Home » 2010 RV Trip to Quebec

La Malbaie, QB

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 10:15am by Lolo
25 miles and 1 hour from our last stop


Fairmont Le Manoir RichelieuFairmont Le Manoir RichelieuWe had a full-day planned—a stop in La Malbaie to do a little gambling—Tommy’s idea, as he is 19 and too young to gamble in the U.S.—and then onto the town of Tadoussac, to hopefully spot some whales in Saguenay Bay.

We didn’t even stop for breakfast or to fully wake up the boys, but just headed out to catch the 7:00 ferry to Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive. I think Herb was in a hurry to just get that 18% grade hill behind us, which by the way he was now referring to as the “Drive of Death,” or more romantically in French, the “Trajet de Mort.” I don’t think it was as bad as we expected. We just threw it in low gear and chugged along slowly up the hill. We stopped at a scenic pullout to have breakfast and rest the transmission. The views of the river and Isle-aux-Coudres in the distance were quite lovely; equally lovely to Herb was the fact that most of the hill was now below us.

French speaking BumblebeeFrench speaking BumblebeeOur route took us along the scenic Route du Fleuve, up and down hills with frequent views of the river to our right. We skipped stopping at the village of St-Irenee and continued on directly to La Malbaie where we found a large, very RV friendly parking lot near the famous hotel, the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. At the parking lot’s edge, there was an interesting trail that ran along the bluff above the river. To the right the trail went off into the woods, but to the left it led to the hotel and casino. We went left, and in a very short time arrived at a terraced patio outside the very impressive Norman-style chateau, where guests were delightfully dining al fresco. The boys and I went in to the hotel to have a peak, while Herb remained outside to take some photos. We later found him relaxing in one of the Adirondack chairs looking out over the water. What a beautiful place. No wonder the rich and famous Americans of the late 19th and early 20th century came here to vacation.

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu water viewFairmont Le Manoir Richelieu water viewA little bit further along the path we came to the casino, which wasn’t even open yet. While waiting outside, we discussed our strategy. Herb’s strategy for success was to not even enter the casino—he hates gambling. I think it all goes back to some childhood trauma where he bet and lost the entire contents of his piggy bank to his father, who was teaching him a lesson about the risks of gambling. Apparently, it worked and he hasn’t gambled since. The boys and I saw things differently and thought that everything, or almost everything, should be tried once. As long as we could maintain some control and stick to our plan of only betting up to $20, we thought that we couldn’t lose. After all, we would pay that much for the experience of a movie or bowling, so even if we lost it all, we were still the better for our experience, or some logic like that.

So when the doors of the casino opened, we and our $20 were the first ones in. Tommy was immediately IDed, but proudly displayed his license and was waved through. We spent quite some time wandering around, assessing which machine would offer us the biggest jackpot. We wanted to stay away from the tables, because we really didn’t know what we were doing, and the bets required at the tables would cause us to blow through our $20 far too quickly. I was hoping to find a $1 blackjack machine. I had fond memories of spending hours on one of these machines in Atlantic City when I was the boys’ age. I was convinced at the time that I had an unbeatable system. Every time I lost, I doubled my bet. By the end of the day, I had exactly broken even and left Atlantic City proudly with my $20 in tact. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a blackjack machine, so we dabbled on a few slots instead. After mostly losing with a few sporadic wins, we eventually fought our way back up to $17. We considered ourselves winners and called it quits.

Having accomplished what we had come to do, we decided to move on towards Tadoussac.


Parents at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu - AJGParents at Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu - AJGThe town of Malbaie is located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, 87 miles northeast of Quebec City. It can be reached via Route 138, which is the major highway through the region, or by the much more scenic Route du Fleuve (“River Route”) or Route 362, which winds its way for 30 miles from the villages of Baie-St-Paul to La Malbaie along the cliffs overlooking the river. The views along the River Route are spectacular.

La Malbaie is situated at the mouth of the Malbaie River, where it flows into the St. Lawrence. It was formerly known as Murray Bay by the wealthy Americans who have been vacationing here since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century. President William-Howard Taft was a frequent visitor.

La Malbaie is home to the Charlevoix region’s grandest resort: the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, often referred to as “the castle on the hill.” This Norman-style chateau, complete with towers and turrets, was built in 1899 to accommodate the aristocratic tourists that came to enjoy its luxurious décor and the spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River.
Another major draw to the town is the Charlevoix Casino with its 950 slot machines and 24 tables, including Texas hold-em, blackjack, roulette, and minibaccarat. Visitors must be 18 years or older.

La Malbaie location map in "high definition"

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