Yes, I’m aware that the Magdalen Islands (also known by its proper french name: Iles de la Madeleine) is not part of the Maritime provinces. Geographically located in the Maritimes but technically part of Quebec, this little hidden gem of an archipelago is close enough for me. The powers that be in Quebec seem to think so too, because the islands are classified as part of their Quebec Maritime region.
The Maggies charm and awe from the very first moment you glimpse Entry Island from the CTMA ferry: with those treeless, grassy hills, those towering red cliffs and those tiny, colourful houses dotting the countryside. It sets the tone for the rest of the islands.
With our home base on Cap Aux Meules, we decided to take our first day to drive east on highway 199, which stretches from tip to tip of the archipelago. It was an incredible drive. Between each towering, green island lay kilometres of sandy dunes, with white sand beaches and crashing waves just beyond. I wanted to stop the car every other minute to get out and take pictures. It was a wonder we made it to the end at all.
We drove all the way to the east end of the 199, finding most restaurants closed for the season. However, local artisan Marie Marto was still open and we bought a couple of her pieces to take home.
We also hiked across the (very windy) beach to Boudreau Island (actually more of a peninsula) where we trekked through wildflower meadows and stood cliff side, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in all its ferocity. The views were certainly worth the struggle crossing the beach against the wind. A benefit of coming in September is that we had the whole island to ourselves. I didn’t want to leave that place.
A great first day was capped off with drinks at local microbrewery A l’abri de la Tempete and a delicious meal at La Table des Roy. We can’t wait to see what the Maggies have in store for us today.