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Riding your motorcycle along the St. Lawrence River on this 1,288 km (800 mi) stretch of twisty roads can be an exciting prospect. It can be completed in 19 hours riding non-stop --perhaps a little crazy-- or with plenty of stopovers and sightseeing on a fun filled weekend. The entire route sits on Québec Route 138 also known as Chemin du Roy or ‟The King's Highway”. It follows along North shore of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf of St. Lawrence from Montréal to Québec City to Natashquan.
Start in Montréal, the second largest city in Canada next to Toronto. It's a metropolis of 3,825,000 people, with the main city located on the Island of Montréal within the St. Lawrence River. Steeped in history, originally called Ville-Marie the city was founded in 1642. The name Montréal comes from the 3 peaked hill located within the city called Mount Royal. The city is full of fantastic examples of many styles of architecture, for those who are interested, they include: Notre Dame de Basilica, Olympic Stadium, the pavilions of Expo 67 and many more.
From Montréal to Trois-Rivières ride on The King's Highway Northeast for 140 km (87 mi). Pass through the towns of Charlemagne, Saint Laurent-du-Fleuve and Bethierville. The road here is more scenic than the more direct route on Route 40. The King's Highway snakes along the St. Lawrence for a much more satisfying motorcycle ride.
Trois-Rivières is a city of 131,000 people located between Montréal and Québec City. The city was the second settlement of New France in 1634, the first being Québec City. The city name is French for three rivers, named so for the Saint-Maurice river that divides into three mouths on the St. Lawrence. If you're a history buff, be sure to check out the Québec Museum of Folk Culture. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Trois Rivières see: www.v3r.net
From Trois Rivières to Québec City continue riding Northeast for 129 km (80.2 mi). The road continues to follow along the river, which means plenty of opportunities to practice your leaning in the bends. This route will take you through many small towns including Champlain, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, and Donnacona.
Québec City is a metropolis of 765,000 people located on the Northern bank of the St. Lawrence. It is the oldest French settlement in Canada, dating back to 1608 and founded by Samuel de Champlain. For more information on the deep history of Québec City see: www.en.wikipedia/wiki/ HistoryofQuébec_City
Dominating the city's skyline, Château Frontenac is the most popular attraction in the city. It was built in 1893 and has since gone through many additions and renovations. Designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980, it was used as a filming location for Alfred Hitchcock's film ‟I Confess”. Another popular attraction is the Walls or ramparts that surround Old Québec City; these are a part of a UNESCO World heritage site since 1985. With a seemingly endless array of things to do, Québec City is a great place to stay and a wonderful part of your journey on the St. Lawrence. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Québec City see: www.ville.Québec.qc.ca
From Québec City riders will be heading to Baie-Comeau by continuing Northeast on The King's Highway for 214 km (xx mi). Take the Ferry to Tadoussac then continue Northeast for 201 km (124.9 mi). Passing through the towns of Baie- Saint-Paul, Saint Siméon, Tadoussac, Longue-Rive, and Forestville. The roads between Québec City and Tadoussac are full of curves, many sweeping turns, and elevation changes as the road moves away from the river and travels through the beautiful hills of the Charlevoix region. The ride from Tadoussac to Beau- Comeau is very twisty and snakes along The Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Many people who ride along this section of the highway have been lucky to see whales in the Gulf.
Baie Comeau is a town of 29,000 people located approximately 80 km (49.7 mi) North, across the water from Rimouski. The town is the birthplace of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and home to Québec Naturalist Napoléon- Alexandre Comeau, which the town was named for. Just 15 minutes from Baie Comeau is the popular ski resort Centre de Ski du Mont-Tibasse. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Baie Comean see : www.ville.baie-comeau.qc.ca
From Baie-Comeau continue Eastbound to Sept-ÃŽles for 236 km (146.6 mi). The first 1/3 of the road between Baie-Comeau and Sept Iles continues to offer up twisties riders can push themselves on; for the remainder of the road along the coast things straighten up and allows riders an opportunity to enjoy beautiful views of the Gulf with the occassional whale or two --if you're there at the right season. Along this route riders will pass through the towns of Godbout, Baie-Trinite, and Port-Cartier-Ouest.
Sept-ÃŽles is the Northern most Québec town with any significant population, the town has 25,700 people. The town gets its name from it's geographic situation overlooking seven islands. For history buffs, visit the Museum where they focus on the original occupants of the town 'The Innu Nation'. The town recently had a boost in tourism after the Cruise Ships, Ms Maasdam and Norwegian Spirit stopped over. Construction of a new 20 million dollar wharf to accommodate cruise ships is being built here as a result. If you happen to make it out to Sept-ÃŽles before the arrival of significant cruise ship tourism to the town, feel free to brag about your time here 'in the old days'!
From Sept-ÃŽles riders will make the final leg of their journey to finish this route in the town of Natashquan. Travel the final 368 km (228.7 mi) passing through Havre-Saint-Pierre. The road here snakes along the coast as you ride along the Gulf with spectacular views of the water and Anticosti Island in the distance.
Natashquan a town of about 250 people, and is the Eastern terminus of The King's Highway. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in the area see: www.natashquan.org and www.havresaintpierre.com
For a great Bed & Breakfast to stay at before you leave Montreal see: