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Like many of the best things in life taking the Isle-aux-Coudres ferry was done on a bit of an impulse. We were camping with our youngest son in the Hautes-Gorges Quebec provincial park. We'd had a great day of hiking to the top of the gorge, but the next day the weather hit us with steady heavy rain. When you're camping it's tough to find something fun to do in conditions like that, so we hit the road to explore that part of Charlevoix.
After checking the map over lunch in La Malbaie we noticed the Isle-aux-Coudres ferry and headed straight there. It was a miserable grey, wet crossing with the cloud base almost on top of us, but it turned the day around, and even the rain let up a it once we landed. The island rises gently to about 100 m and is about half agricultural and half forested.
The tide was out so we stopped a while to explore the mud flats, and then carried on to see the rest of the island. Near the southern tip we came across a restored windmill and went in to what is a great little museum featuring both the windmill and a working water mill. An excellent find on a wet day. In fact the island boasts a number of low key but interesting attractions for the tourist, making it well worth more than the scant half day we spent there. Next time!
The name…Courdrier is an old French word for a hazel nut tree. Isle is the old French spelling for island, and Île the new spelling. Both are used here; the municipality is officially called L'Isle-aux-Coudres, whereas the physical island is called Île-aux-Coudres.
And the rain? It was pouring again as we headed back to our campsite in the hills that night. So much so that our headlights constantly picked out small frogs hopping from one side of the road to the other!

Location
Ferry info
Year-round
Runs to a schedule 7 to 11:30 Crossing time 20 minutes, 3.7
The boats
Cost
Free
Operator
Société des traversiers du Québec
Website
When I used the ferry
August 2004

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