Information additionelle

Choose your language

Choisir votre langue

 

C’est un prix pour notre région

Voici un article en provenance du Journal L'Information du Nord Vallée de la Rouge par Yves Rouleau. Voir l'article original

Une autre distinction pour Ignace et Yolande Denutte

Grand Prix du Tourisme, Auberge Chez Ignace (2013)NOMININGUE - Ignace et Yolande Denutte viennent de décrocher un nouveau prix en tourisme.

« On a gagné plusieurs prix déjà et on a été en nomination encore plus souvent. Mais gagner, ça fait toujours plaisir. Cette fois-ci, j’en suis resté bouche bée », a souligné Ignace Denutte, quelques jours après avoir accepté le premier prix dans la catégorie Hébergement : Gîtes du Grand Prix du Tourisme Desjardins des Laurentides pour son établissement Auberge Chez Ignace, à Nominingue.

L’homme d’affaires a étonné toutefois en ramenant ce prix à toute sa région. « C’est certain que nous nous inscrivons aux concours pour nous et notre entreprise. Mais nous le faisons encore davantage pour Nominingue et pour notre région », a-t-il expliqué.

Sa première réflexion après avoir accepté le prix a été de rappeler que le tourisme dans les Laurentides ne s’arrête pas à Mont-Tremblant. « Il y a de beaux attraits touristiques au-delà », a-t-il clamé.

« Trop de gens pensent qu’il n’y a que des pourvoiries dans les Hautes-Laurentides. Bien sûr, il y a ça, mais aussi beaucoup plus », insiste l’aubergiste.

Ignace Denutte s’inscrit régulièrement à des concours touristiques et il ne craint pas de se placer à l’avant-scène et de parler fort pour sa région.

« Jamais satisfaits »

Au plan individuel, Ignace Denutte estime que l’Auberge Chez Ignace se distingue parce que ses propriétaires ne sont « jamais satisfaits d’eux-mêmes » et veulent toujours s’améliorer. « Jamais satisfait. Ça c’est bien la description d’Ignace », affirme sans détours Yolande Denutte.

Le couple d’aubergistes aurait également pu parler d’un talent naturel pour l’accueil, essentiel certes dans leur domaine.

Évidemment, il y a toujours un élément de chance dans la réussite et Ignace Denutte a la modestie d’admettre cette part. « Un des meilleurs atouts de l’Auberge Chez Ignace est sa proximité avec le parc linéaire et le sentier du P’tit Train du Nord. Eh bien, quand nous avons acheté la maison ici en 1996 pour la transformer en auberge, nous ne savions même pas que le sentier passait à côté, nous ne l’avons appris qu’après l’achat », a-t-il relaté.

Le parc linéaire est vite devenu une importante plus value de l’auberge du couple immigré de Belgique avec ses trois jeunes enfants en 1996. Aujourd’hui, la majorité des clients arrivent à l’auberge à bicyclette.

« Je suis un pionnier des forfaits vélo-tourisme dans la région. J’ai vite vu le potentiel du sentier et je suis convaincu que la région pourrait en profiter encore plus », a-t-il expliqué en lançant au passage un appel à un investissement dans le sentier pour le remettre à la page. « Après quelque 15 ans, il serait temps d’injecter un peu d’argent », souligne-t-il.

Impliqué dans la communauté

Ignace Denutte a eu ses moments de découragement, surtout en 2006, lorsqu’un conflit avec des riverains a entraîné la fermeture du parc linéaire à Mont-Tremblant. Il a même songé à tout abandonner. Le battant a repris le dessus toutefois et aujourd’hui il continue à s’investir avec enthousiasme dans sa chaleureuse auberge de cinq chambres et dans sa communauté de Nominingue, où il est conseiller municipal, entre autres.

Il espère maintenant que l’auberge sera retenue parmi les finalistes des Grand Prix du tourisme québécois, dont les gagnants seront annoncés le 14 mai à Gatineau. S’il gagne, comptez sur lui pour se faire le porte-voix de sa région.

