In Quebec’s Charlevoix region, for centuries the well-heeled town of Baie-Saint-Paul has been inspiring artists ranging from the traditional, including the Group of Seven who painted here in the ‘20s, to the avant garde, like the Cirque du Soleil performance troupe that hosted its first ever show, right here in Baie-Saint-Paul, in 1984.
Founded over 350 years ago on the northern shore of the St Lawrence River, Baie-Saint-Paul is one of Quebec’s oldest towns. Surrounded by mountains and woodland, take a wander past the centuries-old houses, dozens of which have been turned into galleries and museums highlighting the work of local artists. Given the local scenery, it’s perhaps no surprise that most of the art you’ll see focuses on the peaceful surrounding landscape.
Particularly popular visits while in town include Paul-Médéric’s art centre, René-Richard’s Home, and Baie-Saint-Paul’s museum of contemporary arts. Every August, Baie-Saint-Paul also hosts the International Symposium of New Painting in Canada.
A small and sophisticated town of 7,332, and a popular weekend getaway for Montrealers and Quebec City residents, Baie-Saint-Paul is also known for its restaurants and boutique stores on the main street rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The town is also a gateway to Charlevoix’ renowned Flavour Trail, where you can visit the farms and breweries of some of the region’s gourmet food producers.
An hour’s drive northeast of Quebec City, there are generally 2 Intercar buses a day from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul ($18). From spring to fall, Le Massif de Charlevoix train can also take you to La Malbaie from the province capital.