The perfect summer day: fresh air and a picnic in Gatineau

Published on June 26 2023

The sunny days are lining up, the opportunities to get together with friends are multiplying and there’s more time to spend with family. Picnic season is officially open, and so is the season for outdoor summer activities! Pack a basket of local gourmet products and enjoy Gatineau’s outdoor spaces.

Gatineau offers the best of both worlds: nature, wide open spaces and the great outdoors in the heart of a vibrant urban centre known for its services and accessibility. This summer, take advantage of this happy combination of city and country to visit Gatineau’s many outdoor spaces. Cycling, hiking, beaches and water sports: you have lots of options!

Outdoor playgrounds for all ages

The city’s two outdoor centres, Lac-Leamy and Lac-Beauchamp, offer water sports equipment rental in a beautiful setting where you can enjoy nature to the max. There are walking trails, and lakes where you can cool off and practise your favourite aquatic activities.

The three Relais plein air locations offer visitors a complete experience. From introductory lessons to guided hikes and equipment rental, you’ll find everything you need to make the most of the great outdoors under the summer sun. The Relais plein air in Gatineau Park has a café with a varied and tempting menu, and if you’re a keen cyclist, you’ll find plenty of trails to satisfy your thirst for kilometres. Good to know: you can rent mountain bikes and hybrid power-assisted bikes. The Relais plein air at the Robert Middlemiss Pavilion in Aylmer rents water sports equipment and provides access to the beach at Des Cèdres Park. The third location, in Moussette Park, offers guided water sports activities. Catch the wave!

The Buckingham sector deserves a mention, too, with the Centre Nautique de la Lièvre! The centre organizes some unusual activities, including moonlight outings on the water and paddleboard yoga classes. If you’re a beginner, introductory lessons are available. Of course, you can also rent boats, paddleboards and equipment on site.

Good to know

With your Accès Gatineau + card, you can rent outdoor equipment free of charge at various sites throughout the territory.

Once you’ve used up all your energy, it’s time to relax! Make yourself comfortable on a beach or in a green space, dig into your basket of local delicacies, and enjoy summer to the fullest.

Time for a picnic

Speaking of local fare, be sure to make a few gourmet stops along the way to stock up on picnic treats! Maison Oddo has mastered the art of pastry-making and baking. The pastries, desserts, breads and takeout meals will impress even the most discerning palates with their attention to detail and the use of top-quality local ingredients. It’s hard not to get hooked on the escargots—unique pastries made with fine croissant dough and topped with flavoured cream. Try the delectable croissants, flaky scones and decadent biscuits. Baguette? Sourdough? Focaccia? It’s so hard to choose! Peruse the takeout menu to complete your picnic feast. Freshness, elegance and craftsmanship are the perfect adjectives to describe Maison Oddo. Quite simply, their products invite you to savour the moment!

Now that the food is organized, it’s time to think about the drinks. What could be more summery than a delicious tart lemonade? Monsieur Limonade will tell you: nothing! And we couldn’t agree more. This family-run business makes homemade lemonade using fresh, natural ingredients. Just lemony enough, perfectly balanced and aromatic, their lemonades will become picnic essentials. If you can’t decide between the classic lemonade and the strawberry lemonade, just try both!


After such a great day, you’ll want to repeat the experience as often as possible over the summer! And that’s absolutely fine, because Gatineau’s outdoor centres are open to welcome you all summer long. Ready for a road trip? Discover the Chemins d’eau tourist route!

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