(Le Bic) Chalets that are rented by the night. Fine products like at a hotel. A breathtaking view of Le Bic. Welcome to Le Vieux Loup de Mer, where the first rental is certainly not the last.
Nearly 25 years ago, Martin Gagnon and Jean-Luc Leblond bought their first cottage to restore it. “The real estate agent didn’t even tell us the land went all the way to the point. »
A hidden treasure since the point overlooked the haven of Bic.
“We fitted out the chalet and I placed a classified ad to rent it,” says Martin Gagnon.
The success was such that Jean-Luc Leblond and him erected a second dwelling, a third, and so on, at the rate of one per year. All from wooden frames of old ancestral houses, the first of which dates from 1859.
“We have become the crazy people of the village who rent dismantled chalets”, illustrates Martin Gagnon, recalling that this was long before the arrival of Airbnb and even before the Parc du Bic was under the aegis of the Société des Établissements. de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ).
If Jean-Luc Leblond was a plumbing and heating contractor like his father, he is an autodidact in construction and a lover of everything found in flea markets and garage sales.
“Jean-Luc has always picked up junk, his lover jokes. We collected stock for years without knowing what we were going to do with it. By recovering houses, we could put everything in them. »
Authenticity and a great concern for decor is precisely what makes the charm of the Vieux Loup de Mer chalets, of which there are 15 today.
What sets them apart is also the concept of “hotel chalets” that Jean-Luc Leblond and Martin Gagnon have developed over the past few years.
Not only can the chalets be rented by the night, there is also soap, coffee and even something to eat… Just like in a hotel! “There is someone at the reception,” adds Martin Gagnon.
It was at the start of the pandemic that Martin Gagnon came up with another concept: that of a pantry. “I called my friend Colombe St-Pierre,” says the one who became the only one to have products from the star chef outside his restaurant.
He also acquired a grocer’s liquor license and entrusted the wine list to Julien Gagnon of the Wino Import agency, so that we find in the pantry – the area of which was doubled during our visit – bottles from some of the most sought-after Quebec vineyards and even Auval beer (holy water for those who love it).
“When you arrive tired after a five-hour drive, you just want to sit at sunset and have a beer while eating,” illustrates Martin Gagnon, pointing out that orders can be made in advance by email and that any passer-by can stop to shop.
Recently, guests can also enjoy a chicken coop and a vegetable garden.
“Every year, we have something new,” Martin Gagnon told us during our visit last April.
The duo will set up a space – a kind of barn – to accommodate business groups and hold evening events. There will even be a kitchen whose chef-in-residence will be none other than Adrian Pastor, semi-finalist on Les Chefs! last year.
His dishes are already offered in the pantry of Vieux Loup de Mer. Even better: you can requisition his services as “chef at the chalet”.
Adrian Pastor loves cooking for people in the comfort of a home rather than in a restaurant. “The atmosphere is more relaxed and there is more contact with people. We leave a bigger trace in their minds. »
The native Peruvian who has lived in Quebec for six years is leading what he called the Yaku project (which means Water in the native Peruvian Quechua language). The St. Lawrence River inspired him in his quest to offer personalized culinary experiences that introduce him to his adopted region. “According to what nature gives me at the moment,” he clarifies.
For his part, Jean-Luc Leblond has a perpetual project: to build new chalets. The next on the list will give a second life to a frame that he repatriated last year from Saint-Octave-de-Métis.
Is there a finality? “I never stop,” agrees the man with such a calm temperament.
“Martin, he chatters, he chatters, and he chatters,” he jokes.
Jean-Luc Leblond and Martin Gagnon, it’s a lot of chalets, but above all it’s a beautiful love story that has lasted 28 years… Since Jean-Luc Leblond ordered a drink in a bistro in Saint- Luce. Martin Gagnon was behind the bar after leaving Drummondville and studying tourism at LaSalle College.
“We chatted, then it’s been going on since then,” says Jean-Luc Leblond.
This is probably why there is so much love in the chalets of Vieux Loup de Mer.