Le 14 mai, l'auberge était parmi les 5 finalistes au niveau national.(NDLR)

Ignace a troqué les Ardennes pour les Laurentides

LaPresse

Dans la salle principale, un grand poêle noir dégage une belle chaleur, fort bienvenue en cette nuit de 23 décembre sans neige, mais frisquette. Cette douceur de vivre est courante en auberge, mais qu'est-ce qui fait qu'on se sente ici, Chez Ignace, dans un lieu un peu à part? Puis on trouve.

C'est qu'on ne les remarque pas tout de suite ces bêtes naturalisées accrochées aux murs. Voici à gauche une martre à dos singulièrement arqué. À droite, c'est une loutre discrète. Ailleurs, la hure féroce d'un sanglier se détache du décor. Près de la porte, une buse, tout corps bandé, toutes ailes déployées, s'apprête depuis son bout de branche à filer élégamment sur la proie repérée, là-bas, dans un repli des Ardennes.

Ces bêtes naturalisées, Ignace et Yolande Denutte les ont apportées, il y a trois ans, de leur Belgique natale pour les offrir au regard du dîneur dans leur sympathique auberge de Lac-Nominingue, qui jouxte le parc linéaire du P'tit Train du Nord. Dans le fond des Ardennes, en pays de Bastogne, il y avait comme ça des martres, des loutres, des sangliers et des buses. Il y avait aussi des renards d'un type particulier: un naturaliste de Saint-Jovite a proposé à Ignace de lui en échanger un contre un ourson noir laurentien, qui trône désormais Chez Ignace près de l'abreuvoir familial.

Pour les Denutte, le transfert des Ardennes aux Laurentides ne fut pas une révolution. Ardennes et Laurentides, mêmes vieilles montagnes à dos ronds. La grande différence c'est l'hiver plus long et plus neigeux ici, et des plans d'eau parfois magnifiques comme ce superbe lac Nominingue. Ardennes et Laurentides, même pays solitaire aussi: là-bas, dans l'arrière-pays de Bastogne, on pouvait se sentir un peu comme dans une sorte de Chibougamau belge.

"Ç'a été dur de s'adapter?

- Pas vraiment, de dire Ignace. Dans le pays de Bastogne où nous tenions auberge, il y avait une trentaine de ménages. C'est encore moins que Lac-Nominingue. Et ce qui facilite les choses, c'est que le contact avec les gens ici est beaucoup plus rapide que là-bas."

Ce qui aide aussi, c'est cet autre ménage d'aubergistes belges, les Otto, qui, un peu avant que n'arrivent les Denutte, ont pris possession des Demoiselles, de l'autre côté du lac, les deux auberges offrant aujourd'hui une grande qualité d'hébergement et de table qui rehausse les standards de toute la région.

Les Denutte et leurs trois garçons, 17, 16 et 8 ans, se trouvent bien à Lac-Nominingue. Le plus jeune viendra raconter sa petite vie quotidienne à sa mère tout à l'heure avant le coucher, devant l'âtre, pendant que je fais un brin de conversation avec Ignace après le repas.

Pour Ignace, ce n'est pas la première transplantation. Flamand d'origine, il a épousé une Wallonne et a découvert le français à 20 ans. Là-bas, les Denutte avaient pourtant monté une belle affaire; une vingtaine de chambres, des dîners à 60 couverts à l'occasion. Mais tout ça faisait un peu usine. Ignace rêvait d'être aubergiste. Une sœur d'Ignace a pris la relève pendant que lui, Yolande et les enfants prenaient le chemin de Lac-Nominingue. "Une maison que j'ai achetée en dix minutes", dit-il. Pas très belle au départ, mais assez vaste et près du lac. La maison fut jadis magasin général avec bureau de poste, près de l'ancienne gare de Bellerive, sur le circuit du P'tit Train du Nord.

