I would strongly suggest a visit to the Ile d’Orleans. It is such a picturesque, bucolic little island just a few minutes’ drive from Quebec City. Be prepared to spend several hours to explore all that the island has to offer. We spent an entire morning driving around the island, stopping for pictures, climbing to the top of the observation tower and sampling some of the delicious food items available. We traveled to the Ile d’Orleans on June 4th which is before the peak summer season. Several of the places we thought about stopping at were not yet open. If they had been, we could have easily spent even more time on this beautiful island.
We stopped at Chocolaterie de l’Ile d’Orleans for breakfast and delicious chocolates, stopped at a roadside stand for some fresh strawberries (which were delicious! - Thankfully, the strawberry crop was 3 weeks early this year, we were told.), stopped at a poissonnerie in St Pierre for smoked fish and stopped at the Cidre Domaine Steinbach were we sampled mustards, chutneys, jellies, and ciders and ice cider. We discovered that some of the restaurants were not yet open for the summer season but were pointed to Resto-Pub l’O2 de I’Ile for lunch where we had a good, quick lunch. While the people working at these stops spoke more French and less English than the people we encountered in Montreal and Quebec City restaurants and stores, thanks to their English and my much, much more limited French, we were able to communicate just fine. They were all very nice and indulgent with my attempts at communicating in French.
The entire island was beautiful, and each of its villages were unique. Even the architecture and building materials changed some depending on the village, though you can find red roofs throughout the island. We enjoyed observing the differences in these villages – from the agricultural areas with its rolling farmland and livestock to the maritime areas to the areas dotted with vineyards – and enjoyed seeing the differing views from around the island - Quebec City, Montmorency Falls, the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains. Each time I would think that is my favorite view, it would quickly be replaced by a new favorite. I would suggest taking time to stop from time to time to take in these views. I would also suggest climbing the observation tower; it is not a long climb and definitely not a steep climb, and the views it affords of the river, mountains and the island are amazing.
The bridge to Ile d’Orleans is opposite the exit for Montmorency Falls. I would suggest after visiting the Ile d’Orleans, cross over and visit the falls too. Montmorency Falls although much more narrow than Niagara are higher than Niagara. We took the tram to the top and enjoyed the walk to the observation deck and across the bridge across the falls. The views from the bridge down on the falls (we caught several glimpses of rainbows in the spray) and the views across to the Ile d’Orleans were beautiful. We could just feel the power of the falls, especially while standing about it on the bridge.
We both really enjoyed this part of the trip.