L'île aux Lièvres: for a short trip away from it all

Lièvres Island: for a short trip away from it all

UPGRADE DAY

Wild rose bushes, tranquil shores, hiking trails and views of the Charlevoix mountains: 10 kilometers off Rivière-du-Loup, Île aux Lièvres is a secluded little treasure which is discovered at the rhythm of the tides.

13 kilometers long, Île aux Lièvres has no roads or inhabitants other than its eider ducks, seals and small mammals. But there are different types of accommodation: 25 wilderness campsites, located between a few minutes and four hours' walk from the landing stage; seven bright chalets on the edge of the water; and a small hostel that has just been renovated.

“COVID forced us to close the hostel, so we took the opportunity to do the work,” explains Mélanie Doré, communications and marketing manager at Société Duvetnor, the non-profit organization behind the ecotourism offer and the conservation of the island and its neighbours. 

All wood-clad, the Auberge du Lièvre has nine cozy rooms with private bathrooms, five of which have balconies. The establishment also has a common terrace from where you can see the St. Lawrence between the trees and a lounge-library where you can chat with other visitors.

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Gourmet stays at the inn include breakfasts and suppers (four courses) in the dining room as well as lunch boxes for midday meals. The table has been raised compared to what was offered before, with main courses such as “rabbit confit with balsam fir” or “bourgots with cream of clams and beans”.

Hiking with the estuary

If there is something to enjoy, the main attractions of the island remain its wild and protected nature, where shelter common eiders particularly valuable for their plumage, and hiking options.

Although it is rather flat, the island territory offers trails of varying levels totaling 45 kilometres. The largest route, La Grande Course, crosses the island from one end to the other through beaches, ledges, marine forests, wildflowers and rocky shores.

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Those who don't want to embark on such a long tour (14.5 km one way) can opt for a nice loop via the Mer Sud and Mer Nord trails.

Along this course, where you almost always have your eyes on the water, you walk both on the north side of the island, which faces Charlevoix and which often sees minke whales pass by, and on the rocky south coast, from where you can see the neighboring islands of Pot à l'Eau-de-Vie, where guillemots and razorbills nest and where there is a historic lighthouse where you can also stay.

Peaceful

What is striking no matter which tracks you take is the great peace that envelops them and their great tranquility.

“We meet people just a little at the reception, says Mélanie Doré of Duvetnor, speaking of the wharf where the boats dock and the small café next to it. On the trails, you often have the impression of being alone, even when there are customers, even when everything is full.”

In fact, when all the campsites, cabins and rooms of the inn are reserved, less than 100 visitors come and go on the shores of Île aux Lièvres. To these must be added day hikers, who can book a crossing, but whose number is limited both by the organization and the fluctuating tide schedule.

A calm and precious place , therefore, from which we have enough to come back well appeased.

 Practical information

  • The 2022 season at Île aux Lièvres takes place from June 3 to September 25.
  • At the time of writing this, it is still possible to reserve for this summer, at the inn, at the campsite or in the cabin. This is also the case for stays at the Pot à L'Eau-de-Vie lighthouse, in the neighboring archipelago.
  • Packages at the Auberge du lièvre are free from $540 per adult for a 2-night stay including meals and crossings.
  • Day trips for hiking at Île aux Lièvres last between 3 hours and 9 a.m., depending on the tides. The cost is $60 per adult for the round trip crossing. Reservations are required.
  • For more information: duvetnor.com