Lodging, distilleries and microbreweries, maritime parks and natural beaches: the Centre-du-Québec region is clearly the most underestimated tourist region in Quebec! Here is everything you need to know to put Centre-du-Québec at the top of your list of destinations to visit in Quebec!
When you look at a map, you wonder why Centre-du-Québec is named that way: the region is not at all in the center of the Belle Province! Then you realize that Centre-du-Québec is located right between Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières and Sherbrooke. Quite central, after all!
To the north, Centre-du-Québec extends slightly beyond the St. Lawrence River. The regions of Montérégie, Eastern Townships and Chaudière-Appalaches border the other limits of Centre-du-Québec.
Primarily rural, the Centre-du-Québec includes major cities such as Drummondville and Victoriaville and several small towns such as Nicolet, Plessisville and Bécancour.
Its relief, sometimes maritime, sometimes mountainous, makes it an impressive playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Its rivers and immense forests also make it a favourite place to get closer to nature!
The Centre-du-Québec is much more than fields and a rest stop with dinosaurs! To make your next visit memorable, here are 10 activities that will transform your vision of the Centre-du-Québec:
Biergarten: German term for an open-air brewery, where you can eat your own food and order your beer from the brewers on site. In Plessisville, the concept has been taken up at the Biergarten de l'Île, in the middle of the Bourbon River!
Located on an island in the heart of the village of Plessisville, the Biergarten is accessed by a pretty little footbridge. On the island, there is a bar offering a wide selection of microbrewery beers from all over Quebec! You can bring your lunch or order food on the spot. Barbecues are even available if you wish to grill your meal!
Family and relaxed atmosphere, the children can play in the games set up on the spot while you sip a local beer in front of the outdoor fireplace!
Mont Arthabaska Park offers a breathtaking view of the Centre-du-Québec region. In addition to its breathtaking observation points, a variety of outdoor activities are offered.
Open 12 months a year, Mont Arthabaska Park can be visited in summer and winter! In the summer, you can go hiking, mountain biking, cani-cross and wildlife observation. A climbing wall for children allows even your youngest ones to get familiar with climbing!
In the winter, enjoy tubing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing! Access is free for all activities.
The Village québécois d'Antan is a real trip back in time and a must-see in the Centre-du-Québec! You will learn what rural life was like from 1810 to 1930 through life-size reconstructions. With its four themes evolving with the seasons, the Village is definitely a family activity rich in learning for the youngest!
In winter, the Desjardins Illuminated Village features an impressive array of Christmas lights (25,000 bulbs)! Your children can meet Santa and his elves. You can start your holiday shopping at the on-site Christmas market!
In March and April, visit the Sweet Village! The Village is like a sugar shack, with all-you-can-eat traditional meals in addition to the usual tour!
In Drummondville, there's no age limit to climb trees and play monkey! D'arbre en Arbre Drummondville offers several hebertism courses with levels adapted to the whole family. Footbridges, zip lines, suspension bridges and climbing trees are all there!
To give you an idea of the scope of the courses offered, the flagship circuit is composed of no less than 54 activities, including 7 zip lines! Your children will not be left out: they will certainly spend their excess energy in the 20 activities of the Little Adventurers course!
If there is one debate that will never be closed in Quebec, it is the one about the origins of poutine! Even if Drummondville, Victoriaville and Princeville have been fighting over the invention of poutine for 50 years, everyone agrees on one thing: poutine was indeed invented in the Centre-du-Québec!
The birthplace of poutine is most likely the restaurant Le Roy Jucep, in Drummondville. A former dairy bar transformed into a diner at the turn of the 1960s, Le Roy Jucep offers a real return to the era of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.
Because poutine is not a joke, Le Roy Jucep has even registered the trademark "the inventor of poutine". If you can taste the original version of poutine, with its secret sauce developed 60 years ago, you can also choose from a variety of 26 poutines!
A wind of renewal is currently blowing through Downtown Drummondville and this is to the advantage of those who dare to visit it! Great restaurants are appearing, jewels of the past are being restored, and the tourist offer is growing at an exponential rate.
The Art Deco Capitol Cinema, built in 1937, is a heritage building. In the heart of downtown, you can stroll through Woodyatt Park (home to the Île aux Fesses), along the Saint-François River. Stroll through the Desjardins Museum of Photography, enjoy tapas at Le Baboune bar and make interesting finds at La Grange des Artisans.
Textile manufacturing has played an important role in the history of a part of the Centre-du-Québec. You can revisit this era by visiting Ulverton's Wool Mill, a few minutes from Drummondville.
As its name indicates, the mill was once used to spin and card sheep's wool. The period equipment, now restored, is still functional and will be presented to you during the visit. A covered bridge with a fascinating history and beautiful paths on the site will allow you to have a good time.
The Distillerie du Quai, in Bécancour, is one of the few gin distilleries in Quebec. More of a pleasant stop than an activity in itself, it is well worth a visit! Here, we are very serious about gin. To the point where we think that playing a certain playlist positively influences the taste of the gin we distill!
A stop at the small music studio distillery is the perfect opportunity to meet the passionate people behind Supersonic Gin! You can taste the product on-site, stock up on it, and even visit the facilities used to make it. A vault converted into an exhibition room on the history of Bécancour is also accessible to visitors.
While you are in Bécancour and in tasting mode, a visit to the vineyard Le Fief de la Rivière should be on your list! Owned by a family of wine enthusiasts that you are sure to meet during your visit, Le Fief de la Rivière is the source of the 8 different Globul wines.
The tasting will allow you to sample the products of your choice, ranging from white and red wines to maple fortified wines. You can also picnic on site and venture into the vineyard for a walk in a perfectly enchanting setting!
The Ecomaritime de l'Anse-du-Port Park, in Nicolet, is located directly on the St. Lawrence River. As you walk along its nearly one kilometer long footbridge, you will literally have the impression of flying over the Anse's flood zone. At the end of the footbridge, facing Lake Saint-Pierre, you will find a 40-foot high observation tower.
An ideal place to observe the maritime flora and fauna of the St. Lawrence, you can also walk along the trails specially built on the site.
A wild beach is also accessible. Bring your picnic and enjoy a moment of tranquility by the water!
With its proximity to water, nature and a ton of activities to discover, the Centre-du-Québec is the ideal place to rent a cottage. There are cottages for groups of all sizes, many with spas! From log cabins to luxurious contemporary cottages, the Centre-du-Québec has no shortage of cottage choices!