Historic Village Val-Jalbert: 95 Rue Saint-George, Chambord, QC G0W 1G0
Does your family like history? At Val-Jalbert Historic Village you literally take a step back in time to a 1920’s village complete with original buildings. You can take a tour or stroll the property on your own. There are costumed interpreters at every turn so you can meet the nuns at the convent school, the shop keeper at the general store, the town gossip at the post office or workers at the pulp mill. They will interact with you, but be aware that not all of the interpreters speak English. If your kids are learning French in school, it is a great time for them to practice. If not, ask for information about the village in English at the Visitor’s Center.
We had a great experience learning about how the village was originally established. It’s a great lesson in city planning if you think about it…real life Sim City. In the early 1900’s, a paper mill was built next to the Ouiatchouan Falls, which is higher than Niagara Falls, and very powerful. The falls were used to power the mill and despite some ups and downs, the village was thriving in the early 1920’s and even had running water and electricity, luxuries not found in neighboring villages until many years later. However, in the late ‘20’s, the mill shut down and the village was abandoned. In the early 21st century, the village got a new breath of life as an interactive tourist attraction.
Even though it was raining during our visit to Val Jalbert, we were able to see quite a bit via the trolley tour that took us around the village. We stopped at the mill for a unique show depicting the life of the people who lived at the village in the 1920’s. While the show is in French, the experience is quite riveting and worth the visit even if there is a language barrier. Another must is to check out the viewpoint to see a phenomenal view of the falls. You will get a great photo op too. You can even take a cable car to the top of the falls if you want to get a view of Lac-St-Jean as well.
We didn’t get the chance to try this activity ourselves, but we will definitely try it when we go back…the geo-cache tour. You use a GPS and hunt for caches that are hidden throughout the village. It’s a fun way to keep the whole family engaged while exploring the area. If you have a smart phone, you can also try out the audio-video guide, which highlights fun facts, videos and games.
We did, however, enjoy an AMAZING meal at the Restaurant du Moulin, which featured phenomenally fresh local ingredients. My girls practically licked their plates it was that good! We had the opportunity to meet Chef Carl Murray and thank him for the unforgettable cuisine. It was a highlight of our visit and if you have the chance to dine in the restaurant, you will not be disappointed.
When we do go back, I will make sure we book an overnight stay at the village. We will probably choose to stay in one of the period houses or above the general store to pay homage to the Nellie Oleson character from Little House on the Prairie. I know, my time periods are a little off, but you get the idea! Camping is also available as well as mini cottages that seem perfect for families looking for a cross between a hotel stay and camping. The cottages come with a small kitchen and you can opt for one with bathroom facilities for an additional charge. Whatever option works best for your family, an overnight stay will make for fun family vacation memories.
Some Additional Tips & Fun Facts
- Family Admission packages are available and kids under 6 are FREE
- Those staying at the village can enjoy a heated swimming pool.
- There are laundry facilities and free WiFi available in the camping area.
- Pets on a leash are allowed in the camping area.
- Theatrical performances about the village are presented in French
- Interpreters gather at the General Store several times a day for special activities and children are encouraged to participate.
- Visitors can tour the mini power plant on site provides power which is sold to the crown corporation helping provide funding for the village.
- Check out the website’s game zone for some fun before or after your visit.