33km (21 miles) NE of Québec City; 22km (14 miles) NE of Montmorency Falls
The village of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré is a religious destination, centered around a two-spired basilica that is one of Canada's most famous shrines. Some 1.5 million people make the pilgrimage each year to the complex.
Legend has it that French mariners were sailing up the St. Lawrence River in the 1650s when they ran into a terrifying storm. They prayed to their patroness, St. Anne, to save them, and when they survived, they dedicated a wooden chapel to her on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, near the site of their perils. Not long afterward, a chapel laborer was said to have been cured of lumbago, the first of many documented miracles. Since that time, believers have made their way here to pay their respects to St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus.
Route 138 travels along the river, which is tidal. At low tide, the beach can become speckled with hundreds of birds, such as purple sandpipers, pecking for food. Look for them behind the houses, gas stations, and garages that pepper the road.