The Island of Orleans has long been inhabited by indigenous tribes. The Huron called it Minigo – Enchantress – precisely because it is inherently charming. Jacques Cartier, setting foot on the island in 1535, named it the Island of Bacchus, due to the plentiful grapes that grow there. But a year later, he renamed it in honor of the Duke of Orleans. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was also called Grande Ile, Sainte-Marie, and Saint-Laurent for periods of time. The Island has six municipalities, all named after saints, of course! Each has a church and its own character.
We found it delightful. There are several chocolateries selling chocolates and fabulous chocolate dipped ice cream. There is a fromagerie, a cheese maker, making and selling the first cheese ever made in America. It is served pan fried, melted and with a crust on the outside, and is wonderful. Driving around the entire island was interesting. It is 28 miles long and 5 miles wide. We passed huge mansions, some with long driveways and gates, as well as modest homes. We even passed a tiny one-room house. It was surprising that so many had a red roof, or lots of red accents in the form of doors and shutters. You can see the St. Lawrence River from everywhere on the island, as coffee shops and restaurants have capitalized on the view. Even some cows had a view of the river! We loved the French spelling of “picnic” in the last photo!