Eeyou Istchee Baie-James summer and winter: looking back on our getaways
Highly colourful get-togethers
Text by Filles du Nord
In 2019, we had an opportunity to get to know the region of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James. Our goal was to meet with locals from different backgrounds and document their stories, learn about the region's cultural and social life, and take part in outdoor activities.
While there was only a light dusting of snow on the ground elsewhere in Québec, we found ourselves in a middle of a blizzard as we passed the famous signpost informing us of our arrival in the Jamésie region.
By this point, we'd already fallen under the spell of the boreal setting's beauty and the sheer vastness of the landscape. The ground was a sheet of pristine white. No doubt about it - winter was upon us. “Welcome to Eeyou Istchee Baie-James,” our surroundings seemed to proclaim.
Hiking in Matagami
In Matagami, we met Carol-Guillaume, Joanie, and Mylène. All three quickly understood how much we liked the outdoors and decided to show us the best their region had to offer before sending us on our way. They took us to their favourite mountain in the area: Mont Laurier.
Thanks to the previous day's flurry, the forest had an absolutely magical look with the conifers in their white coats and the trail covered by a thick carpet of snow. What a sporting challenge it was to climb the mountains in these conditions - but well worth the effort! When the sky is clear, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the town and, from the peak, a lovely view of Lac Matagami.
Nature-inspired dynamic culture
Another highlight of our visit has to be the region's dynamic culture and its emphasis on the arts.
In Matagami, we also met Stéfanie, an artist who has settled in the Jamésie region. The North has been a true revelation for Stéfanie, who now devotes herself full time to her art, drawing inspiration from her natural surroundings.
In Chibougamau, we had an opportunity to appreciate the extent of the region's artistic talent during our visit to the Christmas market, where we met the luminous Emmanuelle Gendron. Emmanuelle was a tattoo artist and painter in Québec City before she fell in love with the landscapes of Baie-James and moved to the region with her family.
An improvised getaway a few years later
At the end of the summer, we were back in the region for a short stay in Chibougamau.
After an active day of hiking and mountain-biking, we made our way to Maître Renard microbrewery. The food was scrumptious, and the craft beers were out of this world. It's definitely a not-to-be-missed destination in Chibougamau and a great way to cap off a busy day playing outdoors.
Luxury in the wild
The icing on the cake? We had an opportunity to spend the night in one of Chibougamau Aventure's domes. There was a huge bay window with a panoramic view of the lake and a whirlpool right on the terrace - a truly royal treatment in wonderful natural surroundings! We even enjoyed our coffee in the whirlpool in the morning before heading for home
Summer or winter, the region casts a spell
We made two trips in two different seasons and came to one conclusion: there is so much to discover in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, winter and summer! The region's warm welcome, vibrant culture, and vast expanses are like no other.
You, too, can create lasting memories in this wonderful place.