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March 2015
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Visit Wendake, Quebec’s First Nations Village

Visit Wendake, Quebec’s First Nations Village. Photo 1: JP Rivard. Photo 2: Lobby, JelBé. Photo 3, 4: Maison Longue © Louise Bilodeau. Québec Canada. Courtesy of Tourisme Wendake

A wonderful alternative to hotels in the heart of Quebec itself is to stay in the small village of Wendake, a ten-minute journey from the city. And the descendants of the Huron Wendat, the first inhabitants of Quebec, manage this zone. But this is a long way from the often-deprived Indian reserves that you find across America. Here, these ‘first nation’ members have admirably taken destiny into their own hands. They have built a magnificent hotel-museum. In the hotel, guests are housed in superb bedrooms decorated with traditional paintings and beaver pelt cushions. There is also a sophisticated outdoor spa and the restaurant, La Traite, offers cuisine inspired by northern forest herbs, grain and meat traditionally consumed by the Hurons Wendat. This is without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Quebec, both original and sumptuous. With the museum adjoined to the hotel, this offers visitors a chance to understand the lives of these natives, before the French arrived in Canada. A spectacular traditional ‘longhouse’ has even been built inside. Here, you can spend a night as the locals do, on a wooden bed base around a log fire. This is a unique opportunity to embrace the daily existence of this neat little village, which bursts with treasures. In the small church, go and observe the statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, nicknamed the ‘lily of the Mohawks’ and the first American-Indian Saint to the canonised by Benedict XVI in 2012. And finally, don’t miss the Gros Louis boutique, which makes what many consider to be the best snowshoes in Canada…

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