La surprise d'Ignace, ce fut que la piste cyclable née de l'ancienne voie ferrée apportât rapidement la première clientèle de la maison. Ignace montre avec fierté les photos de la maison dans son évolution: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999. Aujourd'hui, elle est recouverte d'un nouvel étage qui abrite le ménage, les cinq chambres du premier étage étant désormais offertes à la clientèle de passage.

C'est Yolande qui accueille les clients, avec simplicité et chaleur. La personne s'ajuste admirablement. Un brin de conversation devant l'âtre, puis elle laisse les clients à leur apéro et à leur intimité. Dans l'ambiance crée par le bois qui brûle s'ajoute le murmure de chansons de Jacques Brel. Puis arrivent le menu, la carte des vins - modeste, mais correctement montée - et cette idée toute simple mais tout à fait originale: la carte musicale. Les dîneurs choississent leur accompagnement sonore, de Céline Dion à Von Karajan, en passant par des blues de Louis Armstrong.

Viennent les plats, on comprend qu'Ignace ait préféré son rôle d'aubergiste à celui d'hôtelier. Un passionné de cuisine, Ignace. De présentation aussi. Chaque plat est une fête pour l'œil.

L'entrée choisie ce soir-là en table d'hôte réconciliait, à deux jours de Noël, avec cette coutume un peu usée de la tourtière. Ignace a vite compris cette particularité locale: il a voulu y apporter une touche personnelle. Ignace revêt d'une croûte souple, presque vaporeuse, un hachis de sanglier au granulé fin qui a peu à voir avec le plat traditionnel. La crème de légumes conservait des petits éléments croquants, dont trois petites têtes de brocoli décorant subtilement le plat. Le filet de poulet à la sauce à l'estragon était irréprochable.

Mais peut-être me suis-je trompé dans mes choix: Ignace avouera plus tard qu'il a un faible, comme chef, pour les gibiers et les fruits de mer, qui effectivement forment le cœur du menu.

Là-haut les chambres sont un peu petites, mais décorées de très bon goût. On a conservé là où cela était possible les anciennes lattes de bois en honneur dans les constructions d'époque. Chaque chambre est équipée d'un lavabo et d'une douche. L'une offre même une baignoire à remous. Le dîner en table d'hôte, la nuitée et le petit déjeuner font 55 $ par personne en occupation double, 150 $ pour trois nuits et 280 $ pour six nuits. La carte des vins s'arrête à 35 $.

Auberge-restaurant Chez Ignace
1455, chemin Bellrive sur le lac
Lac-Nominingue, Qc J0W 1R0
Téléphone: (819) 278-0689
Sans frais 1-877-278-0677

Excursion à vélo sur un ancien chemin de fer au Québec

Perfect pedalling on a rail trail in Quebec

Publié dans TheRecord.com, un journal de Kitchener et Waterloo en Ontario. En anglais seulement...

Imagine a bike trail that runs for 200 kilometres on trails through forests, across bucolic farmland and along babbling brooks and sparkling rivers. The path is paved for 80 of those kilometres, has packed gravel for the rest and never once includes a roadway. You pedal past green mountainous scenery without having to tackle a steep incline.

It is hard to believe such a trail exists in Canada — yet it does, in the gorgeously stunning Laurentian Mountains of Quebec, just north of Montreal.

Parc Lineaire Le P'Tit Train de Nord, a linear park and recreation trail following an old railway line, seems to be one the best-kept vacation secrets in the country.

When my husband, Gary, mentioned biking in the Laurentians as a potential summer holiday last year, I must admit I was skeptical and brushed it off with a, "Sure, honey. That would be great," and then didn't give it another thought.

He slyly left an article about the trail lying around the house for awhile, but I didn't take the bait until some warmth had entered the spring air. Only then did I read the article.

"There must be something missing," I declared.

"I don't think so," my husband countered, so I read some more.

"It can't all be on a trail," I rallied.

"Sounds like it is," he patiently responded.

My concerns continued: "We don't speak French . . . I can't bike up mountains . . . Won't it be cold that far north? . . . How tough is it to bike 200 kilometres? . . . Do you really think we could do this?"

