The Getaway
15 Reasons to Stop in Trois-Rivières

Trois-Rivières, one of the oldest cities in Quebec in the province's Mauricie region, is ideally situated at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Saint-Maurice Rivers. Often overshadowed by Montreal, T-R has its fair share of appeal, from culture and natural beauty to a unique blend of historical charm and vibrant modern life. A mini break here means indulging in top-notch French Canadian cuisine in between ambling past impressive French colonial architecture, letting loose in applause-worthy nightlife venues, or unwinding in ecologically special nature reserves.

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01 Explore the historic Old Trois-Rivières

Assumption Cathedral in Trois-Rivières, Canada, or Cathédrale de l'Assomption de Trois-Rivières in French

Walk the heritage trail through the historic district's picturesque streets and various landmarks will transport you back in time. You'll notice well-preserved buildings with many gable roofs, dormer windows, and chimneys. Architecture aficionados will recognize the French Regime style. On Rue Des Ursulines, which used to be known as Rue Notre-Dame, the Trois-Rivières Historical Complex contains 18th-century Récollets religious buildings and homes that belonged to notable people such as Major de Gannes. The complex survived an old town fire in 1908.

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02 Pop into the Musée des Ursulines

Rue de Ursuline was built in 1650, which is ancient as far as streets go. It gets its name from the Ursuline sisters, women of prayer who contributed significantly to the fabric of Trois-Rivières society, founding schools and hospitals and remaining in the area for three centuries until 2019. The museum is housed in the former convent.

Trois-Riviére, Canada - July 15 2023: Beautiful dome of chapel in Ursulines of Trois-Riviére Vincent JIANG / Shutterstock.com

03 Visit Boucher-De Niverville Manor

The 17th-century Boucher-De-Niverville Manor on Rue Bonaventure offers a glimpse into Bourgeoisie life in New France. This beautiful stone structure with original woodwork was formally categorized as a historic monument in 1960. History buffs will appreciate the one-hour guided tours, which provide context about the trades and customs of the wealthy family and their descendants who lived here—what they ate, wore, and believed. The site features a permanent exhibition, temporary cultural exhibits, and a lovely garden to enjoy on a solo outing or with company.

Trois Rivieres, Quebec/Canada - October 2 2019: built around 1668, the 'Manoir Boucher-De Niverville' is a historical manor house in the style of French colonial architecture. Mystic Stock Photography / Shutterstock.com

04 Engage with local art at Galerie d'Art du Parc and other galleries

Also on Rue des Ursulines, Galerie d'art du Parc is a highlight for art connoisseurs and showcases the diversity of the local art scene, from traditional to contemporary works. The gallery hosts a biennale and puts on at least ten exhibitions a year at the Manoir de Tonnancour, a historical space with a pleasant ambiance. A well-curated selection of international and local artists and installations stoke creativity and inspire visitors to contemplate various issues. Staff are warm, and children are welcome. Most exhibits are free and visitors can choose to donate.

05 Visit the Musée POP

Musée POP focuses on Québécoise pop culture. It's a colorful, super engaging destination for all ages where you can spend at least two leisurely hours. Exhibition topics run the gamut from trains, sports, furniture, the circus, and gender equality to incarcerations at the prison next door. The exhibits are interactive and sometimes involve games. Kids will enjoy the superhero's quest on the second floor. Guided tours in English aren't always available, so that's worth considering if you don't speak French. You can also attend events like Musical Lunch presented by conservatory students.

06 Relax or attend a mass at the Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Cap

Canada's shrine to the Virgin Mary attracts hundreds of thousands of Catholic pilgrims and visitors every year. It was founded in 1888, but the modern basilica, which accommodates more than 1,600 people, was only built in 1964. Gorgeous stained glass windows, a dome that rises to 125 feet, and a St. Lawrence River location combine to make this spiritual destination a key city landmark. You can look forward to candlelit processions, organ concerts, art symposiums, a Christmas market, and other seasonal events.

The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Cap is a basilica an important Catholic sanctuary which receives pilgrims meunierd / Shutterstock.com

07 Stroll through the Parc Portuaire

This terraced promenade offering scenic waterfront views and a relaxing atmosphere along the St. Lawrence River is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Bright flowers add cheer, and benches ensure you can stop for a breather. Parc Portuaire is in the heart of downtown, close to amenities and Boulevard des Forges restaurants for a meal. Festivals that celebrate blues music, poutine, and more take place here, and leisure activities include fishing, picnicking, and pleasure boating. A play area keeps children busy, and paid parking is reasonably priced.

