Isle-aux-Coudes is located off the shore of Charlevoix on the St. Lawrence River. The 23km island is known for its cycling adventure and splendid views of the Charlevoix hills and mountains. The short free-of-charge ferry boat ride with the car is a nice experience. During the summertime you can enjoy many festivals and events on the island. It is part of La Route des Saveurs (a culinary route) with featured local producers and restaurants in the area.
How to get there:
Address of ferry terminal: 750 du Quai rd, Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, G0A 3Y0, QC
In order to reach the island, a ferry boat ride is needed – Traverse L’Isle-aux-Coudres–Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive. The ferry is free of charge and operates all year long with 20 minutes crossing time and 3.7km journey. In general, the ferry operates every 1/2 hour or 1h (in the evenings) from 6am to 11pm. Please check their website for the exact schedule. About 50 cars can fit on the ferry. You can step out of the car to enjoy the views from the lower or upper decks. Upper deck has a sitting area inside.
Please note that the ferry ride can be very windy. Queuing time to board the ferry can be long, depends on the time and the season, therefore it is worth planning in advance when to board.
Drive: From Quebec City about 2h (including ferry), From Montreal about 4h30.
Region: Capitale Nationale
Our first stop was, of course, food. We stopped at this bakery for a quick lunch.
Address: 1648 Chemin des Coudriers, L’Isle-aux-Coudres, G0A 1X0, QC
The bakery is located on the south tip of the island. It has outdoor picnic tables and also a sitting area protected from the rain.
Le Moulins de L’Isle-aux-Coudres
Address: 36, chemin du Moulin, Isle-aux-coudres, G0A 1X0, QC
This is a historical site, with two mills – water and wind mill, built in 1825 and 1836 (respectively). We had a guided tour (in French) with explanations about the techniques used and the history of the people in the island, 200 years ago.
Address: 2926 Chemin des Coudriers, La Baleine, G0A 2A0, QC
This rental shop is considered to have the largest selection of bicycles in North America with many options to choose from: hybrid, city, tandem, quadricycle and bike with a trailer. No reservation is needed. We were 9 people and we took two Quadricycle for 4 adults with seats for the 2 kids (not cycling).
Prices are based on the type of bicycle and an hourly/daily rate. Please check rates on the website. Opening hours during high season 9am to 6pm.
Since the shop is located on the north tip of the island, you can either go to the east part of the island or the west part. We choose the east part – a ride for about an hour with mostly flat terrain – first part on the road and then on a dead-end path along the shore (we felt it was safer with kids). If you wish to cycle longer, choose the west ride which is mostly on the road, with flat terrain along the shore.
The ride was super fun and the views of Charlevoix mountains were wonderful. The path goes along some very special houses with unique sculputures.
There is a souvernir shop near the Velo Coudres and picnic tables are available nearby.
Check out the Isle-aux-Coudres tourism website with information about lodging, restaurants and events.