Facing Châteauguay, once you have crossed the small bridge leading to Île Saint-Bernard, there are no more roads or streets. We find ourselves on a peaceful estate with a view of Lake Saint-Louis, which once belonged to the Gray Nuns and has become a municipal park.
The site borders the Marguerite-D’Youville wildlife refuge covering most of the island.
You can access the paths of the refuge from the back of the Café de l'île. Before going for a walk, I drank an ice cold matcha lemonade. It is refreshing.
The beginning of the route runs along fields and then enters denser woods. Looks like the jungle. As the trail got closer to the lake, I heard the waves rolling on Le Grillon beach, pushed by the offshore wind. The breeze and the shade brought a pleasant freshness.
Along the way, I saw flamboyant cardinals, a carefree turkey and a deer lying back from the path. On the big dike, there were fences on the floor to protect turtle nests.
Back to the riverside trail, I took a 300 meter long footbridge through a flooded forest. On the other side, the path narrows to lead to the northern tip. A completely different panorama of the lake is offered to us, with Montreal and Mount Royal on the horizon.
Delights and relaxation
At the Café de l’île, I lingered in the displays of local products. I let myself be tempted by the honey of the island, from the hives nearby. The bees having access to the apple trees on the mound and to the wild plants of the refuge, this honey is really tasty and tasty.
I also stopped at La Traite bistro, so named because it was a former dairy and also a place of exchange between European explorers and Amerindians. They serve a wide variety of beers. One of the specialties on the menu: the Youville burger, with hormone-free, grass-fed beef.
The Manoir D'Youville is just a few steps away. What was a former resting place for the Sisters has become a hotel with modest, budget rooms. On the tip of the island, you can contemplate exceptional sunsets, among the most beautiful in Quebec.
At the edge of the vast Saint-François lake, the beach with its palapas has a southern air. We play volleyball or we challenge ourselves on the floating water course. It is possible to rent a charcoal barbecue stove.
HAVE FUN ON THE RICHELIEU
The L'Estacade outdoor center in Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix rents canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. The establishment also offers dinghy sailing lessons. The view of the Richelieu is magnificent.
Alain Demers is the author of the book Rediscovering Quebec: 101 destinations, published by Éditions du Journal.