At the very tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, you’ll find one in Canada’s somewhat hidden gem – Percé Quebec. I say somewhat hidden as it’s a bit of a trek to get to. Those that make the journey are rewarded with geological beauty unlike anywhere else in the country.
This is Percé Quebec.
How to get Percé Quebec?
Percé Quebec is almost 1,000 km east of Montreal and just over 750 km from Quebec city. Although it’s a ways to go, the drive packs in plenty of great things to see and do along the way.
Alternatively, you can fly into nearby Gaspé which is less than 60 km away. From there you can rent a car or start a guided tour of the region.
What is there to see and do in Percé Quebec?
As you will quickly see you on your arrival into town, the main draw to Percé Quebec is Percé rock.
This massive monolith rock formation of red limestone rises 88 meters (288 feet) above the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence. It’s highlighted by a natural archway on its east end.
No matter where you are in town (and no matter the weather), you’ll find unique views of Percé rock. I suggest spending a day wandering up close by the cross at the end of town as well as below when the tide is low. Be sure to consult local tied tables to prevent from getting wet!
You can also get up close through guided kayak and boat tours.
Percé UNESCO Global Geopark
Those looking to understand the unique geology and formation of Percé Rock need to visit the Percé UNESCO Global Geopark. Inside you can enjoy a multimedia experience that puts a little fun into the learning.
Be sure to return in the evening for a multimedia presentation on the side of the building covering The legend of Gluskap, a Micmac story on how “The Great Spirit” gave life on Earth.
Outside, you’ll find a network of trails spanning 18 km. Guided hikes are available for from the centre which provides an interactive learning experience unlike anywhere else.
The highlight of these trails is the suspended glass platform some 200 meters above! This by far offers the best views of Percé and the rock of the of the same name.
Hiking to the platform takes roughly 40-minutes. Alternatively, there is a bus service from the centre and cost just $6.
There’s also a zipline at the top for those looking for a little bit of a thrill. It was shut on my visit to Percé Quebec due to the pandemic. Another reason to return!
Note: If the sun is out, go directly to the platform. As I found on my time visiting Percé Quebec, the weather can change quickly and the platform can disappear behind a blanket of fog. Similar to Cape Town’s Table Mountain, if table cloth is gone, go directly to the top!
National Park of Bonaventure Island
A relatively new national park, Bonaventure Island offers visitors access to the second largest colony of Northern Gannets in the world. On top of that, there are some great hiking trails and even more unique vantage points of Percé Rock.
Disembarking from the ferry, visitors will find an information centre and a small café. From there take one of the trails to the colony on the far side of the island. I took the Sentier des Mousses trail on the advice of some locals. The Colonial Trail is the most direct path and is affectionately called “the highway” by locals thanks to the foot traffic. Getting off of this offers a more peaceful hiking experience in nature.
As the trail disappears and turns to ocean views, you will notice the Northern Gannets swooping and diving from above. This is nothing compared to what lies ahead.
I’m not sure what I was expecting on my visit but it certainly wasn’t this! The sheer amount of birds is fascinating. I found myself watching them for much longer than expected. Remember this for your visit!
Note: Your face mask can double as a filter. Hundreds of birds in one place is a bit smelly, to say the least.
Getting to Bonaventure Island
There are a couple of companies in town offering boat rides to Bonaventure Island as you will see by the booths along the main drag. I went with Croisières Julien Cloutier who depart every hour from nearby Anse-à-Beaufils wharf.
Bonaventure Island – Cost
Crossing on Croisières Julien Cloutier is $42 per adult and $20 for children aged 6 to 15. Children under 6 are free. Depending on the time of year, there is a whale-watching excursion option and costs $80 for adults, $40 for children 6 to 15.
Once on the island, park fees are $8.90 per adult and free for children under 18.
Where to Eat in Percé Quebec
For such a popular tourist hub, dining options are somewhat limited. As such, I stuck to the Co-Op grocery store (Coop Marché d’alimentation) and stocked up on prepackaged meals and snacks for hikes.
The one exception is La Maison du Pêcheur. This seafood restaurant serves up local dishes including lobster when in season, all with views Perce Rock. Reservations are a must.
For breakfast, I ate at La Morutière. The food here is decent however the views make up for that.
Where to Drink in Percé Quebec
The Pub Pit Caribou is a must when visiting Percé Quebec. The building just makes you thirsty. Thankfully they have plenty of craft beer on tap inside.
Note, there is no kitchen but you can bring food in from the grocery store next-door.
Where to Sleep in Percé Quebec?
There’s no shortage of camping sites and RV parks in Percé and beyond. Camping Cote Surprise offers sweeping views of Percé Rock and is minutes away from the main strip.
In town, the Hôtel-Motel Fleur de Lys offers low frills and comfort with amazing views.
For the best views of Percé Rock from your room check out the Riotel Perce.
Although it takes some effort to get to, Percé Quebec does not disappoint. From the towering Percé Rock to the friendly locals and outdoor activities nearby, it’s a fitting highlight on any road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula. From my experience, it’s now one of my new favourite spots in Canada!