In 2016, I rode the Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant. The event introduced me to some of the roads of the region. I liked them so much, that I made sure to get out to explore a bit before I had to head home the day after the big ride. But I wanted more.

This year, when I knew I’d be returning to the Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant with my colleague Dan Walker (who had done the ride two years ago), we made sure to schedule some more time for riding afterwards.

On the Sunday following the gran fondo, we left our hotel on the Mont-Tremblant resort and headed to the old village a few kilometres away. We got things started at la Sandwicherie café with coffee and pastries, and a bit of local knowledge to help us with our ride. We were going to start things off on a section of the le P’tit Train du Nord trail, a 232-km cycle path and linear park built from an old railway line. (See below for Ride with GPS map we started from.) Mathieu at la Sandwicherie thought we should skip that part of le P’tit Train du Nord and head to Chemin du Lac Mercier. It was a rolling road with trees close to the edge, a nice way to kick things off.

Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant 2017

Image: René-Pierre Normandeau

On Route des Tulipes, which followed the Riviere Rouge, we were flanked by farmer’s fields. After we crossed under Highway 117, we arrived in La Conception, an unassuming little town. We heard from a local source that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have a place here. They enjoy skiing in the area during the winter, and people give the stars their space.

From La Conception, we went south for a few more kilometres, rounding Montagne d’Argent, which I decided to translate as “Money Mountain.” I hear that what’s money about this mountain is the rock and ice climbing. Then it was northward. We did link up with the le P’tit Train du Nord trail as we neared the old village of Mont-Tremblant once again.

My return to Mont-Tremblant also gave us the opportunity to try some of the great restaurants in the region. The dining on the resort is great—both Dan and I are fans of La Diable – Microbrasserie—but there is so much great stuff in the nearby towns.

Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant 2017

Image: René-Pierre Normandeau

We went to Seb L’artisan culinaire in the village of Saint-Jovite, also referred to as Mont-Tremblant’s downtown. The restaurant is 12 years old and in a large old house. The front windows let in the evening sun. At the entrance, there’s an traditional carpenter’s bench and a candelabra caked with years of melted candles. (They don’t light candles on it anymore, for safety reasons.) Our meal at Seb was a four-course affair with a wine pairing at each course. The opening croquette was matched with a sparkling rosé. The salad with strawberries, asparagus and lobster paired with a riesling from Alsace. The main was cod with potatoes and mushrooms and an oaky California chardonnay. Dessert: key-lime pie, sorbet and a muscat. And, to top it off, there was a homemade, square marshmallow.

The next evening, in the old village, we went to Restaurant Patrick Bermand. It has a rustic look, and you can see some of the action in the kitchen as you enter. I started with the seasonal soup, which was squash-based. The main was a pan-seared Arctic char. We were spoiled when it came to dessert: a tray that included homemade marshmallows, crème brûlée, meringues, mango ice cream and chocolate mousse for our group.

If my luck keeps up, I’ll return to Mont-Tremblant once again. I have to explore the roads to the east, past Lac Superieur. And, off-bike, I know there are more culinary delights.


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