When I was in my twenties, I met a man with vision: my boss and mentor. In Kamouraska, I picked wild mushrooms and edible and therapeutic plants for his vegetarian restaurant. He taught me about wild plants and how to identify them, about vegetarianism and the benefits of natural products. Meeting him influenced my career path. I studied to be a naturopath at the age of 26 and then made my way in the natural health and beauty sector. In 2006, I founded Les Soins Corporels l'Herbier, a company that makes body care products. The richness of all that grows in fields, in forests and on island coasts has always fascinated me.
I had never heard this wonderful expression before visiting L’Isle-aux-Coudres. According to the residents, faire marée means to stop, take a deep breath and take some time to truly live.
In the fall of 2019, while in remission from an autoimmune disease, I needed to do as the tide to restore my health. I felt a deep sense of well-being and a powerful calling during my stay on the inspiring, picturesque island.
Do as the tide: stop, take a deep breath and take some time to truly live.
On September 6, 1535, Jacques Cartier, the explorer who discovered New France, described this island well in his travel journals: "there are many hazel trees heavily laden with fruit" [translation from the French]. The sight led him to name the island L’Isle-aux-Coudres (coudres meaning the fruit of the hazel tree). All along Chemin des Coudriers (hazel tree road), one cannot help but be in awe of the landscape worthy of a watercolour painting. The island’s beauty is truly breathtaking. Islanders check the beaked hazel tree’s branches, which bend according to the atmospheric pressure, to forecast the next day's weather. This is a tradition that has been passed down through the generations, helping strongly root this practice in the area.
I fell in love with this island and with this beautiful heritage house from the moment I set eyes on them. Seeing the house and buying it in the fall of 2020 was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Built after 1900 (or before 1930), the house at 1603 Chemin des Coudriers, in the Cap-à-la-Branche area, boasts breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and the Charlevoix mountains in the distance.
An incredible view of the river, the Charlevoix mountains and boats on the water!
Le 1603 draws inspiration from the innate intelligence and beauty of nature on the island to offer a timeless, poetic experience that stimulates all the senses.
Francois Harvey (navigator) was one of L’Isle-aux-Coudres’ most prolific master shipwrights, building an impressive number of schooners. He managed to successfully hold two professions, building ships between sailing seasons, during which he would captain his own vessels. He built ten schooners between 1932 and 1956, including the F. Mary in 1945 (named in honour of his wife Marie).
Marie Bouchard, François’ wife and the mother of their 17 children, tended to her family's many needs (cleaning, helping her mother and grandmother, cooking, educating the children, etc.) and spent the long winter months doing handiwork. She made beautiful knitwear (socks, hats, bonnets, scarves) that she sold out of the red and green shed behind the family home (called hangar in French, but which they pronounced rangar).
François Harvey and Marie Bouchard had 9 girls and 8 boys, the majority of whom went on to become navigators or marine pilots on the St. Lawrence. Many business activities took place in this house, including drawing up schooner plans and running Marie's handicraft business, which included weaving and knitting.
We went back in time with every layer of linoleum and plaster we removed. Some of what we discovered:
I must say that it was very moving to discover it and "meet" François Harvey in this way. I gave the board with the signature to his son Réal, who is still very much alive. In fact, he’s my neighbour two houses down!
I chose this heritage house's civic number as the name of my beloved business. The number is a very symbolic link that ties the past to the present.
1603 was a historic year! In 1603, Samuel de Champlain undertook the first of a long series of transatlantic voyages to the St. Lawrence Valley. He devoted part of his trip to exploring the St. Lawrence River all the way to the Island of Montréal, aboard La Bonne Renommée.
This river once played an important role in the colonization of New France.
Today, it offers beautiful, almost mystical landscapes and an abundance of riches, including nutritious seaweed, beneficial coastal plants and flowers, and delicate, unique and very precious flora and fauna.
A beautiful entrepreneurial trilogy...
Three harmonious entities that can be seen as a whole or as…
1603 chemin des Coudriers
L'Isle-aux-Coudres, Québec G0A 1X0
Every day | June 10am-5pm
July/August 9am-5pm | September 10am-5pm