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La Beauce - Between you, me and the bedpost

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

This morning, the sky is gray but the temperature is very acceptable. So ... a short ride to enjoy the ever-renewed pleasure of getting on Juliette and going on an adventure.

Beauce, a region without precise borders but which everyone knows. It encompasses the Chaudière River valley from Lac Mégantic to the St. Lawrence River.

The Chaudière, 85 km in length, has created over thousands of years a valley that gives Beauce a very special character and I will have the pleasure of being alongside it all day long.

Welcome to the territory of the “Jarrets Noirs (black hocks)”. A nickname long given to courageous and enterprising people from Beauce. Why “Jarrets Noirs”? If you had walked in the muddy earth of this region in the 18th century, you too would have sunk to your knees and you would have had, like all Beaucerons of the time, the "Jarrets Noirs”

I start at the end ... the place where the river meets the river, the Parc des Chutes de la Chaudière. This urban park is one of the region's most pleasant attractions.

4.5 km of landscaped trails, 35-meter high waterfalls, a 113-meter footbridge and a hydroelectric power station.

I meander along the 173, looking at the gentle river flowing to my right. The same river that makes its own every year by flooding the villages it crosses.

Its flow, at Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon, varies from 11 m3/s to 1760 m3/s. So it goes from the violence of a tyrant to the gentleness of a virgin in less than 4 months.

Attention, the speeds alternate regularly on the Route de la Beauce, 70 km/h, 50, 70, 50, oops… 30. Let's say I have to be careful in order to avoid a ticket.

Short stop at the Saputo nautical park where the Beshro family bridge allows pedestrians and cyclists in summer and snowmobilers and quad riders in winter to access both banks of the Chaudière River.

I arrive at Forgeron d´Or, located in Ste-Marie. I had the pleasure of visiting their store in the Petit Champlain district a few years ago. Their unique works had impressed me and I promised myself a visit to their Economuseum located in Ste-Marie. The moment has finally arrived.

This family business, lovingly managed by Richard, his wife and daughters, has allowed me to discover aspects of jewelry that were unknown to me. Lost wax, casting tree, ...

They also have a specialty, that of giving new life to old jewelry. Whether in changing the style, merging it with a new one or even melting it to make a whole new one with the same metal and the same stones. What a great idea ... to carry the memory of a loved one close to you.

They even have rings made from a piece of meteorite… To offer a piece of a shooting star ...

I continue on my way, passing over the Calway River… of sulphurous reputation. Summer visitors meet there to bathe near the falls. There are two sectors, one with textile and the other… without.

In Notre-Dame des Pins, I stop for a few minutes at the beautiful Pont Couvert Perreault. Built in 1928, this bridge is the longest of its kind in Quebec, 154 meters.

We can no longer cross it, but it remains nonetheless a witness to the past.

It is already time to return to my home. I cross the river to take route 171 towards Quebec.

A short detour to St-Victor to admire the panorama. I'm late to participate in the Western festivities which have been held there every year for over 40 years but, who knows, maybe next year.

In St-Bernard, I stop at Houblon des Jarrets Noirs. This is the dream of a young couple who decided to offer Quebec hops to our microbreweries, you know these charming places that I love to visit. They offer more than 15 varieties of hops, something to delight tasters.

Last stop at the Parc des Chutes de la Chaudière, but on the west side this time. A completely different point of view of this magnificent place, just before leaving Beauce.

The power station, built in 1901, was used to supply the south shore of Quebec and it generated 3,500 kW. It was washed away by an exceptional flood in 1970 and rebuilt in 1988. The current plant can generate a power of 24,000 kW, which is enough to supply around 5,000 families. Its hydroelectric production is managed in such a way as to maintain the visual interest of the falls.

A government decree guarantees an "aesthetic" flow, during the day, between April 1 and October 31, so that the falls preserve their appeal.

Who says you can't marry pecuniary interest and aesthetics?

Back home… I think about my day while preparing my next roadtrip… in Eastern Township.

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