Lanaudiere’s Road 138
Travelling along the Lanaudiere section of the Road 138, drivers are retracing the oldest road in North America. The Chemin du Roy (King’s Road or the Royal Road) was established in 1737 to link the old Canadian capital Quebec City to Montreal. In addition to its historical interest, the route offers magnificent views of the St. Lawrence River.
In Lanaudiere, bisected by this road, along the way, tourists discover the region’s greatest cultural riches, such as lovely villages, museums, churches and chapels, ancient houses, art boutiques, local produce and much more. Many historic sites attest to the rich history of the Lanaudiere region. The Ile-des-Moulins historic site in Terrebonne features a sawmill, flourmill and wool-carding mill, estates dating back to the 19th century. The house, in which Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the first French Canadian Prime minister of Canada, was born, is worth a visit.
Today it is a national historic site, chronicling the early years of the illustrious politician. As for fine art, the Fine Arts Museum of Joliette houses dazzling collections from the Middle Ages to modern times that will astonish visitors. The Gilles-Villeneuve Museum honours the famous Formula 1 race car driver, while the Louis-Cyr Museum recounts the exploits of the man reputed to be the strongest in the world in the beginning of the 20th century.
The highway also affords access to one of the most beautiful natural and historic sites in all of Québec: the Berthier islands, a major part of the Lac Saint-Pierre archipelago, classified by UNESCO as a World Reserve. Further to the north, about an hour away from Saint-Michel-des-Saints, an Amerindian Atikamekw reservation is located.
The Festival de Lanaudiere, one of the most prestigious classical music festival in Canada brings Joliette and its surrounding churches alive each summer. The Lanaudiere region also features many nature conservation areas. East of Berthierville, the Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve, which provides sanctuary for hundreds of bird species, is the largest waterfowl staging area in North America.
Along with the Rouge-Matawin and Mastigouche wildlife reserves is Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, ideal for its unbeatable canoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking, and cycling. Besides, three waterfall parks, the Chutes-Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles, Parc des Cascades and the Chutes-Dorwin offer up spectacular settings for family strolls and picnics. Visitors will also appreciate the Tourbières de Lanoraie, a protected peat bog featuring a northern landscape and flora, the only ecological reserve in Quebec open to the public.