Thursday Doors – May 17, 2018

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

The Root Cellars of Rural Québec – Avenue Royale

There’s an historic 57 km (35 mi) stretch of road that runs parallel to the St-Lawrence river through the rural Québec countryside east of Québec City. Known simply as La Route de la Nouvelle-France, along with the Chemin du Roy, it makes up one of the oldest continuously used roadways in North America.

This scenic road connecting Old Québec City and the smaller villages and farmland to the east follows today’s route #360 – also called Avenue Royale, it was mapped out and built in the middle of the 17th century to allow the farmers of the Côte-de-Beaupré region to transport their goods by horse and cart to markets in Québec City, which by then was already becoming a popular commercial trading center.

Today this scenic route is very popular with bicycle tourists and is actually a part of our famous cross-country mixed-use coast-to-coast-to-coast Trans-Canada Trail.

The road takes travelers through a number of lovely little small towns and villages, and some of the most scenic farmland in the province; at times offering spectacular views of the river and the distant hills of the Charlevoix region.

I recently took a drive along this stretch of road to explore and capture some of the historic sites from over four centuries of European settlement.

From heritage houses dating back to the 1650’s, old barns, and roadside travelers’ chapels,

the Route de la Nouvelle-France has much to offer the curious visitor.

One of my favourite discoveries on this day were these odd-looking stone-walled entrances cut into the sides of the hill along the road.

Positioned on the north side of the slope directly across the road from either an old farmhouse or a barn, I quickly developed an idea of what these things might be.

At one point I just had to pull over and get a closer look to confirm it for myself.

Caveau à légumes = Root Cellar.

Yes the settlers of the area learned over the years that the best way to preserve their fruits and vegetables through the winter months was in naturally insulated root cellars carved into the hills across the road from their farms.

As you follow the Route de la Nouvelle-France from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to Old Québec you’ll see several dozen of these root cellars that have been preserved and/or restored thanks to a local heritage society initiative.

Some are obviously in much better shape than others

and many of them are still in use today.

But each one is quite unique…

and offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of rural Québec farmers over the past few hundred years.

As always, thanks so much for dropping by 🙂

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About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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63 Responses to Thursday Doors – May 17, 2018

  1. Amy says:

    I thought that I loved that little chapel (which I did), but then those root cellars had so much character. Great finds. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Judith says:

    Just catching up on some of your recent door posts. This one is a unexpected delight!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. reocochran says:

    Wow, Norm! We have attached root cellars and usually none with stone fronts. Those small little blessings, one with turquoise doors gave me a sweet and peaceful feeling. I’m liking the description you used, we call them “roadside rest stops” while you included chapels. I like the way you and many Canadians use effective description to best results. 🕊️ 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  4. amoralegria says:

    I love your pictures of Quebec province, Norm! These especially – so fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderfully unique finds, Norm. The root cellars are so cool (literally and figuratively,) Love the tiny Chapell, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great finds Norm! The root cellars are so neat, and the little chapel with the blue door is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cool little church. Never heard of root cellars. Those are cool too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joey says:

    Beautiful stuff. I love it all. Tiny chapel appeals to me — a moment of solitary gratitude. Plus, the rustic beauty captured in the root cellars. Great doors! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very interesting post and lovely doors! I had never heard of root cellars. Living an learning! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sherry Felix says:

    Look like Hobbit doors. Love them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JT Twissel says:

    Some very unique root cellars! Although in the dead of winter – I don’t know if I’d like to trudge through the snow and ice to get a potato!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent! Yours seem to be in much better condition than similar ones in Pitigliano and around, dug into the tuff for a similar use, no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such unique and fanciful doors! I’m going to pretend that they are Hobbit dwellings rather than root cellars, if you don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. willowdot21 says:

    Very interesting 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  15. slfinnell says:

    Much more inviting than our Midwest root cellars. We dug down to avoid twisters and usually there’s only a hump in the ground with a door to tell it’s even there.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. jesh stg says:

    How ingenious, and enough place to store for a whole winter! And with a nice curb appeal! remember from my childhood tin Holland that in the 50ties the houses were still built with cellars underneath the house for the same reason as these root cellars.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ally Bean says:

    Amazing doors complete with history to go with. I’ve never heard of roadside travelers’ chapels, but want to see one in person. Root cellars I know about, although I’ve not seen ones as unique as these. Cool photos. Nicely doored.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Aimer Boyz says:

    Thank you, Norm. You’ve taken me on a drive I’ll probably never get around to, but should 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      That’s one of the things I like the most about our little Thursday Doors event; sharing and discovering different parts of the world with each other.
      Who knows, you may just get around to visiting this area one day 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Ruth says:

    What a perfectly practical solution to food storage – and such great doors, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Remarkable, almost like little Hobbit houses

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Carrie Rubin says:

    Great selection. I love that little chapel. So pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. marianallen says:

    What wonderful, Hobbitty places! I do love stone, but I think the bulgy little whitewashed one is my favorite. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Great finds, Norm, and well captured. I’d love one of those old root cellars, seeing as we don’t have a fridge and the weather is getting warmer. Hmmm……. we have a lot of soil in our garden, though……

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Suzanne says:

    Norm, I’d take that drive just to see the root cellars – beautiful images.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. That looks like a great trail to take, Norm. Thanks for letting me ride along with you. I love the root cellars and the chapel reminds me of those I’ve seen in France along the little roads.


    Liked by 1 person

  26. Susi Lovell says:

    Fantastic! Really enjoyed these.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Jackie says:

    I was captivated with the roadside chapel but then when you explained the root cellars you totally blew me away!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a pretty cool bit of history, Norm. I have to make sure there isn’t a hill across from our house before showing this to my wife – she’d have me digging one. I really like the roadside chapel, I’m glad you got a photo of the inside. The root cellars are amazing little structures. I am glad they’ve been preserved or restored. They tell an important story about how this land was settled and how the settlers survived.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Dan. The history these things remind us of was exactly what I was thinking all along my drive. It’s a wonderful part of the Province to visit if you ever get the chance 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion says:

        I hope to get back up there at some point, Norm. I think I would like to visit the things you’ve shown us, more than the “official” tourist sites I saw the first time I was there.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. The Traveler’s Chapel is absolutely wonderful. It is lovely on the outside and intimate on the inside. That in itself would have rocked this post, but then you added those interesting root cellars with the various colored doors. I have, of course, heard of and seen root cellars, but these are definitely the cadillacs. Wonderful tour – thank you for taking us along as you explore your beautiful countryside. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Judy. The root cellars were an unexpected bonus that I only discovered while I was there. Cadillacs indeed. While researching it further I read somewhere that the standard size for a typical family’s cellar was big enough to hold 200 sacs of potatoes 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Joanne Sisco says:

    What a wonderful find! For all my trips to Quebec City, I have never travelled this road and now I feel like I’ve missed something very special.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      It was my first time after many trips to Quebec as well.
      It would be worth the detour the next time you go if you can squeeze in about a half day to explore it at a leisurely pace.
      Avenue Royale goes right past the big Basilica at St-Anne-de-Beaupre. Start there, off the 138 and head west on Royale all the way back into the city. Peddling it would make for an awesome full day trip too but it’s just a bit too hilly for me.
      I mean, I stopped for a bite at a bakery that’s housed in an old home built in 1652!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. scooj says:

    The root cellars and little chapel are extraordinary. What a fantastic route that you can see these things. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. weejars says:

    Stunning! Love the little root cellars

    Liked by 1 person

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