This summer, go on a road trip along the Chemins d’eau!

Published on July 29 2019

The Chemins d’eau (“waterways”) tourist route gives visitors an inside look at the DNA of the Outaouais through its many bodies of water. The region’s first official tourist route, it highlights how the Ottawa River and its main tributaries have shaped the Outaouais—and even the rest of the country.

Plan your next summer road trip

Follow the Chemins d’eau, the first official tourist route in the Outaouais!

Nearly 280 km of roads to explore. Over 90 attractions, restaurants and accommodations to visit. Seven roadside markers to consult. The itinerary options are almost endless, depending on your interests … and the weather!

Myriam Baril-Tessier
Myriam Baril-Tessier

L'Orée du bois Restaurant

Day 1: Destination Chelsea-Wakefield for an active day outdoors

Start your journey with both feet firmly on the water at Eco-Odyssée * in Wakefield. On foot, by paddle boat or by canoe, crisscross the 6-km labyrinth through the marsh. You can choose a route that will teach you to identify different animal species, or go for a leisurely paddle through the habitat and environment of beavers, frogs and turtles.

After all that pedalling/paddling, what could be nicer than a bite to eat on the sunny verandah at the Mackenzie King Estate in Chelsea? Take a trip back in time as you explore the historic ruins and beautiful gardens. Then have tea like a queen while admiring the flowers.

Be sure to drop by La Fab! The Chelsea Arts, Culture and Heritage Centre houses an art gallery, a boutique and nine artists’ studios open to visitors. This former church rectory is one of the cultural highlights of the Chemins d’eau tourist route.

Round out your day in the cozy French atmosphere of L’Orée du Bois restaurant. Start with a glass of a nice private-import wine, then try the scallops in puff pastry. A few years ago the restaurant installed its own traditional smoke house, where it produces maple-smoked meat, poultry and fish. Surely one of its secret weapons. 😉

After this fine meal, it’s time for a restful sleep at Auberge de Mon Petit Chum, a charming B&B in Wakefield. You’ll love the gourmet breakfast!

* Eco-Odyssée is open from mid-June to early September for the general public.

Myriam Baril-Tessier
Myriam Baril-Tessier

Canadian Museum of History

Day 2: Gatineau for fine food and culture

Visit the special exhibition Neanderthal at the Canadian Museum of History, the country’s most visited museum. Discover this species of the human race that inhabited all of Eurasia for 300,000 years, only to vanish mysteriously 30,000 years ago.

Take a few minutes to marvel at the museum’s unique architecture and breathtaking view of Parliament Hill. For a closer look, head down to the river’s edge and hop aboard Au feel de l’eau’s electric Aqua-Taxi. The “Cruise, Eat, Play” package at $39 (value $61), for ages 18+, is a great way to discover the national capital’s most beautiful sights.

In need of a little sustenance? Follow the red line of the Culture Trail to Gainsbourg. This popular bistro and microbrewery won gold at the 2018 World Beer Cup for its Wee Heavy Scotch Ale! Be sure to continue your stroll along the Culture Trail, as you won’t want to miss any of the 25 public artworks.

Afterwards, have dinner at the Rustiek gastropub. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy one of the many Quebec microbrewery beers on the menu. The chef specializes in cuisine inspired by his Dutch origins and prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from local producers. Reflecting seasonal availabilities, the menu changes about every three months, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes.

After a hearty meal, head to the British Hotel in Aylmer. Before you turn in for the night, you can attend a show at Cabaret La Basoche or, if the weather is on your side, go for a riverside stroll in Des Cèdres Park.

Simon Lalande
Simon Lalande

Centre nautique de la Lièvre

Day 3: A full day in the great outdoors

Take Jacques-Cartier Street in Gatineau and view the docks with historical names. Then follow Route 148 towards Buckingham and stop for a bite at the Belga Bistro Bar.

Head to the Lièvre Nautical Centre to rent a canoe, kayak, paddle boat or stand up paddle board (SUP). Sign up for one of their many SUP Yoga and SUP Fitness classes! If you can, go on a moonlight excursion and discover the river by night. This unique experience is followed by a snack, a drink, and live music around the campfire.

You’re all set for an idyllic road trip. All you need is your music!

The Chemins d’eau tourist route features several itineraries for discovering the region’s many attractions. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that culture, gastronomy and a warm welcome will all be part of your next road trip in the Outaouais!

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