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Canada: Making tracks to Quebec's Le Massif de Charlevoix

December 13, 2012|By Jay Jones
  • A passenger train carrying skiers and sightseers through frozen Quebec province travels along the St. Lawrence Seaway on the way to Le Massif de Charlevoix ski resort.
A passenger train carrying skiers and sightseers through frozen Quebec… (Le Massif de Charlevoix…)

A ski vacation deep in the heart of Francophone Quebec is an adventure in its own right. But at Le Massif de Charlevoix, a year-round resort about 90 miles northeast of Quebec City, getting to the slopes by rail adds to the experience.

Not content to open a resort amid spectacular scenery overlooking the broad and beautiful St. Lawrence Seaway, the owners created their own railway to ferry passengers between Quebec City, the provincial capital, and the 350-year-old village of Baie-Saint-Paul. Through much of the 87-mile journey, the train hugs the shoreline. The modern railcars feature large windows to maximize the views.

During the  3 1/2-hour journey, passengers can sample regional cuisine from menus created by Executive Chef Patrick Turcot. A gourmet breakfast is offered on morning trips from the capital. In the evening, return passengers can choose tapas or a four-course dinner.

Various winter packages catering to sightseers and skiers will be offered beginning in mid-December. A weekend rail-and-hotel package with a Saturday-night stay at the new Hôtel La Ferme in Baie-Saint-Paul costs about $400 for two people. It’s only steps from the train station to hotel check-in, since the depot is part of the purpose-built complex.

For skiers, deals include lift tickets and transportation between the hotel and the base of the mountain. From there, a gondola takes skiers to the summit.

Construction is underway on chic, modern lodging units at the bottom of -- and on -- the mountain. Twelve three-bedroom river homes are rising along the St. Lawrence, and 64 more stylish chalets will be dotted throughout the hillside forest. To reduce their environmental footprint, the chalets will be built on stilts.

More info on the train, the ski resort and lodging options is available at the Le Massif de Charlevoix site.

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