Leaf Peeping on Horseback in St-Fabien, Quebec

View the fall foliage on horseback and learn about the history of Quebec villages along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

by Darley Newman

Saint-Fabien is a small village located in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, about a three and a half hour drive from Quebec City. We saddled up at Ranch St-Fabien to learn about the history of this area and go leaf peeping with a local. Check out the video below and read the transcript for more information.


Travel Video Transcript

DARLEY: We’re traveling to villages along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, a sparsely populated area of rolling hills, patchwork farms and rocky coves and bays. This part of Quebec has long attracted farmers and fisherman, as well as nature lovers.

DARLEY: We’re riding with Ranch CR, a working farm by the village of Saint-Fabien.

DARLEY: So we’re headed all the way up there.

MELISSA LEBLANC: All the way to the cross, yeah, where we’re going to have a nice view of the St. Fabien area.

DARLEY: Is that sort of the big landmark around here.

MELISSA: Yes, it is, and especially at night because it’s all light up.

DARLEY: And why did they choose a cross?

MELISSA: Because of the priest. In the 50’s they got a new priest, and he just wanted to have something to put St.-Fabien on the map.

DARLEY: During colonial times, only Roman Catholics from France were permitted to settle New France, what is now modern day Quebec. Because of centuries old cultural ties to France, Roman Catholicism remains a prominent faith in Quebec. Villages and towns throughout the province are home to beautiful well-preserved churches, like the one in Saint Fabien. There are also more modern tributes to the faith.

DARLEY: So who are these guys?

MELISSA: The one here. We’re gonna train him this winter and the other one is an old mare. She’s retired now. There’s about 63 horses. And mainly the horses are used for trail riding and we do have cows. There’s Angus, then Simmental then Charolais, just don’t know how to say that in English. Laughs

DARLEY: We take a short cut through the forest, as we make our way up to the higher fields.

MELISSA: I like those little hills just to show people how powerful is a horse, because when you’re just on like a little side road, you can’t really feel it. And I love that.

DARLEY: Yeah, and these Canadian horses are powerful.

MELISSA: Laughs. Horses are good four by four or four wheel drive or laughs.

DARLEY: At the top, we tie up our horses and hike to the lookout point.

DARLEY: Wow. We climbed higher than I thought. Laughs.

MELISSA: Oh yeah definitely. Laughs. It really doesn’t feel like that high, but it’s really nice from up here to see everything.

DARLEY: Is that the St. Lawrence over there.

MELISSA: Yep, we can see the St. Lawrence River that way and then the village and the field that we own on the other side as well.

DARLEY: Yeah, it’s nice and peaceful here.

MELISSA: Definitely. Definitely. It’s better than the town, in my point of view. It’s quiet and it seems that not too long ago, the leaves were just so green because they were coming out and now its already changing. Every season is bringing something different, like my favorite is when the flowers are getting out and it just smells so good. You just want to stop and eat flowers, so then you understand a little bit what the horses, why the horses are there and wanting to eat all the time. Laughs

DARLEY: Just when I think our ride is over, Melissa invites me to visit a nearby beach along the St. Lawrence River. I’m never one to pass up the beach, especially if it’s a trip on horseback. Adjacent to Bic National Park, this area is a haven for birds. Its rocky shores are also a great place to take in the area’s Technicolor sunsets.