A jaunt around Joliette

Joliette ducks

Glowing from our evening of Wagner at the Lanaudiere Festival we decide to explore Joliette. We pour maple syrup over our breakfast  (we are in Quebec after all) at the Hotel Chateau Joliette and head out into the sunshine (28C).  The town is 50 kilometres (30 miles) north-east of Montreal and lies on the L'Assomption River. The hotel itself has a great view of the river and is just a few steps from a small sandy beach. We cross the river and pass the sunbathing ducks and cyclists in Park Renaud and head into the town centre.

Joliette, Quebec

Joliette was orginally established in 1823 with the less attractive name of Industrie by businessman and politician Barthelemy Joliette who exported lumber to Britain. There are some attractive homes scattered around and quaint tree-lined streets and a typical Quebecois cathedral with silver spire (Saint Charles Borromee) . It's a Monday so we aren't able to visit the Antoine Lacombe House and Gardens which look so pleasant. Pavement cafes are just opening for lunch time when we bump into locals Stevie-Ray and Sasha who are getting a drink of water in the heat after a walk.  Stevie Ray is named after the guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and gives his owner the most trouble. 

Meeting the locals in Joliette

Like Stevie Ray we are feeling the heat and head off to find the local beach. Park Saint Jean Bosco is the place to swim and so we take the left-overs from the Wagner picnic at Lanaudiere Festival and bathe in the river. A lifeguard tells us the water is only knee-deep. We don't want to seem disappointed and so we still attempt to swim in it, banging our knees on the sand. The park seems popular with cyclists who ride above us over a bridge as we swim/splash in the river below. It is only as we emerge from the cooling waters that the lifeguard tells us there is an adult beach further down the river in a deeper section. We have been swimming in a wading pool!

Lifeguard at Parc Saint Jean-Bosco

 Undaunted we crack open the picnic and dry off, laughing at our own stupidity. I'd like to spend more time here, explore the art museum, cathedral and pavement cafes but the city beckons. On our return I explain to friends I have been to Canada's biggest classical music festival. It attracts 55,000 music lovers and has an amphitheatre and lawn which can accommodate up to 8000 people. The response is always "Really? In Joliette?" as if it is the last place on earth you would expect to find it. Maybe that is what makes it so great.

Joliette, Quebec

Joliette store sign

Want to read about more festivals?

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