Two hours northeast of Quebec City, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, is a small getaway town called Notre-Dame-du-Portage. It is as close to the river as a town can get; at high tide, in fact, the brackish water of the estuary laps at the base of the cottages that dot the shoreline. The aptly named Route du Fleuve takes its time wending through the town, offering scenic views that dissuade visitors from leaving. A leisurely meal of crab legs and dry white wine suits the rhythm of the lapping of the waves.

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