The village of Barachois is located in Gaspesie, at the far end of the bay of Chaleurs at the northern tip of a 10-km sand bar near Perce (actually, Barachois is a sector of Perce), on the Gaspe Peninsula.
This sandbar was formed through the years by the accumulation of sediment from the Malbaie, the Beattie, Du Portage and the Murphy rivers. Their currents meet here the opposite currents of the Atlantique ocean.
They form thus a coastal lagoon separated from the ocean by a sand bar. This sand bar is formed as a result of sediment deposited in the delta region of a river. In Quebec, the term barachois means precisely this - a lagoon separated from the sea by a sand bar. Naturally, salt water may enter the barachois during high tide.
The term comes from a Basque word, “barratxoa”, meaning “little bar”.
This unique freshwater estuary, which is known as Barachois of Malbay or Malbay Salt Marsh in English, is habitat for a variety of fauna and flora, including the rare Yellow Rail. The lagoon and Point St. Peter of Barachois Village are part of an internationally reknown Bird Area. The site hosts over 200 bird species, of which about 100 are breed on-site.
Many other rare and migratory birds may be observed in the area.
The lagoon and Malbaie River’s mainstream channel provides habitat for 25 fish species, including species of concern such as the Atlantic Salmon, the Striped Bass and the Atlantic Cod. The Malbaie River is a designated Salmon River in Quebec.
Working in partnership with the local residents, Perce authorities and other institutions, the Nature Conservancy of Canada - Quebec (NCC - Q) has a birding information centre on the site. NCC staff operate the birding centre, conduct various activities on the sandbar and nearby wetlands, perform biological inventories and educate the public.
As to other attractions, right beside the railroad bridge, visitors can take route du Coteau. There they can see many lovely houses and also get an excellent view of the Bay of Chaleurs and the sand bar.