Taking its name from the Chaudière River and the Appalachian hills, this region abounds with ancestral features and bears witness to the early settlement of New France. Among the very first areas of North America to be colonized, it is an ideal place to discover the architecture of historical homes, manoirs and seigneuries, as well as 19th-century mills and factories bearing witness to the region’s later industrialization.
The region is bordered by the Eastern Townships and the Centre-du-Québec, as well as the Lower St. Lawrence as far east as the Maine border. The Chaudière-Appalaches is across the St. Lawrence River from the Capitale-Nationale area. With easily 300 years of history, the Chaudière-Appalaches is rich in Canadian customs and heritage. Dating back to bygone generations, some grand old houses dot the shores of the St. Lawrence in villages like Lotbinière, Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Saint-Michel, Saint-Vallier and L’Islet. These villages happen to be some of the oldest settlements of New France. In fact, it wasn’t until the British took over that settlement started moving inland, away from the river.
The 136 municipalities that comprise the Chaudière-Appalaches region are divided into nine regional county municipalities (RCMs): the Beauce-Sartigan RCM, the Bellechasse RCM, the L’Islet RCM, the Nouvelle-Beauce RCM, the Appalaches RCM, the Etchemins RCM, the Lotbinière RCM, the Montmagny RCM and the Robert-Cliche RCM. Although the city of Lévis is in the region, it is not classified as an RCM. Speaking of Lévis, this is where Alphonse Desjardins and his wife Dorimène founded Quebec’s first credit union in 1900. The Caisse Desjardins is now the province’s largest. Today, one can still visit the historic Desjardins home, which is now a year-round museum.
Besides the Desjardins museum, this region of Quebec makes a multitude of activities available to anyone with a little energy to spare. At the Massif de Québec, for example, you can hike in the summer and downhill-ski in the winter. Plus, there are trails laid out for motorized activities year-round. All aquatic sports can be practised on the St. Lawrence, and there are a number of festivals to take in. Thetford Mines takes special pride in its museum of mineralogy and mining, while Sainte-Marie has one on aviation. The Chaudière-Appalaches also features a choice of captivating tourist discovery routes: Le Pèlerin, L’Insulaire, L’Explorateur, La Famille, Le Coloré, Le Gourmand and L’Aventurier (the pilgrim, islander, explorer, family, colourful, gourmet and adventurer).
For history buffs, an excursion to Grosse-Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site is billed as a “journey through time.” Learn about your roots with this moving account of immigration in Canada. This is the place where thousands of Irish immigrants were quarantined before continuing their journey into the Americas.
A natural choice for foreign investors seeking to live the Quebec experience to its fullest, the Chaudière-Appalaches region offers a diverse pallet of choices, with a little something for everyone. Whether you’re thinking about a rustic country cottage, a grand ancestral home or a luxury estate along the St. Lawrence, as the locals say: “It’s God’s country. There’s something here for everyone.”