Tadoussac, which started as a trading post, is the oldest still existing French settlement in the western hemisphere. Explorer Jacques Cartier visited the area in 1535, followed by Pierre de Chauvin in 1599 and Samuel de Champlain in 1603. The first official fur trade post in Canada was established in 1600; the village (which celebrated its 400th birthday in 2000) boasts of many homes more than a century old.
A small village hidden in a mountain valley, Tadoussac occupies a privileged position at the maritime crossroads of the Saguenay fjord and the majestic St. Lawrence river, with sand dunes and a small lake in the heart of the village.
Quebec Route 138 crosses the Saguenay River from Baie Sainte-Catherine by ferry. This is the usual means of entry into the area from Quebec City and points westward. From Tadoussac, Route 138 continues downriver beyond Sept-Iles.
There is also ferry service across the St. Lawrence from Saint-Siméon to Rivière-du-Loup.
A highway (172 from Tadoussac or 170 from Saint-Siméon) follows the fjords of the Saguenay river westward to Chicoutimi-Jonquière (as this is mostly parkland, there are no services and no cell towers on this road). A bridge crosses the Saguenay in Chicoutimi-Nord.
- Intercar, 414, rue du Bateau Passeur (Motel Restaurant Chantmartin), ☏ . Intercity bus once daily from Québec City. Passengers originating in Montréal will incur a seven-hour trip (leaving at 06:00, then transferring from Orleans Express at Abraham-Martin).
Tadoussac is at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers and accessible seasonally by boat.
- Marina de Tadoussac, 100 rue Bord de l’Eau, ☏ , fax: . late May-mid October. Marina with boat ramp, gas and diesel, on-site boutique, restaurant and bar. Wi-fi, laundry, showers. $1.66/foot (docking, per day).
- Marina de l'Anse de Roche (Club de yacht de Sacré-Coeur), 346, ch. de l'anse de Roche, Sacré-Coeur (Rivière Saguenay, 15 km/9 miles upstream of Tadoussac), ☏ , fax: .
You can walk from and to anywhere in town.
- Centre d'interprétation des mammifères marins (Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre), 108 rue de la Cale-Sèche, ☏ , fax: .
- Club de golf de Tadoussac, 367 rue des Pionniers, ☏ , toll-free: .
Whales and wildlife
The area is well known for its whale watching opportunities on the St. Lawrence River; multiple companies offer excursions on small boats. One of the best sites south of the Arctic to see beluga whales; fin whales, minke whales and harbour porpoises are particularly common, with humpback whales and blue whales also sometimes visible. Most boat tours are seasonal, running from May to September.
Excursions up the Saguenay River provide the opportunity to see belugas, as well as at least three species of seal (grey seal, harbour seal, harp seal) which give birth on the rocky shores.
- Otis Excursions, ☏ , , toll-free: . Run excursions in small boats of up to 12 passengers (2 or 3 hour duration). Adults from $58.
- Tadoussac Autrement, departs from marina, 100 rue du Bord de l'Eau, ☏ . Whale watching aboard a 12-passenger zodiac boat, fjord excursions, sea kayaking. Restrictive cancellation policy, no toilets on board. $75/adult (whale watching).
Eat and drink
There are restaurants at various hotels in the area.
- Mer et Monde Café, 87 Principale, Les Bergeronnes (Route 138 from Tadoussac, then left), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Café-bistro. This same organisation conducts Mer et Monde Écotours, which depart from Tadoussac (148 rue du Bord de l'eau).
- Hôtel Tadoussac, 165 rue Bord de l'Eau, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Constructed in 1865, this seasonal (May–October) hotel has three restaurants, a bar, six holes of miniature golf, an outdoor tennis court and outdoor pool with lifeguard.
- Motel-Restaurant ChantMartin, 414, rue du Bateau Passeur (route 138), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . 24-room motel with cable TV, Internet and 120-seat café/restaurant, open year-round, near snowmobile trail and ferry. $80-130/night.
- Camping Tadoussac, 428 rue du Bateau-Passeur, ☏ , toll-free: . Clean, well organised camping ground. $28 (camping spot).
|Routes through Tadoussac|
|Quebec City ← Baie-Saint-Paul ←||W E||→ Baie-Comeau → Sept-Îles|
|Alma ← Chicoutimi-Nord ←||W E||→ ENDS|