The region is highly regarded for the diversity of its landscapes. While to the east, the panorama consists mainly of endless mountains and a unique fjord, to the west it softens, widens and calms to open onto the endless horizons of Lac Saint-Jean. Because of its vastness and changing character, this great freshwater basin has been described as an inland sea. Its inhabitants proudly refer to themselves as Bleuets, after the small wild fruit that is emblematic of the region.
The "tour du lac Saint-Jean" is a long-standing classic in terms of tourism and is now done by bike, motorbike, car or RV, stopping at the many attractions that follow one another.
Lake Saint-Jean is the largest inhabited lake in Quebec. At 45 km long and 34 km wide, it covers an area of 1,100 km2, which is about twice the size of the Island of Montreal. Its shores are made up of picturesque villages, 42 km of beaches and several great rivers such as the Mistassibi, the Péribonka and the Ashuapmushuan, whose reputation is well established. Vacationers will enjoy lounging on the fine sandy beaches or sailing in a kayak or boat. Fishing is also practiced here. One of the most famous species is the ouananiche, a small fresh water salmon. There is also trout and walleye.
Originally, the lake was named Pikuakami by the Montagnais (Ilnu) who inhabited the territory. The meaning of this word is : shallow lake. There is still a native community in the area and it is established on the edge of the lake at Mastheuitash (Pointe-Bleue). In fact, there are still several words representing the territory that testify to the richness bequeathed by the natives.
Covering a large area of the region, the area around the lake is considered to be a sector of the region. The main urban centers are the municipalities of Alma (30,000 inhabitants), Dolbeau-Mistassini (14,400 inhabitants), Saint-Félicien (10,600 inhabitants) and Roberval (10,500 inhabitants). The landscapes of this portion of the region are composed of the horizon over the lake as far as the eye can see and of agricultural plains.
From north to south, from coast to coast, it is the favorite destination of those who think big.
Whether you're on the main road or visiting tourist attractions, you're sure to catch a glimpse of Lake Saint-Jean and its immensity during your getaway. On the map above, you will find some suggestions of places , including beaches and attractions, that are accessible for free or for a fee to capture your image to share with all your friends.
There are many more... Let yourself be charmed by the beauty of the lake during your next roadtrip and don't miss the great rivers that flow into the lake and that offer unique and diverse experiences as well as impressive panoramas.
These locations, identified in blue on the map, are all accessible free of charge.
• Halte La Vincent Girard, Desbiens
• Plage le Rigolet, Métabetchouan
• Chambord rest area
• Carrefour d'accueil Ilnu, Mastheuiatsh
• Club nautique de Roberval and its promenade
• Parc de la Pointe-Scott, Roberval
• Saint-Prime municipal beach
Of course, by following the Véloroute des Bleuets, you will have the chance to discover magnificent viewpoints on the lake.
Some lakefront attractions also offer views of the lake. Some of them even offer a view of the lake from the air to further admire the immensity that lies before you.
• The beach at Centre touristique Vauvert-sur-le-Lac-Saint-Jean, Dolbeau-Mistassini
• Camping & Plage Belley, Saint-Henri-de-Taillon
• The three sectors of the Pointe-Taillon National Park, Saint-Henri-de-Taillon and Saint-Gédéon
• The municipal beach of Saint-Gédéon and its campgroung
Discovering Lac-Saint-Jean does not only mean exploring the towns and villages that we pass on the main road. It also means discovering the attractions and villages located on the periphery of the main road.
To the south, take route 155 to Lac-Bouchette where you can discover, among other things, the Ermitage Saint-Antoine.
Then, to the north, go to the towns of Girardville, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette or Saint-Stanislas where you will once again receive a warm welcome. The starting point of your exploration will certainly be the Grandes-Rivières-du-Lac-Saint-Jean regional park which opens onto a unique and immense territory that you can discover by quad, snowmobile, hiking, wilderness camping or even by bike. The park also works in collaboration with many partners who in turn offer a variety of activities including hunting and fishing, biking, rafting, cultural activities, hiking and agro-tourism, to name a few.
A little further east, outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy discovering the Péribonka River and Lake Tchitogama, which open up towards the Monts-Valin, offering a unique playground for various sports in summer and winter on snowmobiles.