dimanche 23 août 2009

A trip in history.

The wife and I took a short trip last week. We drove down the St-Lawrence valley, to begin with. We stopped overnight in St-Jean-Port-Joli. The town is home to the Bourgault sculptors dynasty. The Three Bérets, as the 3 founding brothers were known, have been succeeded by their sons and daughters and the place is brimming with sculptors and sculptures, wood of course. A sculpture biennial is held there in a park named after the Three Bérets.
They also happen to have a beautiful 1779 church. It has been adorned, of course, since the 1930s with several Bourgaults and disciples sculptures. If you wonder about the way it is built, there is a reason to it. The building is parrallel with the river and rounded at the back to shelter the front from northearsterly winds blowing in from the river, the rounded back spreads the snow around acting as a plow. The river here is some 20 miles wide, it has sizable tides and the water is salted.
The town also boasts a reconstuction af Philippe Aubert de Gaspé's manor house. It is a museum celebrating the town's people and history. It is called le Musée de la mémoire vivante because people have contributed artifacts and live taped and videotaped testimonys of life in the region.

From there we drove to Rivière-du-Loup where we took the 60 minutes ferry crossing to St-Siméon. There the river has gone to 25 miles across.

Out there you see a small whale sightseeing boat. We saw several from our room's balcony in St-Siméon...and for free.
The sun rises over the sand bar halfway to Rivière-du-Loup. Clouds held us company much of the time. From St-Siméon, we drove to Tadoussac, one of the very first fur trading post in the colony. There is still a chapel there dating from 1687.
Tadoussac is at the confluence of the Saguenay Fjord and the St-Laurent river. Highway 138 is cut by the Saguenay and the province operates a free ferry crossing:

We then went to Lac St-Jean whence the Saguenay river takes it's source, the lake is almost a perfect circle 31 miles in diameter and is famous for the ouananniche fish and its swimming crossing competition.
You have here a view of the shore from our motel unit. we then headed home via the St-Maurice valley down to Trois-Rivière home of the first metal industry in New France. The federal governement maintains a park there: le Parc national des Forges du St-Maurice.
This is a view of what is left of the furnace. The mill was shut down in 1853 and it operated almost 200 years.
We then headed home...and the sun showed up.

13 commentaires:

  1. What amazed me is the huge size of everything: a river 20-25 miles wide (!), and the whales, not many of them living around here. The church is very refined, with a stunning pink roof. Why everything looks so clean and perfect out there while things here are a bit untidy (to be benevolent)?

    Un voyage dans l'histoire: the French started there as fur hunters, and have gone a long way since. New France seems a symbolic name: in which they wanted to be different from Old France? Quel bete je suis: il s'agissait peut-être seulement de sentimentalisme envers la patrie lointaine

    The Bourgault family might be originally from Brittany or Bretagne. I remember a Louis-Albert Bourgault pianist and composer from Nantes.

    We headed home…and the sun showed up ... ah ah ah

    Ciao Paul

    I’m sorry for what is happening around Athens.

  2. Yes, it is distressing to watch that inferno. Last year it was near Patra where my father came from.
    New-France as a name came later on. At the beginning the colonists and missionaries were coming "en Canada" from a Micmac word meaning village or group of tipis. It is a fact that most settlers, including the noblemen, came to escape the stringent atmosphere of France and they were an unruly lot as many reports have established. The Governors and Bishops complained no ends about it and were always requesting more soldiers...not only to fight the British or the Mohawks but also to maintain law and order.

  3. Oh, this could be probably why the unruly side of yours pops up, now and then! But if you guys out there were originally so unruly, why now everything seems so perfect and orderly? Moreover, the descendants of such unruly people got so upset reading the edgy French literature.

    Il doit y avoir quelque chose qui m'echappe ...

  4. PS

    So Canada comes from an Indian word [I checked Micmac: it is a native American people]. Amazing

  5. Many names all over North America have an Indian origin. Canada, Quebc, Toronto, Topeka, Kansas, Arkansas, Oka, Deseronto, Okanagan, Saguenay, Chicoutimi to name but a few. There are thousands. Of course the early settlers replaced the original populations and often called the place by the name, or a corruption of it, that the Indians had used to designate the location.

  6. I recently met a group of anglos from Canada. Extremely nice people! The reason I don't remember their town is that it was one of those difficult names.

    I also like the fact that there is native blood in the veins of many of you.

    Europe is in a very bad moment. There is a strong reaction against multiculturalism. Racism is growing. Moronic people expanding and conquering positions. Italy is at its worst, un peu à la derive. On va voir.

    Every time I meet North Americans it's like breathing fresh air. Ok, they are on vacation here, so they are happy and at their best, and yet ...

    Ciao Paul

    Isn't Ashish adorable?

  7. Yes Ashish seems a very nice person.
    Some other names: Ticonderoga, Saranac, Couchibougouac, Wemindji, a Cree town in Nunavik.
    There is also in North America a backlash of sorts against multiculturalism percieved as threatening the "majorities" and menacing basic values. It's mainly aimed at Muslims.

  8. Here in Italy it is aimed at everyone who is 'different': blacks, gays, Muslims, Eastern Europeans etc. Only rich countries people are respected. Disgusting. A Berlusconian right-wing crass uncultured small-minded attitude is more and more penetrating. Also the French complain about Sarko (his big watches etc.) But Sarko compared to Berlusconi is a *lord*, carrement.

  9. Couchibougouac ... that's hard. It must have been something like that.

    La cena mi attende. A la prochaine.

  10. I love this vacation of yours, and the explanation to Man of Roma, expending definitions and understandings.

  11. Thank you Rosaria, glad you enjoyed our little trip.

  12. What an interesting little voyage you've had. Thanks for sharing the experience with us. Always great to get little vignettes of Canada.