In Quebec’s scenic Charlevoix region, La Malbaie was Canada’s first resort. Known as Murray Bay to the wealthy Americans who holidayed here from the late 19th-century onwards, the grand Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu is a testament to the era of the Gilded Age. Known as the “Castle on the Cliff,” this deluxe 19th-century resort is also home to a 27-hole golf course which overlooks the St Lawrence River and hills beyond. Just next to the Fairmont, the Casino de Charlevoix is another popular visit.
For a taste of the old days, wander Chemin des Falaises, where North America’s elite, including former US president William Howard Taft, built their grand summer retreats. For arts and culture, Pointe-au-Pic’s renowned Musée de Charlevoix explores the history of Charlevoix in its permanent exhibition, ‘Belonging’, and is also known for its rich folk art. The Church of La Malbaie, by City Hall, is also worth visiting.
Surrounded by mountains and hills at the mouth of the St Lawrence River, La Malbaie is also popular with hikers, kayakers, and bikers.Today La Malbaie is the collective name for five former municipalities: Rivière-Malbaie (which includes the Mont Grand Fonds ski center), Sainte-Agnès, Cap-à-l’Aigle, Saint-Fidèle, and Pointe-au-Pic, and together these hamlets add up to having a population of just over 9,000.
To get to La Malbaie from Quebec City, it’s a two-hour drive northeast by car. From spring to fall, Le Massif de Charlevoix train will also take you to La Malbaie.