Fancy a weekend break from the city? A chance to relax with friends or loved ones surrounded by nature? Or maybe you are visiting from overseas and would like to get off the beaten track in Quebec province. Then look no further with this winter wonderland escape to Lac St Joseph.
Escape to Lac St Joseph
Just forty minutes from downtown Quebec and around three hours from Montreal, Fossambault Sur Le Lac is a picturesque lakeside community of multi-coloured clapboard houses, a cute white church and something many of us desperately seek – peace and quiet in abundance.
The nearest town, St Catherine de la Jacques Cartier has a selection of restaurants and supermarkets to choose from but this is a chance to escape to Lac St Joseph to enjoy cosy nights in with a bottle of wine and recharge your batteries.
There aren’t many accommodation options nearby unless you fancy spending $159 plus taxes for a night at Station Duchesnay with droves of school kids clattering down the corridors. Renting a home for a weekend or longer is a much better option – a great way to experience the local community and save money on your travels.
Escape to Lac St Joseph in a home from home
If you like your creature comforts then you cannot go wrong booking a weekend (or longer) escape to Lac St Joseph at SIX by the water. This four bedroom home welcomes you into its arms the minute you open the door to be greeted by a lovely warm blast of air, a welcome reprieve from the harsh cold of a Quebecois winter.
SIX by the water is a jolly looking property in pale yellow located just metres from the beach of Lac St Joseph, on a small quiet street of around ten houses. It seems weird talking of beaches when we arrive to find it covered in about three foot of snow! In fact the only reason we know it is a beach is because the sign says so!
We arrive at dusk on a chilly February evening and tip toe up the stairs to the front decking with a frisson of excitement, keen to discover our new home for the next few days. Sliding back the door we both sigh a collective ‘ooh’ as we take in the spacious open plan living area with a large L shaped leather sofa, comfy lounging chair and funky, modern red furnishings.
What is immediately evident is that this is not a typical holiday home. It is a home with a heart! The furnishings are good quality with upmarket light fittings, and multiple tasteful decorations making it feel more akin to moving into a show home than a holiday rental.
The living area extends into a spacious dining area and a modern, red tiled kitchen area overlooking trees, a play area and best of all, a huge hot tub to warm your cockles on wintery evenings. It’s amazing how quickly we feel at home here.
Upstairs there are three double bedrooms. The two on the back are compact but cute with ample wardrobe space, perfect for either children or couples travelling in a group.
You may need to draw straws for who gets the master if you are coming as a group. You will likely be fighting for this room which occupies the entire front facade of the house leading out onto a large balcony overlooking the lake. Unfortunately the best I can do is perilously teeter my way around the balcony to admire the glacial lake views due to the snowdrifts which have taken up residence.
Escape to Lac St Joseph to sleep like a baby
Fabulous lights cast a warm glow over the master bedroom at night and pictures in shades of purple decorate the walls. Below, the comfy queen bed proves inviting after an adventurous day of winter activites, whilst a glorious leather daybed encourages you to linger lazily.
Sleeping here is like sleeping in a cocoon of quiet with no sound to wake you other than possibly the late morning snowplough.
Alas, I can only imagine sitting here on a summer evening, wine glass in hand, watching the sun set over the lake. The sunset in winter is impressive enough with myriad pink hues stretching to the horizon!
I recommend leaving the curtains slightly ajar to be greeted by snowy views out to the lake in the early morning light. Who cares if it wakes you, after all how often do you get to wake up to views of a snow covered lake?
Warning: if you are a light sleeper you may find the whirring from the hot tub a little disturbing. I’m usually a pretty light sleeper but I had no problems with it, yet my husband found it a little distracting (it didn’t stop him snoring through the night though!)
The man-pit for big children
Ladies beware, if you are visiting with your partner or teenage boys then you might not see much of them as the man-pit beckons with its plethora of Xbox games, table football and cable TV. It’s tucked away in the basement also housing another double bedroom and a bathroom cum utility room, perfect for a teenage boy or a couple seeking a little more space.
The great outdoors
If you can brave the cold, then a huge hot tub awaits you to the back of the house. I wimped out and admired it from indoors but what a great way to warm up after spending a day out and about!
Eating and drinking
If you don’t fancy staying in for the evening, you can grab a bargain beer at The Pub Du Lac on Route de Fossambault. It’s not an upmarket place but with pints of beer for just $3.75 CAD it’s a great place to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and catch some sports action on the big screens. It’s quite a raucous place but the locals are friendly enough and it makes for some entertainment trying to decipher the local dialect.
There are a few other options including an American style diner and pizza place in St Catherine or if you are happy to head a little further afield, around fifteen minutes away is the cute, cowboy style town of Pont Rouge where there are a number of other restaurants to entice you.
Beware: check the opening times before setting off as restaurants here do not seem to stay open late in these parts.
Things to do in the area
If you are visiting in winter, there’s plenty in the area to keep you occupied for at least a week. Station Duchesnay, Parc Du Grand Heron and Shannon Chalet de Sports all offer cross country skiing options and snowshoeing amongst other activities.
Parc Du Grand Heron at St Catherine de la Jacques Cartier
The Parc du Grand Heron offers ice skating, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and a children’s snow slide. The enchanting ice path winds it way through a 3km of forest alongside the river, whilst you can enjoy up to 30km of cross country ski trails.
The cost is just $9 for a couple per visit. Canada sure knows how to encourage people to make the most of the outdoors with these enticing prices!
Locals can take advantage of a season pass for a mere $60 per couple. What more reason do you need to up sticks and move to the area?
This is a multi-purpose venue with sleeping accommodation to boot. The main auberge is perched high above the lake with far reaching views across the tundra like landscape. Walking the snowshoe paths in winter when they are blanketed in deep layers of snow, not a person to be seen, is a serene experience.
One trail leads to a tiny lake covered in thick layers of snow where you can enjoy the panorama from a viewing deck in total silence. It’s a far cry from the bustle of London and a chance to breath deep, pure air!
Be sure to pop into the bar afterwards for a warm drink or cool beer as the views are not to be missed.
There’s also a host of other activities available in the area including snowmobiling, husky dog sledding, cross-country and downhill skiing and the hosts have kindly left some information to assist you.
Shannon Chalet de Sports
The Shannon sports chalet also has a fabulous 2.5km ice rink meandering through the forest lit by twinkling lights from dusk. The venue stays open until late and for just $12 CAD we had full use of ice skates and snowshoes all day. What a bargain!
A fabulous escape to Lac St Joseph
The only downside to SIX by the water is having to leave the place. I feel so at home here in this cute little neighbourhood that I’m practically calling in the removals men to ship my stuff over from the UK!
How to book your own escape to Lac St Joseph
Feeling inspired to take your own escape to Lac St Joseph? You can book your own break to Check out SIX by the water on either Airbnb (be sure to use this link to claim £14 off your first booking) or via Cottagesrentals.
Weekend breaks start from $630 CAD with a week’s rental starting from $1115. It’s great value for a house which could comfortably sleep eight people. Compare that with the cost of booking an hotel room and you and your party will be quids in!
Finally, here are my top travel hacks for an escape to Lac St Joseph.
Have your say
If you have ever visited the area and have any top tips or recommendations for things to see and do please feel free to share them in the comments below. You can also ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.
Disclaimer: we stayed courtesy of SIX by the water however all views are our own and unedited. I have to say a personal huge thank you to Nadine who was brilliant at keeping in touch and making sure we had everything we needed during our stay. Thanks Nadine, you are a star!