""Aux Retours Aux Sources" - The Town's Motto" Papineauville by johngayton
Papineauville Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 16 photos
Papineauville (pop 2380) straddles the provincial highway 148 about midway between Gatineau and Montreal. I suppose that unless they have a good reason to stop here most people pass through without even noticing the place.
Which is a bit of a pity really as the town does have a very definite, if understated, character. Not only is it located in stunningly beautiful scenery, between the Ottawa River to the south and the hills of the Petite Nation valley to the north, but also provides for all the useful bits and bobs required by the local rural population.
Most things here come in pairs - at each end of the town is a roadside mall (the SAQ is on the eastern one!) with a good mix of stores. Downtown there are a pair of bars, two restaurants, a couple of depanneurs and even two banks. Also downtown is a very French-looking Mairie, next-door to which is the fire station (the fire service being described on the town's website as "renowned for its efficiency") and across the road is a slightly delapidated, but still impressive, church.
The town perhaps doesn't look its best on a grey winter afternoon but judging by the list of clubs and organisations on its website (www.mun-papineauville.qc.ca) it looks as if it is quite a lively little place - there's an Athletic Club, Soccer Club, Hockey (of course!) Club, Gymnastics Club and several other sporting associations.
For the non-sportifs (although affiliation, I assume, is not mutually exclusive) there's the Farmer's Circle, the Firemen's Social Committee (sorry "Pompier" is a French masculine noun and so even if you are a female firefighter you are still a "Fireman' ;)) and the general purpose Liesure Corporation.
There's kid's clubs (including a Club Optimiste), a Horticultural Society and even a "Comite des Affairs Culturelles".
So yep, there's plenty of things happening here, summer and winter - the local Marina is a boaty haven tucked away in the Pentecost Bay whilst the winter offers great cross-coutry skiing.
During my very short visit (2 evenings followed by 6 am starts) I got the impression of a small town which was happy with itself. On what would be the town green, if it hadn't been several feet deep in snow, (next to the Mairie) there was an interesting collection of local artworks - I think made by the kids at the primary school opposite - with a winter theme.
There was also a kite flying competition taking place on the Saturday afternoon which seemed pretty competitive. At the local bar we found on the Friday evening we were immediately greeted with a "Cheers-like" "BONSOIR!" from the young crowd as we entered and felt immediately comfortable.
Despite my naff French (which is even naffer when attempted here in Canada) I never had any problems with communication - well apart from on the first evening when my request for a Labbatt's Bleu resulted in a small bottle - the second evening I got local status and was duly accorded the 740ml version!
You mean - apart from the beer?
One of the town's annual happenings is that it provides the overnight dormitory accommodation (at its high school) for the Canadian Ski Marathon which takes place over a weekend each February.
The 160 kilometre Canadian Ski Marathon is the world's longest ski tour and its route runs through the forested hills between Gatineau and Lachute. This is a two day event with its halfway point at nearby Montebello. There the Chateau Montebello provides luxurious overnight accomodation for the more upscale types whilst us proles make do with a sleeping bag on a classroom floor here in Papineauville.
For more info on the CSM here's the site: www.csm-mcs.com or watch out for my forthcoming Province of Quebec page.
- Pros:Choice Of Two Bars!
- Cons:Not the place to be if you are an arsonist!
- In a nutshell:Definitely On-the-beaten-path, Just A Little Neglected
It's obviously important when taking part in any marathon-type event to train and be otherwise adequately prepared. Part... more travel advice
Whist Papineauville is on the main road between Ottawa and Montreal it is, as I said in my intro, the sort of place... more travel advice
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