Last summer, we took a holiday to the beautiful Saguenay region, north east of Quebec City. Although we were not traveling in our 2CV, that doesn’t mean we had to go through total Citroën withdrawal, as you will see below.
The Saguenay is a magnificent area, along the banks of the Saguenay River, which drains Lac Saint Jean to the St. Lawrence at Taddousac. Many Canadians will be amazed to learn that the Saguenay River is actually a true fjord, created by glaciation. No need to travel to the far north or Scandinavia to see this amazing site. At certain points, the fjord walls rise 300 metres (1000 ft), and the water in the fjord is up to 400 metres deep.
We chose to stay in the charming village of Petit Saguenay, on the tributary of the same name, about half way between Taddousac and Chicoutimi, at the lovely Auberge du Jardin. The owners are originally from France, and they manage to recreate the atmosphere of a French Inn, still with a maple flavour. Michel also is the chef for the dining room, and there is no mistaking the inspiration for his meals. They are wonderful. At meal time, Marie-José acts as the server, and we enjoyed many pleasant conversations, especially when I learned that she retains her love for the famous VeloSolex, the two-wheeled soul mate of the 2CV.
The main draw of the Saguenay region is its amazing natural beauty. We hiked trails that led to salmon ladders where the migration was happening. We climbed outcrops to see the magnificent vistas over the river. We even walked along a vast 3 km long, 2 km deep beach, created when an ancient glacial lake burst its walls and deposited its sediments on its way to the fjord.
But the crowning experience of any visit to the region is to take a boat trip on the fjord itself. Setting out from our auberge, we headed for L’Anse-Saint-Jean, which is the port of departure for our chosen fjord cruise. Nearing the harbour, along rue St-Jean-Baptiste, I casually glanced into the parking lot of a small inn…. and spotted a 2CV Charleston!
We had a boat to catch, so I regretfully resisted the urge to stop immediately. However I certainly made note of the location for the return trip.
After a fabulous fjord cruise (check out a few photos in the gallery) we returned through L’Anse-Saint-Jean, and pulled into the parking lot of L’Auberge des Cévennes. The 2CV has a place of honour, under a sun-shade at the front of the parking lot. I had a quick look at the car, before going inside to the front desk. There, I learned that the car belonged to the owner of the auberge, who unfortunately was absent that day. I took an e-mail address, and followed up after we returned home.
The owners name is Mario, and he provided me with a brief history of his love for the 2CV in general, and this car in particular, which he has owned since 2005. Here is my translation of Mario’s story. Since Mario is loosely connected to the 2CV community in Quebec, I hope one day that we can meet in person.
This whole experience taught me that I should never turn off my Citroën Radar, because they are out there, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.