island in the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada

Île d'Orléans is an island in the Saint Lawrence River about 5 km (3.1 mi) east of Quebec City.

The island was one of the first parts of the province to be colonized by the French, and a large percentage of French Canadians can trace ancestry to early residents of the island. The island has been described as the "microcosm of traditional Quebec and as the birthplace of francophones in North America."



The rural, pastoral and historic Île d'Orléans represents the tidal divide of the St. Lawrence, where fresh water begins to mix with the sea at the island's northeastern point. A National Historic Site of Canada, the island has over 600 recognized heritage buildings and six municipalities:

  • Sainte-Famille,
  • Saint-François-de-l'Île-d'Orléans,
  • Saint-Jean-de-l'Île-d'Orléans,
  • Saint-Laurent-de-l'Île-d'Orléans,
  • Sainte-Pétronille and
  • Saint-Pierre-de-l'Île-d'Orléans.

The island is 34 km (21 mi) long and 8 km (5.0 mi) wide at the widest point. It has a hilly relief, small valleys, and gradual crests that reach a maximum height of about 150 m (490 ft) at Sainte-Pétronille and Saint-Laurent in the south.

Since the days of the first French settlers, agriculture has been the main economic activity. The island, known as the "Garden of Quebec", is famous locally for its produce, especially strawberries, apples, potatoes and wineries. Sugar maple stands produce maple syrup and other products.

While the old trades of fishing and boat building have been abandoned, the island's rich cultural heritage and pastoral scenery has led to a flourishing tourism industry. it offers many bed-and-breakfast inns, regional cuisine restaurants, roadside fruit stands, art galleries and craft shops.

Today the island is a mix of suburban communities and farms. It is a popular destination for daytrippers and bicyclists.



The island had long been inhabited by the First Nations (aboriginal) peoples. The Huron called it Minigo (meaning "Enchantress", because of its charm). The French explorer Jacques Cartier first set foot on the island in 1535 near the present-day village of Saint-François. He called it Île de Bascuz (from Bacchus) because of the abundance of wild grapes growing on the island. Officials later changed the name to Île d'Orléans in honour of the second son of King Francis I, Henri II, the Duke of Orléans.

Early French settlers, immigrating mostly from the Normandy and Poitou regions in France, were attracted to the island because of its fertile soil. They colonized it according to the seigneurial system of New France, which is still evident in its layout, featuring residences close together, with outlying long, narrow fields and a common. In 1661, the first parish of Sainte-Famille was founded. By 1685, there were 1205 mostly French inhabitants.

Jean Mauvide, a surgeon for the King of France, built the Manoir Mauvide-Genest in 1734 as his residence. In 1759 it was occupied by British General Wolfe when his forces occupied the island shortly before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham during the Seven Years' War.

Get in


By car


The island is accessible from the mainland via the Île d'Orléans Bridge from Beauport. Route 368 is the sole provincial route on the island. It crosses the bridge and circles the perimeter of the island.

By bus


There is a weekday commuter bus (the PLUMobile) which makes three trips a day M-F between Québec City and the island.

Many tour buses from Québec City visit the island, often with a stop at Montmorency Falls or the Sainte Anne de Beaupré church on the north shore in the same region.

Get around

Map of Île d'Orléans

Due to its rural nature, a car is likely the best way around the island; cycling is also an option

  • Taxi de l'Ile, 272 chemin Royal, Saint-Pierre-de-l'Ile-d'Orleans, +1 418-828-0033.
St-Pierre de l'Île-d'Orléans
  • Parc maritime de Saint-Laurent, 120, chemin de la Chalouperie, Saint-Laurent-de-l'Île-d'Orléans, +1 418-828-9673. Mid-June to Thanksgiving: daily 10:00-17:00. Historic shipyard and museum. $5/person.
  • At the village of Sainte-Pétronille toward the western end of the island, a viewpoint overlooks the impressive Chute Montmorency (Montmorency Falls), as well as a panorama of the St. Lawrence River and Quebec City.

The island is a popular destination for daytrippers and bicyclists.

  • 1 Cidrerie Verger Bilodeau, 1868, chemin Royal, Saint-Pierre -de-l'Île-d'Orléans (7.9 km from the bridge), +1 418-828-9316. Cider house and orchard making ice cider, sparkling wine, mistelle wine and maple cider. Apple and maple products. Free sampling. Pick-your-own apples, petting zoo and gift shop.
  • 2 Vignoble Isle de Bacchus, 1335, chemin Royal , Saint-Pierre -de-l'Île-d'Orléans (3.5 km from the bridge), +1 418-828-9562, . Its first vineyard was founded in the 1990s. Today, it has more than 11 hectares (27.2 acres) of vineyard, and an annual production of approximately 40,000 bottles. Wines (red, white and rosé), aperitifs and liqueurs and ice wine.
  • 3 Vignoble du Mitan, 2608, chemin Royal, Sainte-Famille-de-l'Île-d'Orléans (17.5 km from the bridge), +1 418-829-0901, . White, rosé, red, fortified, ice and late harvest wines
  • La Roulotte du Coin, 4495 Chemin Royal, Sainte-Famille, +1 418-829-COIN (2646).
  • La Monnaguette/Cassis Monna & Filles, 1225, chemin Royal, Saint Pierre d'Orleans, +1 418-828-2525. Restaurant, liqueur shop and gourmand boutique, specializing in Cassis (black currant) proucts. Mains $13-20.
  • La Boulange, 2001, Chemin Royal, Saint-Jean-de-l'ile-d'Orleans, +1 418-829-3162. Mid-Apr to end of April and mid-Oct to Dec: F Sa 07:30-17:30, Su 07:30-17:00; May Jun: Th-Sa 07:30-17:30, Su 07:30-17:00; Jul Aug: M-Sa 07:30-17:30, Su 07:30-17:00; Sep to early Oct: W-Sa 07:30-17:30, Su 07:30-17:00;. Bakery and cafe. Pizzas, sandwiches, soup, pastries.


  • Pub Le Mitan Micro D'Orleans, 2471 Royal Ste. Famille Road, Sainte-Famille-de-l'Île-d'Orléans, +1 418-829-0408. F 16:30-23:00, Sa 11:30-23:00, Su 11:30-18:00. Local beers from the Microbrasserie of Île d'Orléans and beers imported from Belgium.
  • Resto-Pub L'O2 L'ile, 1025, Prevost Road, Saint Pierre d'Orleans (at the entrance to the island, left after the traffic lights, opposite Petro Canada station), +1 418-991-0615. Steaks, pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, poutines.




  • Au Toit Bleu, 3879 chemin Royale, Ste -Famille, +1 418-829-1078. Five rooms, some with private bath. Wi-fi. Full breakfast and vegetarian breakfast. $85-120.
  • Gîte à la Brunante, 3469, chemin Royal, Sainte-Famille, +1 418-829-2624, fax: +1 418-829-0686. Three rooms, some with private bath, full breakfast. $85-95/single + $30/additional person.









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This city travel guide to Île d'Orléans is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.