“Relaxing” in Canada’s Laurentian Mountains

Giant Fir trees reaching to the stars, crystal clear lakes, spectacular sunsets and good friends welcomed us to Quebec’s Mont Tremblant resort area.  A huge ski resort much of the year, the area is transformed during the brief summer months into a much more temperate paradise.

The resort was created in the 1990s on land that once was part of the Algonquin Nation. First accessed by outsiders in 1892, with the arrival of the P’tit Train du Nord, the area now features abundant parks and recreation opportunities. Home to both the Parc National du Mont-Tremblant and Le Domaine Saint-Bernard, a 1,500-acre eco-tourism area, the original train bed in now the longest linear park in Canada.

New development blends in nicely with the earlier Le Village and “downtown” areas.  Even name hotel chains have built in the village style and blend seamlessly with the new shops and restaurants that populate the resort.  Not surprisingly, shops skewed toward outdoor gear, but I actually stumbled upon a Desigual retailer with decent European stock. When you finished shopping and eating, visitors can ride a gondola to the top of the 2,800’ summit and enjoy 360-degree panoramic views.

Glittering lakes and the meandering Riviére La Diable enhance the landscape. The men did a bit of guided fishing one morning, but it was not to be a record-setting day and as they left Lac Ouimet, they heard to say “Ouimet no fish today.”

We played two rounds of golf at La Belle and Le Bête, the Beauty and the Beast, both very pleasant courses. I am happy to report I only lost two balls, and one of those disappeared in plain sight.

Touring the area was fun, and we enjoyed seeing nearby villages and even a brief visit to the local casino (where I am ashamed to admit I insisted on playing the OMG Kittens! slot machine.  Yes, that really was the name, and those cute kittens let me down big time). In other breaking news, my husband survived the French-inspired meals we had at several very nice restaurants.

“Relaxing?”  Well, maybe that’s in the eye of the beholder . . . It was a wonderful visit, and we are fortunate to have such terrific friends!

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