Eventually, however, we both decided we had nothing to lose by checking it out and booked a four-day cycling trip for late July last year and hoped for the best.

And it was the best — in every way.

It really is a flat, easy-to-pedal, completely-protected 200 kilometre route of paved and packed gravel trails. The auberges (inns) we slept in each night were lovely quaint places beside the trail and our hosts were friendly and welcoming. Instead of the vacation being about the biking, it became a gastronomic experience with a little biking thrown in that helped to work off all the flavourful cuisine each auberge provided.

Getting to our starting point, at the southern end of the trail in Saint Jerome, just 50 km north of Montreal, was an easy drive from Waterloo. From there, a transportation company takes cyclists by van to the north end of the trail in the village of Mont-Laurier. We found the company's St. Jerome base in an old railway caboose beside a parking lot that was filled with vehicles holding every size, shape and type of bicycle rack imaginable.

Our bus to Mont-Laurier didn't leave until the next morning, so we checked into the nearby Comfort Inn, then went for a ride to sample part of the trail. Soon we had left the town and were meandering along beside a clear river that was shaded by pines and maples. Before we knew it, we had travelled 10 km.

That evening we nervously packed our bicycle panniers, not sure what to expect or what to take. The forecast was calling for rain on two of the next four days so we put our few items in waterproof bags. In the end, as always, we had packed more than we would need, even though we only took things we thought were essential — camera, cellphone, wallet, toiletries, two changes of clothing for evenings, sweatshirts and windbreakers.

We never did wear the sweatshirts, but only because we lucked out with warm and sunny weather for the entire trip. There was less than a half-hour of rain, on the first day, and the windbreakers sufficed for that. For an extra fee, the transportation company will carry your luggage ahead to the next auberge each day, but we didn't need that service.

The Comfort Inn kindly allowed us to leave our car in their parking lot, so on the first morning of our trip we biked down to the caboose and arrived at 7:15 a.m., just as the three mid-size vans, each pulling a two-level bike trailer, were pulling into the lot. We boarded one of the vans while the crew loaded our bikes and soon we were off.

As it turned out, the vans would stop at various towns along the way, according to how much of the trail people wanted to bike. We had opted for the full 200 kilometres and were a little worried at first that we might be the only ones. We definitely were not.

About 30 people gathered at the starting point for the ride in Mont Laurier.

There were six women travelling together — ages 79, 76, 71, 68, plus two in their 30s. As well, there was a family of four with two boys about 10 and 12 years old. They proceeded to load up their bikes with an array of camping gear.

One young couple was geared up and on their way before the rest of us had even begun to attach our packs to our bikes. Another couple, who appeared to be in their 40s, headed out in their beach shorts and sandals. Two more couples in their 50s pushed off wearing professional biking gear. Two men wearing trail patrol shirts were filling their water bottles at the station and happily answered questions and shared maps with anyone who asked.

First day

Our route took us 58 kilometres from Mont Laurier to Nominingue. We began pedalling shortly after 11 a.m., with no idea how long it would take. The first kilometres reminded us of Algonquin Park and slowly the scenery evolved into rolling pastoral settings with cattle lazing and horses grazing along fence lines. We passed babbling brooks and marshes and saw towering forested hills in the background.

The trail was built on an old rail line and the original train stations have been renovated to offer clean restrooms and fresh drinking water. Most are located in charming little towns and some hold small museums with artifacts and photos. About every five kilometres there are wooden shelters, outhouses with compostable toilets and picnic areas.

We came across no towns or restaurants for the first part of our day and at kilometre 178 (each kilometre is marked on a post beside the trail) the clouds moved in and it began to sprinkle, followed quickly by rain and flashes of lightning and crashing thunder. One of them made us jump off our seats. Lucky for us, there was a shelter at kilometre 175. The storm quickly passed and a mix of sun and clouds accompanied us for the rest of the day.

We arrived in Nominingue, a small country town, at 3 p.m. and cycled about for a short tour. Our accommodations were an easy two-kilometer ride south of town, right on the trail, and we had no trouble finding the delightful Chez Ignace.

