest is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 01:13 PM
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Thanks again ventdest. Did you go hang gliding? Do you know anything about related safety? It sounds like a great experience. Weight would not be a problem as me and my gf barely break 200 lbs combined.
JWitt is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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As ventdest says, you fly with an instructor if you have no experience (tandem flying). We were at the top of Mont-Saint-Pierre a couple of years ago when of group of young women were celebrating a birthday by taking turns hang gliding. I could not look as they went over the edge, as my stomach wanted to drop. Obviously not for me.

My 2003-2004 Gaspésie guide lists Carrefour Aventure (I think they take you up) 418-797-5033 and the Hang Gliding Information Centre 418-797-2222. Sorry, no web addresses, and both say they open end of June but give them a try, or if you are driving by...
JQReports is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
On the money issue, two years ago I tried to figure out exactly how much I was getting when I used my ATM cards and when I used my credit cards.
My credit card is issued by MNBA and does NOT, so far, charge extra for conversions someother agency makes.

I looked at each charge receipt in Canadian Dollars and each conversion anount to US dollars. I then looked up the range of exchange rates for the posting date of each transaction.

As near as I could tell, each charge was converted at the wholesale bank rate of exchange plus 1%, which is the standard Visa fee.

I also did the same calculations with ATM withdrawals. I never could quite reproduce the exchange rate exactly, but that is another story.
The rate I got was always less than the highest for the day, but greater than the lowest, all plus 1%.

I can see keeping a dairy on a laptop.
But I find pictures to be better, except that you need to remember what you took.

I went by Forillon Park, but it failed to really hold my interest.

I spent the first night at Ste. Anne du Mont and the next one at New Carlisle.
It took me all day to drive from Ste. Anne du Mont to Perce. I should have booked a night near Perce and then perhaps another along the south shore.

That extra night would have given me time to dawdle more in Perce.
I was there at the wrong time and the wrong tide to wade out to the rock itself. Not sure I would have done so anyhow,but I did not have the opportunity.

As it was we spent 3 days on the Gaspe, and another night would have given us a 4th one.

I guess I kept trading the Gaspe off against the Canadian Rockies and Switzerland and figured it was a poor use of time and money.

At least the trip satisfied my curiosity, and the urge to return has yet to strike me.

bob_brown is offline  
May 15th, 2004, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 218
Your driving estimates are good, even a little slow but slower is better.

If you like serious hiking, Gaspésie park is a better place than Forillon. Even though the summit of Mont Albert is closed to hikers, you can still hike to "La Serpentine". Another good (steep) hike would be Mont Joseph-Fortin.

Whatever you do, I think staying at the Gîte du Mont-Albert instead of Ste-Anne-des-Monts is better, unless the Gîte is too expensive (don't know the price). And wether you're a good hiker or not, I would do the short hike to "Lac aux Américains". If you sleep in the park and hike to the Lake in the morning, you'll still have plenty of time to drive to Cap Des-Rosiers.

Take a full day in Forillon. You can pack in the morning and slowly make your way towards Gaspé. If the weather is good and can wake-up *insanely* early, go watch the sunrise on the cliffs, then hike up Mont St-Alban. It's very steep but short. There are many other small hikes in the park. Drive to Anse-Blanchette and hike to Cap Gaspé (easy).

I would spend the night in Gaspé so you can walk in town a bit and drive to Percé during daytime. Stop at "Café Couleur" around Barachois.

So, here's what I would do:
1- Quebec City - Gîte du Mont Albert
2- morning - hike in Gaspésie park, afternon/ evening drive to Cap des-Rosiers.
3- Forillon - North side first in the morning, south side in afternoon, drive and stay in Gaspé in the evening.
4- Drive to Percé, stop at "Café Couleur". Spend night in Percé.
5- Can't help much frome there...

That's just my opinion, i'n not a travel agent. You can always skip Gaspé if you find Forillon boring, or add a night at the Gîte or in Ste-Anne des-Monts if you do some serious hiking in Gaspésie park or plan to hang-glide in Mont-St-Pierre.

Stop in a tourist information and take the tourist guide for Gaspésie. I't s a very handy Booklet with info on every accomodation. It includes a small map at the end.

If you see someone photographing with tripod and a Red Dodge Neon in Forillon, it could be me. I'll be in Gaspé from june 3rd to 10th.

Have a nice trip!
Erick_L is offline  

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