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The shores of the vast Gaspé peninsula are washed by the waters of Baie des Chaleurs, the St. Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Many Quebecers cherish unforgettable memories of their travels in this mythical land in the easternmost part of Québec. People dream of touring Gaspésie and discovering its magnificent coastal landscape, where the Monts Chic-Chocs plunge abruptly into the cold waters of the St. Lawrence. They dream of going all the way to the famous Rocher Percé, heading out to sea toward Île Bonaventure, visiting the extraordinary Forillon National Park, and then slowly returning along Baie des Chaleurs and through the valley of Rivière Matapédia in the hinterland. This beautiful part of Québec, with its strikingly picturesque scenery, is inhabited by friendly, fascinating people, who still rely mainly on the sea for their living. The majority of Gaspesians live in small villages along the coast, leaving the centre of the peninsula covered with dense Boreal forest. The highest peak in southern Québec lies here, in the part of the Appalachians known as the Chic-Chocs.
Parc de la Gaspésie (10 Boulevard Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, 763-3301) covers an area of 800km², and encompasses the famous Monts Chic-Chocs. It was established in 1937, in an effort to heighten public awareness regarding nature conservation in Gaspésie. The park is composed of conservation zones, devoted to the protection of the region's natural riches, and an ambient zone, made up of a network of roads, trails and lodgings.
It was in Gaspé that Jacques Cartier claimed Canada for King François I of France in early July 1534. But it was not until the beginning of the 18th century that the first fishing post was established in Gaspé, and the town itself didn't develop until the end of that century. The word Gaspé means "land's end" in the language of the Micmacs, who have been living in this region for thousands of years. Despite its isolation, the peninsula has attracted fishermen from many different places over the centuries, particularly Acadians driven from their lands by the English in 1755. Today, Gaspé is the most important town on the peninsula, in addition to being the region's administrative centre. The city follows the waterfront in a narrow ribbon of development. The Musée de la Gaspésie (80 Boulevard Gaspé, 368-1534) is a museum of history and popular tradition that houses a permanent exhibit entitled Un Peuple de la Mer (A People of the Sea), tracing life in Gaspésie from the first native inhabitants, members of the Micmac tribe, all the way up to the present day.
Upon arriving in Percé, visitors are greeted by the arresting sight of the famous Rocher Percé, a wall of rock measuring 400m in length and 88m in height at its tallest point. Its name, which translates as pierced rock, comes from the two entirely natural arched openings at its base. Only one of these openings remains today, since the eastern part of the rock collapsed in the mid-19th century. At low tide, starting from Plage du Mont Joli, it is possible to walk around the rock and admire the majestic surroundings and the thousands of fossils trapped in the limestone.
The motto of ForilIon National Park (122 Boulevard Gasp
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