Cap Chat, Quebec

Cap Chat is a village of fewer than 3,ooo people about midway up Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. Judy and I spent five days there in early September.

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Our choice of Cap Chat had a certain randomness to it. We knew it was small and located on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Also, that it was far enough from any large town to be somewhat remote. That’s about it. A lot of our travel decisions are based on this sort of lack of information. Although Judy would say they are based on a spirit of adventure.

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Anyway, we found a comfortable cottage that was near the water. No wifi, which was a blessing, really. The cottage nestled against a low line of cliffs that ran parallel to the St. Lawrence.

We spent most of our time reading and taking walks, which was pretty idyllic.

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This was the view from the front of the cottage. This was a rocky beach, good for long walks, hunting rocks, and collecting seashells. Also at low tide there were lots of tidal pools to explore, full of odd little critters.

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To the west we could see the headland which is supposed to look like a cat, from which the village takes its name. Though I can’t really see the resemblance, can you?

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Walking along the beach we could appreciate the late-blooming wildflowers, such as Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) and Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum). There was also a small waterfall spilling down the cliff at one spot.

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We could have used a geologist to explain the horizontal stratification of this rock.

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After a lazy morning (and early afternooon), we would take the car up a steep drive to the main road, then proceed to town. On the way in we would pass this field of grain.

The north shore of the Gaspé Peninsula consists of a narrow coastal road dotted with modest settlements. Turn inland and you quickly find yourself among mountains.

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On top of a hill there is a small park from which you can view the town. Someone had left a hose to fill the fountain, then gone off to take care of other tasks.

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Cap Chat is not a quaint village. The buildings are utilitarian and none seem to be very old. It is not a village primarily focused on tourism. However, the setting and central location assure that it has its share of vacation homes and guest houses.

 

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It’s a good place for people who like fish, especially smoked fish. We saw this place from the road and pulled into the driveway. According to Judy, the name means “King of Snails”. We bought some excellent smoked trout and other fishy treats.

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Cap Chat and several nearby villages seemed to have almost identical churches all built around the same time.

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I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but Jesus seems to be a few bulbs short of a full halo.

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From near the docks of Cap Chat you can see across the water to the nearby village of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.

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We usually drove into town in early evening to eat seafood. We returned just after the sun had set, when the sky was full of red, orange, and pink.

In our next post I’ll show you a couple of Cap Chat’s most notable and unique attractions: a maritime research station and one of the largest wind farms in the world.

 

55 Comments on “Cap Chat, Quebec

  1. If I hadn’t seen your photos I would be thinking “this kind of vacation is not for me”. Your photos have me thinking otherwise. Could be just what the doctor ordered…

  2. I so enjoy traveling vicariously through your pictured travels. I could enjoy a place like this. I don’t see the “cap” on that outcropping. Someone has a good imagination and needed a name for this place. Maybe back when they named it it was more cap like. Travel on…

  3. Sounds as thou you had a “get away from it all” few days. I’ve been studying le chat and wonder if he is in a pouncing position with eyes on a fish in the seaway. That may just be my imagination!

  4. Did you make it out to the end of the Gaspé Peninsula? I hope so… there are some wonderful sights along the way, and the town of Gaspé plus the adjacent national park make the journey worthwhile. Plus stopping at one of the great gardens in North America, the Reford Gardens at Métis, Québec. The International Garden Festival is a showcase of innovative ideas. And if time permits, a visit to my garden isn’t far off the path! Plus it’s a lot closer to Montreal and Quebec City.

  5. Wonderful pictures! I especially like the wheat field shot. I felt as though I was strolling along with you. And, no, I didn’t see a cat shape, either. I wonder if the shape might have changed over the years.

  6. Jason, I can imagine how delicious was smoked trout! I love it as well. I liked your last photo of sunset, gorgeous sky!

  7. It is most interesting for me to read your post as I was brought up in the Gaspé.
    As for the name Cap-Chat, most people will tell you there is a rock looking like a cat but in his memoirs, Champlain himself called this peak Cap Chatte – the “commandeur de Chatte” was the French official who selected Champlain to lead the New France expedition. It is thought that Champlain gave the name of his boss to one of the highest peaks along the river and that name was shorten over time.
    As someone else mentioned, I hope you had an opportunity to visit the Reford Gardens at Métis (close to Cap-chat). It is one of the top North American gardens.

  8. You and Judy get to the nicest places, Jason. And places in Canada that I’ve never visited, in most cases too. Interesting post. Hope Jesus gets back his full halo. (But maybe, when you’re Jesus, you don’t even need a halo.)

  9. I haven’t been to the Gaspe in more than forty years; this post makes me want to go back. (Your comment about Jesus’s halo was wickedly irreverent; I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard.)
    p.s. that was the New England use of “wicked,” as in “wicked funny” or “wicked good.”

  10. Ha! “A lot of our travel decisions are based on this sort of lack of information.” Wish I were so adventurous. You seem to have fun and interesting vacations wherever you go.

  11. Hello Jason, you certainly don’t follow the tourist hoards a lot of the time! Cap Chat looks “interesting” but I can’t help but feel uneasy as to its original purpose and origins and what is exists for now. It does look very idyllic though but I bet it would feel rather exposed in winter storms.

  12. It’s refreshing to hear of someone who doesn’t research travel plans to death. So many of the best destinations come with no expectations (and no tourists).

  13. I like holidays to non-touristy destinations. I certainly like the idea of a holiday involving reading, walking and eating. Looking forward to the next instalment!

  14. I like the vacations which aren’t filled with other tourists. You really have a chance to get away from it all and experience something different.

  15. Some of the best places are not well known. I think the surprise of finding a treasure is what makes it special. It looks like a place I would love to visit!

  16. Thanks for a tour around a less well known part of Quebec….. what an interesting place!
    Paul and I wonder if we will ever get to all these lovely places and gardens…. Well we can try!
    I agree with the comment that the landscape is reminiscence of some parts of Scotland and Ireland. Also love that Jesus is a few bulbs short of the halo.

  17. I’m with you and Judy re the spirit of adventure! It’s good to go without wifi on one’s jollies, it certainly frees up the time for other things….like walking and reading. What a lovely place to stay, I too would have enjoyed peering into rock pools.xxx

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