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A South Floridian in the Laurentians

A South Floridian in the Laurentians

During our visit to Montreal, we decide to take a day trip and venture into the Laurentian Mountains for the scenery and a chance to see extraordinary Autumn foliage.

We depart early after a substantial breakfast. We take Route 15 for the 130 kms (80 miles) to Mont Tremblant National Park. We stop at a very comprehensive tourist information office at Saint-Jerome and come out with far more information than we could ever need for a one-day jaunt!

By 11:00 am we are arriving at Mont Tremblant, the best of mountain resorts in the Province of Quebec. As one drives north the heavily wooded mountains get higher, but similar to New England, these are rounded ancient mountains, not sharp and spectacular peaks such as the Rockies or Alps.

Before arriving at the town, we stop and stroll along an attractive lakeside path. This is part of a “rails to trails” project. Once “Le P’tit Train du Nord” ran 200 kms from Montreal to Saint-Laurent right through all the resorts in the Laurentian Mountains. Now it’s a marvelous trail for biking and hiking. The idea that you can now cycle 120 miles through beautiful scenery downhill all the way on a smooth trail is indeed remarkable. We see some of the most colourful fall foliage of our whole trip along this lovely trail. Canada Trails - Le P'tit Train du Nord

After driving through “old” Mt. Tremblant, we arrive at the new resort area. This is a spanking new development. The whole mountain village is built in typical Québécois style as an integral complex of lovely condominiums and hotels, shops and restaurants on pedestrian precincts, all overshadowed by the ski slopes. It’s a summer and winter destination, very attractive and photogenic.

After some refreshments and a walk around the town, we decide to ascend by cable car to the 875 mt. (2,871 ft) summit of Mont Tremblant. It’s a glorious day, sunny and clear. We could not ask for better weather. As we ride in the gondola, we see lots of people climbing the paths to the top. It looks like awfully hard work, and perhaps once upon a time we would have enjoyed doing this. The views for the top are spectacular over the 22,000 sq. km of national park cloaked in dazzling autumn foliage, and the bustling town down below.

Returning to Montreal, we decide to enter a local supermarket to buy some lunch supplies. What a surprise. It seems like we have flown from North America to France as soon as we walk through the door. Virtually everything is in French, and the products on display are exactly what you would expect to find in a Parisian supermarket. Miryam was able to purchase her favourite black olives from barrels, something unheard of in the U.S. Although I looked for my “Marmite”, I was only able to find “Vegemite”, the Australian equivalent.

By 8:00 pm we are back in Montreal and enjoying the wonderful French-Canadian cuisine.

Martin Crossland
Miami Springs FL USA
Miami Beach Travel Guide