First, I have to admit up front that I cheated a bit; Silvia had invited me to go to the north of the island by following Saint-Laurent Boulevard to Ahuntsic, but as Sylvain had sent me to the area last year, I chose to go through Côte-des -Neiges and Vieux-Saint-Laurent to go directly to Cartierville. In doing so, I discovered a neighborhood in Saint-Laurent that is certainly worth a visit. Thanks to recommendations from colleagues who live in the district (thank you, Jean, thank you, Josée!), I was able to stock up on food before setting off towards Cap–Saint-Jacques.
It was a little early for dinner at the Les Bourrelets café, but my neighbors’ croque monsieur and generously garnished sandwich looked downright appetizing – their reaction and their comments gleaned while sipping my excellent coffee confirmed my impressions. So I headed to the Dolci Più patisserie, on the other side of Décarie Boulevard, to find something to have a little picnic at the beach – pizza on focaccia and freshly garnished cannoli, it looks promising!
Well, one cheat is enough; From there, we stick to Silvia’s itinerary! I quickly put Roxboro and Pierrefonds behind me before crossing the charming village of Sainte-Geneviève. We now feel far from the city center. Shortly after, here is an almost rural area, which borders the 330 hectares of the Cap–Saint-Jacques nature park, the largest park on the island of Montreal. This is where the famous beach promised by Silvia is located. It’s nice and warm, dozens of families are having fun in the water of Lac des Deux Montagnes.
I’m tempted to imitate them, but I’m happy to have a bite to eat before going for a little walk on the park’s trails – the hiking network actually extends over 8.3 km through the agricultural and forest landscapes of the Grand Parc de l’Ouest, a project in development which promises to bring together the five nature parks of the west of the island of Montreal, to which must be added other vast natural spaces such as the Morgan Arboretum of McGill University. We’re talking about 3,000 hectares in total!
Well, our walk did not have such ambitions, but it still allowed us to discover Château Gohier, an improbable residence built in 1916 by Édouard Gohier, the first mayor of what was called the city at the time. of Saint-Laurent. The place is well preserved, but is now only used for its sanitary facilities, although the large living room and its impressive fireplace house some natural interpretation panels.
If Château Gohier is a little sad, we will be well served by continuing west on Boulevard Gouin. In fact, it takes effort to keep your eyes on the road as the residences are so opulent! One could imagine for a moment in the Napa Valley if a few vines could be added to the landscape. But what the hell do I see? Could it be a vineyard looming before our proud rubber-hoofed steed? No, we are not fantasizing, there are indeed 28,000 vine plants planted in the hillsides of Senneville!
With its approximately eight hectares of cultivable land, the Le Souffle de vie vineyard grows, among other things, Chardonnay, Chenin, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Muscat Chardonnay – I fell in love with the latter and I take this opportunity to add a bottle of L’Étoile du Matin in the trunk of the scooter. The owners quietly opened to the public last September after spending 10 years developing their products, all of which are certified organic.
For the moment, Souffle de vie wines are only offered at the estate, although a few restaurants are starting to offer them, such as Les Bienheureux, a small restaurant in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue which is said to be (very) good. Speaking of the small town in the western suburbs, it is precisely the next stop on our exotic journey. Here we find the famous Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue canal promenade, a wooden “boardwalk” with on one side the superb terraces of the many restaurants on rue Sainte-Anne and, on the other, the moored boats boaters passing through the lock between lakes Saint-Louis and Lac des Deux Montagnes.
Here, you have no choice but to follow Silvia’s recommendation to the letter: the Icy Vibes creamery offers sublime artisanal gelatos, including one with pistachio that is completely decadent, especially when you cover the ball of your cone with crushed pistachios. The taste is a bit reminiscent of Lebanese ashtas, and it’s honestly delicious!
I am well sated as I head back through the quiet municipalities of Baie-D’Urfé, Beaconsfield, Pointe-Claire and Dorval, where we see kitesurfers twirling on the waves of Lake Saint-Louis. Tell you how far away the city seems! Silvia, we’ll go back whenever you want!
I was given the mission to send Pierre-Marc to the beach, and I know that I hit the jackpot: the beach at Cap–Saint-Jacques is without a doubt one of the most beautiful on the island. Along the way, I came across a real “boardwalk” by chance that I didn’t know existed until now, admit it’s exotic! Are we going back together?