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Quebec’s Little Gem: Auberge du Lac Taureau

ROSALIND STEFANAC, Contributor ROSALIND STEFANAC, Contributor

Deep in the woods of central Quebec rests a vacation mecca that impresses even the harshest of critics — my teenage son. My family and I opt for a summer vacation in rural Quebec because it’s a drivable option from Toronto, and offers resort-style accommodations more reasonably priced than some options closer to home. Plus, our 10- and 13-year-old sons are taking extended French at school and we figure it’ll be good for their vocabulary.

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We choose a recently renovated, rustic chalet in a provincial park near Saint-Michel-des-Saints called Auberge du Lac Taureau. Situated on a 95,000-square-foot man-made reservoir, with an abundance of sandy beach area, it sounds perfect for a warm weather getaway.

The Auberge is remote, and after nine hours of driving, we’re all getting restless. But as we get closer and the roads begin to wind through a mélange of lush greenery, the views are spectacular.

The log-style inn is pretty impressive, too. Originally built in 1999, the entire property was sold to new owners this year who updated and revamped the space to allow for more natural light and optimal views of the outdoors. It has 100 rooms and 29 condominiums with 58 units that are equipped with kitchens. Those staying in rooms have a choice of meals in the main dinning room or a pub-style restaurant with an outdoor patio. (Next time we’ll pack drinks and snacks for the fridge in our room to avoid the vending machines!)

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The Auberge has an indoor pool, sauna and some lovely spa services. But the real appeal is the outdoor space equipped with five hot tubs, lots of seating for reading and relaxing, a trout-filled pond for fishing, and several trails for hiking and mountain biking.

When we venture to the sandy beach on Lac Taureau, we’re not disappointed either. There are hammocks and beach chairs, along with our pick of water equipment (at no extra cost). My sons spend hours on the calm lake kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding — and then a few more playing soccer and volleyball, and constructing a massive sandcastle with other resort guests. In fact, each day kids can partake in supervised activities like archery or hiking so parents can indulge in some quiet time.

For an additional hourly fee, there are sea-doos or fishing boats with equipment and bait on-site. The staff will advise on what fish you’ll find where, and they’ll even help you prepare your catch of the day on an outdoor grill.

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We take a pontoon ride around Lac Taureau to get a better look at the lake’s 54 islands and more than 30 kms of sandy beaches. The result of a dam built in 1931 to generate hydro power, this massive reservoir is drained every winter and replenished in the spring. That day my 10-year-old aptly describes the scene as floating on “a big smooth carpet.”

We’ve been here three days but could easily stay more. I’m told winter at the Auberge will be just as entertaining with snowmobiling, dogsledding and ice-fishing. My teenager is already planning our trip back.

Rosalind Stefanac is a Toronto-based writer and avid road-tripper. Check out her website at rosalind.stefanac.com and follow her on Twitter at @RStefanac.

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Date Added: September 8, 2015 | Comments (0)

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