North America

Le Massif Rail Cruise – Prepare your senses

A luxury train experience like no other | Photo credit: Le Massif de Charlevoix/Benjamin Gagnon

A new and intriguing rail service, The Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix, which commenced service September 9, 2011, will traverse the 140 km between Québec City and La Malbaie.

Le Massif de Charlevoix is the brainchild of Daniel Gauthier, visionary and co-founder of Le Cirque du Soleil. Gauthier sees big things for Charlevoix, a region he aims to establish as a four-season tourist destination of international aplomb.

Each year, Charlevoix’s larger-than-life landscapes lure thousands of visitors. For generations, this picturesque region has been a haven for artists and artisans that come for the inspiration sourced from within its majestic mountains.

The confluence of cultures in the Charlevoix is largely responsible for the wealth and richness of the experiences visitors savour.

Whether people come to ski, whale-watch or sample the savoir-faire of local food producers and artisans, Charlevoix continues to aspire to international, four-season destination status.

Le Massif de Charlevoix will travel alongside beautiful rivers, mountains and seashores. During the 7 hour journey, and passengers can view and admire the rare exposure to breathtaking vistas, discovering the region’s history, its culture and hidden treasures, all while dining over a lunch fragrant with regional flavours, and entertained with a multimedia presentation. The Train’s entirely refurbished railcars offer passengers rare exposure to the breathtaking vistas drifting by throughout the journey, and to a number of points of interest: Île d’Orléans, Cap Tourmente, Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Baie-Saint-Paul, Isle-aux-Coudres, Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive, Les Éboulements and Saint-Irénée.

Le Massif de Charlevoix is planned around three significant, multi-dimensional features.

The Train

Le train de Massif Charlevoix interior | Photo credit: Le Massif de Charlevoix

With its panoramic, 140-km reach between Quebec City and La Malbaie, the Train will be the scenic spine of the project. Its regular arrivals and departures at the Mountain and Farm stations will deposit passengers already won over by the unearthly beauty of the ride between mountain and river. The Train will be a destination unto itself.

The Mountain

With its indomitable skiable terrain and angled slopes that seem to sweep straight into the sea, Le Massif offers a significant trail network for skiers and snowboarders. One can also experience unforgettable off-trail terrain at the heart of an unexplored wilderness. Towering high above the St. Lawrence River, The Mountain creates a natural hideaway for action, adventure and intrigue.

The Farm

The Farm is an exceptional resort complex harmoniously integrated into the heart of Baie-Saint-Paul. Train station and animated public square during the day, and multimedia showcases at night, it will be a rich cross-section of cultural diversity. Boasting bioclimatic architecture, a 150-room hotel and a signature spa, the Farm will undoubtedly impress.

The Train of Le Massif de Charlevoix consists of entirely restored railcars transformed into genuine panoramic vehicles. At maximum capacity, the eight Pullman Standard railcars accommodating up to 68 passengers each convey 528 passengers. The railcars’ minimalistic, timeless decor accentuates the clean, pure lines of its loft-style architecture and the views of the fleeing landscape. Each railcar is equipped with its own kitchen, while interior appointments offer all the comfort and flexibility required for appreciating the many pleasures of an adventure in gastronomy.

An adventure in gastronomy | Photo credit: Le Massif de Charlevoix

The Charlevoix region includes areas of the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains region of the Canadian Shield. This dramatic landscape features rolling terrain, fjords, headlands and bays. The region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989. Covering six thousand square kilometers in the very heart of the Canadian Shield, the oldest rock formation on earth, Charlevoix abounds in one-of-a-kind attractions. From the mountain waters that cascade down the majestic Laurentians into the salty depths of the St. Lawrence River to the charming little mountainside villages that dot the region, this vacationer’s paradise begins where the sea and mountains meet.

Renowned for its hospitality and landscapes that have enchanted painters, poets, writers, and musicians, the Charlevoix region is where visitors have found history, nature and culture existing in perfect harmony.

The region was named after Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix, a French Jesuit explorer and historian who traveled through this region in the 18th century. The community of La Malbaie was known as the first resort area in Canada. As early as 1760, Scottish noblemen Malcolm Fraser and John Nairn hosted visitors at their manors. For much of its history, Charlevoix was a thriving summer colony of wealthy Americans, including President William Howard Taft.

You probably did not know …

The topography of this region was dramatically altered by a meteorite impact that occurred 350 million years ago creating the Charlevoix crater. “The impact created the forty-mile-wide crater that is the heart of Quebec’s Charlevoix region, ranging from just west of Baie-Saint-Paul to just east of La Malbaie. Today, the area inside the crater is home to 90 percent of Charlevoix residents and is a very pastoral setting by comparison to what it could have been.”

For two centuries now, the Charlevoix has treated visitors from around the globe to the beauty of its scenery.

In and around the Charlevoix, one can discover exceptional natural sites and attractions, contemplate the endless beauty of its mountain and river landscapes, immerse yourself in art and culture, savour celebrated regional fare and embrace the traditional warm and friendly hospitality.

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