The Québec maritime Blog

What to See and Do on Vacation in Percé
  • Impressive Percé Rock, in Gaspésie
    Mathieu Dupuis

What to See and Do on Vacation in Percé

From Sainte-Flavie, Route 132 loops around the coastline of the Gaspé Peninsula. Whether you drive around the north side of the region in a clockwise direction or head south towards Chaleur Bay, you will eventually wind up in Percé, at the tip of the peninsula, where you will fall under the spell of an exceptionally beautiful area.

Wildlife Observation

Winged divers

With dazzlingly white plumage, eyes outlined in black, yellow-tinged heads and black wingtips, northern gannets dive with great speed to feed on herring and mackerel, sometimes swallowing their catch underwater. These magnificent seabirds may also travel as far as 100 km (60 mi.) from their nests to feed. Large gregarious birds, they plunge like arrows into the water from great heights, much to the delight of spectators. You can admire a colony of 110,000 of these birds in Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé during a hike or sea excursion.

Diving giants

Be sure to also head out to sea with Croisières Julien Cloutier or Les Bateliers de Percé for an incredible experience with the majestic whales of the St. Lawrence. You are very likely to spot the curved dorsal fins of small black minke whales as they dive to feed on schools of krill and fish. These waters are also home to giant fin whales, which are over 20 metres (65 feet) long. These marine mammals dive very smoothly, with barely a ripple on the surface of the water.

National Parks and Natural Sites

Bonaventure Island

Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé protects many rich natural and cultural treasures, including Bonaventure Island, which rises out of the water off Percé. In addition to admiring the most accessible northern gannet colony in the world, you can explore the island’s 15 km (9 mi.) of hiking trails. One trail leads to Baie des Marigots, a sheltered cove used by Basque, Spanish, Norman and Gaspesian cod fishermen over the years. Take part in the “In the Footsteps of the Islanders” activity led by a park warden, who will take you on a tour of some of the houses on the island and tell you about the lives of the islanders.

Fascinating geological history

The Percé UNESCO Global Geopark (Québec’s first UNESCO Global Geopark!) will delight geology buffs, adventure lovers and thrill seekers alike. The visitors centre presents Tektonik, a multimedia experience that explains Percé’s geological history going back 500 million years in a fun and straightforward way that will appeal to the whole family. The park also offers 18 km (11 mi.) of trails that meander all the way to the top of Mt. Sainte-Anne, which overlooks the area. Along the way, over 20 geosites reveal what has shaped the natural beauty of the Malbaie Barachois and Percé Rock as well as a cave and crevice. Do you dare walk out on the glass platform suspended 200 metres (660 feet) above the ground? The view will take your breath away!

Culture and Discoveries

Life in the time of cod fishing

In L’Anse-à-Beaufils, the Magasin Général Historique Authentique 1928 is a former general store that was the heart of the community at the turn of the 20th century. It belonged to the Robin, Jones and Whitman company, which operated along the coast of the region from Paspébiac to Rivière-au-Renard. Today, staff in period costume will take you back in time with humorous anecdotes in this store stocked with authentic old-time merchandise. The Robin, Jones and Whitman company was one of the oldest companies in Canada, along with the Hudson’s Bay Company. For 250 years, it specialized in cod fishing and the sale of dried, salted cod to Europe and South America.

Catch of the day on your plate

Percé is a seafood lover’s paradise! Delicious fresh fish and seafood is available in season at the many fine restaurants and friendly bistros in the area. Near the wharf, La Maison du Pêcheur offers fine cuisine in a dining room bathed in light reflected off the sea.

A stroll through time

Percé’s historical walking tour invites you to take a stroll through time to learn more about the unique history of this village through the centuries. An audio guide offers three walks you can take in a landscape of exceptional beauty. A well-documented app is available at the App Store to accompany you on your walks.

During the summer months, a multitude of events turn Percé into a bustling area. Visit this popular destination in the maritime regions of Québec!

Author Nathalie Le Coz

Nathalie Le Coz has been hiking and canoeing throughout Québec with boundless curiosity and enthusiasm for over 20 years. Her training in anthropology has shaped her view of the world, her reading of old texts and her interest in people and their ways of life. She has worked in museums as well as in the fields of arts and crafts, history and archeology. Since 2007, she has published three books about Québec’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

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