08 Enjoy outdoor activities on Saint-Quentin Island

Saint Quentin Island is a year-round getaway. Go camping to feel like you're far away from the city without leaving, and enjoy an array of recreational activities with the convenience of on-site showers and a store. You can do water sports during summer and skate during winter. This urban park affords folks the opportunity to swim in the St. Maurice River, but there's also a large pool. Cycle along the bike path or hike the two-mile loop, taking in the floral landscaping and greenery. You can rent a kayak or volleyball equipment or look out for ruins from a time when members of the Algonquin tribe lived on the island.

09 Observe wildlife at Lac-Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve

UNESCO recognizes the Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere Reserve (RBLSP) for its unique ecosystems, including internationally important wetlands. It is home to the continent's largest heronry and attracts scores of migratory birds, so avid birders will be in their element here. The reserve also accommodates 318,000 residents active in agriculture, tourism, and other industries. Recreational activities include sport fishing, sailing, waterskiing, snowmobiling, and wildlife spotting. Goose hunting is permitted during Spring, and birdwatchers can observe snow geese during this season.

10 Snap photos of the Laviolette Bridge

The Laviolette Bridge links Trois-Rivières to Bécancour, and Montréal to Québec City. This long, iconic arch bridge took three years to construct at a cost of fifty million CAD. It has 34 pillars and stretches for 8,881 feet. Before the bridge came to be in the middle of the 20th century, the Bourgeois family's ferries transported people and goods from one bank of the St. Lawrence River to the other. The best place to take good photos is at the foot of the bridge, from the water, or while on the bridge, and early morning is the quietest time.

11 Experience the local culinary scene

Trois-Rivieres serves food to suit every palate, and standout establishments abound. Head to Le Temps d'une Pinte for tapas, creative Quebecois fare, and good vibes. The beef and trout tartare here are popular choices. Le Sacristain is arguably the best restaurant in the city for salads and grilled sandwiches, impeccable service, and people-watching, and Poivre Noir is great for a fancy date night with gorgeously presented food made from local ingredients. Of course, you have to try poutine while you're in town, and Restaurant Patachou is a good place to start. Le Lupin is famous for Brittany pancakes, and Le Bureau de Poste is known for serving satisfying budget-friendly food until the early hours. Le Rouge Vin's seafood buffet is a pescatarian dream.

12 Experience nightlife and bar hop on Rue des Forges

Check out these must-visit spots for an authentic Trois-Rivières night out. Le Temple gets the party going with a youthful crowd and excellent DJs. If you enjoy singing in addition to dancing, La P'tite Grenouille is a blast, where peals of laughter accompany the sound of clinking glasses. Themed evenings and prizes make for a whole lot of fun. For more of a speakeasy feel, Les Contrebandiers is the place to be, but if it's a hoedown you're after, Jack Saloon does not disappoint. When the weather cools, enjoy the heated patio at Shaker Cuisine and Mixologie.

13 Shop at Centre Commercial Les Rivières

Shopaholics will not find Trois-Rivières wanting, and Centre Les Rivières is the most convenient way to see what's on offer. This bustling mall encompasses a range of shopping options, from local boutiques to well-known brands. There are over 130 stores where you can explore unique local products or find the necessary item you forgot at home, and the food court's architecture gets a nod of approval, too.

14 Attend a show at the Amphithéâtre Cogeco

For starters, the Amphithéâtre Cogeco is striking from a design perspective. In summer, this magical entertainment venue comes alive with world-class productions, including musicals, the gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil, Festival Trois-Rivières en blues, and touring artists. The acoustics are fantastic for an open-air theatre, and the river views are the cherry on top of the creme brulee. A shuttle service from the city center is efficient and reliable. Make sure to carry a coat for when temperatures dip at night.

15 Experience the Grand Prix Trois-Rivières

August is all about the vroom-vroom and the thrills. Come and witness high speeds along the city's street circuit, a tradition that's been ongoing since 1967, which makes the grand prix here the longest-running street race in North America. Tristan Vautier achieved the fastest race lap in 2012 in a Dallara IPS.

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