30 July 2011

Cap Rouge

Cap Rouge is said to be the site of the first attempted permanent European settlement in North America.  Jacques Cartier launched this effort in 1541. Named Charlesbourg-Royal, the settlement of 400 people did survive its first winter.  However, due to harsh weather and attacks from neighboring Iroquois, it was abandoned in June 1542. It was re-settled by French colonists during the 17th century, and existed as an agricultural village until the 1960s, when it was absorbed as a suburb of Québec City.  More recently, archaeologists announced the discovery of remains of Charlesbourg-Royal in 2006.  


The primary attraction today is a rail-only trestle steel bridge built in 1907-1908. Evidently, the gentleman for whom the Eiffle Tower was named, Gustave Eiffel, was involved in the bridge construction project.  The steel bridge spans 3,335 feet at an average of 172 feet above ground and is still in use today.

Cap Rouge is a brief drive, or hearty bike ride west of our apartment.  It still looks like a village, and is bordered on one side by the St. Lawrence River, and on the other by thick deciduous forests.  Its charm rests in the details - grass marshes, bright sailboats, and sun glimmering off of gaily painted homes.



I spent a delightful afternoon here with our friends Mathieu and Bertille.  On our way to Cap Rouge, we stopped at Parc Plage de la Jaques-Cartier.  We meandered along the beach for a while, poked among the rocks, and generally relished how calm it was.  There were very few people, a rare thing in Quebec City.  Maybe, as Mathieu speculated, the tourists just don't know about Cap Rouge.  Or, maybe it is just too far away from the city center.   


Jerod and I have come down here to watch the sunset, and found the park equally delightful, and equally devoid of people.  It is also one of the rare spots on the St. Lawrence River where natural woods come all the way down to the shore, as they used to along its length.  It is one of the few places I have found near the city that actually feels like you are out of it - in a natural environment.  


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*Information from Wikipedia, pamphlets available at Cap Rouge visitors centre, and personal experience.
**Photos marked by ** were taken by  Mathieu Basille.  His photos are covered by a Free Art License.  Please respect his stipulations for use, as explained by the license.  To see more Cap Rouge photos, see Mathieu's recent blog post.









2 comments:

Bertille said...

I like what you did with the pictures, it's nice ! By the way ...Because now I am one of them, I have to say it : Basille takes 2 l ;) hihi See you girl ! :)

M said...

Ah oui alors, on ne peut pas laisser passer ça, Mme Merkle ! Et où est passé mon anonymat ??!? Fichtre...

Quelle belle journée c'était en tout cas ! Il va falloir désormais s'habituer au frimas de l'hiver qui nous attend déjà ! Plus que quelques semaines pour profiter du magnifique été indien, en espérant qu'il ne pleuve pas tous les jours d'ici là...

Bon, il va falloir que je m'occupe sérieusement de rattraper mon retard de photos...

M

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