We were warmly welcomed by our host, Yolande, in a cosy wood-panelled room filled with stuffed creatures of all manner — bears, boars, fish. There was a garage for our bikes and a nearby lake if we chose to have a swim. Our third-floor bedroom had a lovely vista of the surrounding hills, an electric fireplace and an updated bathroom.

We chose the hot tub over the lake to soothe our fatigued muscles. Supper that evening was a gastronomic feast that began with choices of smoked salmon and Mediterranean salad, followed by a thick and luscious leek soup that had a tantalizing spicy zip to it.

My husband savoured the rich roast elk for the main course and I enjoyed a perfectly cooked filet of dore. Other menu options included roasted rabbit, lamb, chicken or mussels. We learned later that Yolande's husband, Ignace, is a trained chef. For dessert we shared a light flan with maple and a slice of melting chocolate cake with a mousse filling.

We had no idea such a supper could be followed the next morning by an equally sumptuous breakfast that would power us the entire day. At 8 a.m. we were greeted in the sunny breakfast room with coffee, fresh croissants and buns, along with a light fluffy omelette and a crepe stuffed with sweet strawberries, plus a rolled slice of ham and a small wedge of creamy brie.

Second day

This was another 59-kilometre day so we headed out by 9 a.m. and comfortably made our way toward Mont-Tremblant, stopping at L'Annonnciation for coffee and a rest. Again, any inclines we encountered on the trail were hardly noticeable.

The town of Labelle provided a good water stop. It was also the point where, after 93 kilometres, the trail switched from pavement to packed dirt and gravel. After continuing on our way, we stopped occasionally to pick some of the plentiful wild blueberries. The trail was a little busier now, with people of all ages using it for biking, walking and running. We even passed horseback riders.

When we reached the lovely village of Mont-Tremblant, we felt as if we had entered a Swiss town. The buildings were all chalet-style, with gables and scrolled trim. We enjoyed an ice-cold beer from the grocery store and watched the people go by while we rested our legs.

A local man told us about a nice bike path of about five kilometres that would take us to the base of the ski hill. We decided to try it, as it was still early afternoon and we only had another 11 kilometres to our auberge. The trail turned out to be a combination of challenging uphill climbs with some long and fast downhill hairpin turns. We questioned the sanity of doing this extra trail, but we kept going. At the base village, we felt we had entered another world. It was like something out of Disney World, with wall-to-wall people, manicured gardens and exactly-appointed new buildings resembling a ski village. People were lined up at the gondola for a trip to the top of the ski hill, but the hill itself could not be seen for all the buildings.

Lucky for us, we found a bus that could carry two bicycles back to the old village, so for $2.25 each, we avoided the difficult ride back.

The Auberge LeVoyageur B&B in Mont-Tremblant resembled an old auberge, but the interior was sparkling and new, with lovely dark wooden floors, stone fireplace, verandas and stained glass.

Our welcoming host, Linda, explained that supper was included with our tour fee, but it was a certificate for a restaurant in town, a one-kilomete walk away. Her husband, Jean-Claude could drive us there, she said, but we chose to walk and enjoyed the stroll, in spite of our weary legs telling us otherwise. We ate outdoors and enjoyed the view of the vacation town's bustling main street. The menu offered many Italian choices and our appetites were sated with a delightful salad, seafood linguine and a vegetarian pizza. After walking back we were content to enjoy an evening on the veranda at the auberge.

Third day

Thursday dawned sunny and warm. This day's ride was to include a 14-kilometre uphill climb so we were sure to eat all of our hearty breakfast. The meal began with a creamy yogurt with granola and wild blueberries, a bubbly juice smoothie, followed by the breakfast choices of a traditional French Canadian tourtière (meat pie) with a small bowl of baked beans or French toast on cinnamon bread filled with strawberries and custard. A basket of fresh croissants, toast and pate accompanied the meal.

