I was a bit hesitant to stay here, since there were so few reviews (my reason, in part, for writing this one), and one of them roundly negative. Still, I bit the bullet and booked for three nights. I came by bus from Quebec City, a very straightforward journey. The hostel, despite reports, is not at all hard to find. In fact, the bus stop is AT the auberge, and for those coming by car - the auberge is a short distance up the main road from where the car ferry arrives, on the right before the turn into the town itself.
I received a warm, bilingual welcome. I have to point out, I was one of the few Anglophones there, and most conversations were conducted in dodgy French. (Good chance to work on your French skills, I say!). The downstairs reception area is spacious, with couches and a fire, a couple of computers, a bookshelf or two, and free wifi.
I shared a four bed dormitory (two bunks) with two other women - the room was small but clean, and certainly warm enough. It is true, however, that the rooms do not lock, and there are no lockers provided. Unfortunately, one of the women in my room had a significant amount of money stolen from our room. I never left anything of real value in the room, and never felt unsafe. I suspect it was just someone opportunistically taking what was left out.
The showers downstairs were a bit institutional, and didn't encourage lingering, but the water was always hot and they seemed to be cleaned regularly. There's a payphone in one of the toilets. That seems worth mentioning!
The best thing about the auberge is the sense of community. By November, many of the locals go to the small adjoining bar (a lot of stuff is starting to close down around then), and I felt roundly welcomed. There's pool (billiards?) and sometimes live music in the bar.
The shared communal dinners are well worth the $10 - these are huge, homemade, three course affairs (nothing fancy), you're kind of expected to pitch in with the dishes or even the cooking, as if you've just eaten with your extended family! The breakfast (I can't remember the price, perhaps $4?) consisted of toast, jams, pancake batter (for you to cook your own), cheap maple syrup and decent percolated coffee.
The auberge offered all kinds of activities; hikes, a little, entertaining tour of the beaver dams with the truly rustic Coco, early morning visits to the dune (something to do with counting birds?) ... Tadoussac, in general, has so much surrounding natural beauty and wildlife, and the auberge makes a perfect base for exploring. I was lucky enough to be there for the first significant snowfall. The lake froze overnight and I went out with some locals and travellers to slide down the newly snowy, utterly deserted streets. I was praying that the snowfall would be so heavy that the bus wouldn't be able to come and take me back to Quebec City. There's a bit of magic in that place!
(I just remembered, there was a tiny bakery just around the corner from the auberge, which, by Novembe,r opened only on Saturday. If you're there on a Saturday (or in summer, probably most days), you can do nothing better than buy a loaf of their blueberry bread and a cup of the only real coffee in town (they even had soya milk!), and maybe eat it on the hill overlooking the fleuve, keeping a weather eye out for a late blue whale)
- Also Known As:
- Maison Majorique Youth Hostel Tadoussac, Quebec