Auberge du Grand Fleuve, Métis-sur-Mer

All these villages are francophone, at least nominally Catholic, and white. No hijabs here, no mosques, no synagogues. You might see one black man (and that not in a village but Rimouski) over the four days it will take before you get back as far as Quebec City. Almost all the cars parked in villages and towns sport Quebec license plates, too, until you get to Métis-sur-Mer, a village founded by Scots in 1850.

There you will not only see Ontario plates and some from New York and Maine, but a surprising variety of churches (the website mentions the Anglican Church, the United Church, and two different Presbyterian churches but no Catholic church, oddly) and a house called Buttercup. Some of Anglo Montreal families summer here to this day, as they have done for generations, and there are so many Anglo-Scottish family names on display that it’s practically folkloric.
View of the St. Lawrence from Auberge du Grand Fleuve

The comments I could find online about Auberge du Grand Fleuve included praise from a French couple who had stopped there twice during a 12-day tour of Quebec. What got me was not the mention of sunset over the water, nor of comfortable accommodation. It wasn’t overused travel-guide words like magique and charme, and it wasn’t even the reference to la cuisine toute en finesse et créativité



Dining room at Auberge du Grand Fleuve
I was looking for something that stood out, and I found it. This French couple declared the food they had at the Auberge du Grand Fleuve (131, rue Principale, Métis-sur-Mer) the best they’d had in Quebec. Now that’s saying something.

And it’s no exaggeration. The dinner of specialties from terroir and mer was superb – the typical menu is here – and served with aplomb. Breakfast featured a crêpe bretonne as well as a fine rhubarb compote, local cheese, rillettes and toast. And, for a writer (and a reader), what a pleasure to find books in the dining room, in the sitting room, and in the bedrooms – and to note the use to which owners Marie and Raynald put the classic Gallimard book cover. Here is what Gallimard produces to this day:

And here is the link to the cover of the Auberge’s bouquin couette. Bouquin being a book and couette a duvet or comforter, you might think of this as reading between the covers.

Turns out, there were two of them between the covers, Raynald having been a bookseller from Quimper, Bretagne, while Marie is a native gaspésienne. (She's the one pouring the wine in the photo below.) In Métis-sur-Mer, they were “seduced by a garden on the edge of the sea and by a landscape of uncommon beauty.” I was, too.
Not only that, but they brought with them “a taste for the small pleasures and the great pleasures of the table and their passion for the small pleasures and the great pleasures of reading.”

Highly recommended.


Text and translations by Linda Leith; photos Auberge du Grand Fleuve.
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