Our ride began with an easy two-kilometre warm-up ride. The eventual incline did go on for quite some time, but it was easily manageable by switching down just one gear level. About five kilometres into our climb, two teenage boys flew by on their road bikes and inspired us to work a little harder. When we reached the first rest stop, the boys were lazily resting their legs there and enjoying fresh cold water from the tap on the gazebo.

We stopped again at the kilometre 67 sign that marked the summit, surprised that the section we had been most concerned about was over. Keep in mind that we are not cyclists and had not trained at all for this trip.

At this point, we only had 67 kilometres to go and knew we could complete the trek with ease. The trail was not as nice in this section, often passing just 100 metres from a noisy highway. In some areas, we were surrounded by nothing but low scrub.

Soon enough, however, we eased into the gorgeous tourist town of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. We left the path and walked our bikes along the crowded main street before stretching out on the grass in a park by a lake where a theatre performance was being set up on the band shell stage.

When we returned to the trail, we found it was now very busy with all kinds of riders. Two electric scooters went by, carrying three seniors who were out for an afternoon ride. There were several cyclists pulling baby trailers. This day's ride was 10 kilometres shorter than the previous two, but we were anxious to get to Auberge de la Gare, our inn for the evening, and didn't make any other stops.

La Gare, in the village of Sainte-Adele, was an old home, built in 1891, that sat wedged between the trail and a highway, complete with creaking pine floors, a wide old veranda and a dining room with six antique tables and chairs. Our room was not as sumptuous as on the previous two nights, but the welcome was definitely just as warm.

We washed off the dust and dirt and while relaxing on the veranda we met a couple from Montreal we had seen frequently on the trail. We joined our tables for the two-hour fondue supper and enjoyed the conversation as much as the meal — politics, careers, retirement dreams, vacations, skiing in Quebec.

We were the only people in the dining room and Linda and Yvon, new owners of La Gare, were very attentive, treating us to a hot and creamy carrot and pumpkin soup, warm crusted Parmesan, salad greens with apricot dressing and a fondue consisting of thinly sliced beef and chicken, delicate small potatoes and an assortment of vegetables to spear and cook in the flavourful broth. All of this was followed by a dessert of custard, ice cream and delicious Rainier cherries.

Yvon told us he had purchased the auberge just a few months earlier after working in a variety of occupations, most recently as a funeral director. I must admit he did have the demeanour of a funeral director and often seemed to just appear from nowhere. He had a warm personality and a great sense of humour.

After a very enjoyable day we were asleep by 9:30 p.m. and ambled downstairs for breakfast at 8 a.m., to be met with huge steaming mugs of rich coffee. Another power-up breakfast and we were on our way by 9 a.m., under overcast skies.

Fourth day

The first part of today's 32-kilometre final ride was all downhill and we simply coasted along, in no rush to end the trip. We began a short side trip to see the village of Saint Saveur, but gave up when we saw it required a long and steep uphill climb.

After a relaxing ride we arrived back in Saint Jerome at noon to the sound of the bells pealing in the belfry of the huge cathedral in the heart of town. We were in high spirits on completing the trail — but also a little glum because our trip was now over.

We bicycled back to our car at the Comfort Inn and used a hose there to rinse off our bikes and dust-covered panniers. The hotel was also kind enough to let us use its washrooms to change — and their computer to send a couple of quick emails. As we pulled away, we felt relaxed and healthy, knowing we had just experienced something very special. We will most definitely go again and encourage friends to accompany us.

Barbara Ayre is a Waterloo resident.

If you go . . .

Get more information and book accommodations for the Parc Lineaire Le P'Tit Train de Nord through Cyclo-Gites Voyageurs B&B in Quebec. Phone 1-819-429-6277 or (toll-free) 1-800-205-7173.

Online: www.bbvoyageur.com/cyclo-gites-a.html

Price: Package (three nights, three dinners, three breakfasts and four luggage transports) is $340 per person (double occupancy) or $501 (single occupancy). Without luggage transport the price is $306 (double) and $433 (single). Taxes and services are extra.

Pour lire l'article au complet avec photos dans TheRecord.com, cliquez ICI