Red sandstone cliffs and incredible food await you in this archipelago off the coast of Nova Scotia. By Shrimayee Thakur
Dubbed the ‘Lobster Capital of Quebec’, Les Îles de la Madeleine is a set of islands located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Largely untouched by time, the islands have one town, Cap-aux-Meules, where most amenities are available. The rest of these charming islands comprises of small villages. Havre-Aubert, a village in Les Îles de la Madeleine is part of ‘Les plus beaux villages du Québec’, or the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Quebec. The residents of this old world archipelago have retained their unique cultures and accents, which can vary from island to island. Their warm hospitality charms all those who visit the islands. The grassy hills, vividly-coloured houses and long beaches provide the perfect backdrop for a destination wedding.
The Les Îles de la Madeleine has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, which can be explored at leisure. Grande Échouerie, offering 14 miles of uninterrupted sandy shores is a must-see. The waters are deliciously cold, reaching a temperature of 18℃ by mid-August. It is perfect for water sport activities such as kayaking to explore the shores and caves and swimming to indulge in with guests. Cycling is a great way to explore the islands, while enjoying the surrounding natural beauty, via land.
Le Site d’Autrefois in Île du Havre Aubert, where fisherman Claude Bourgeois presents Madelinian and Acadian culture through songs and stories, and Ècomusée de la Mi-Carême, a museum in Île du Cap aux Meules are excellent spots for visitors to immerse themselves in local culture. Head to the Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1925, to see their stained-glass window, that depicts Jesus wearing a woolen sweater and boots, and saying, “Come with me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Convent-turned-hotel Domaine du Vieux Couvent, built a century ago in Hauvre aux Maisons, is an intimate venue steeped in local history and culture. It has 11 rooms and a mesmerising view of the sea. La Salicorne Auberge has 26 rooms for larger wedding parties, and their packages include breakfast and a four-course dinner. It also has activities like boating, hiking and cave expeditions. For excellent meals, make a stop at La Table des Roy, an award winning restaurant offering delicious seafood and French cuisines. For traditional Québécois cuisine, dine at Le Sablier, where you can enjoy a view of the sea and eat fresh lobster.