From Normandy to Charente-Maritime, immerse yourself for several days in the history of New France and retrace the steps of your ancestors

4 to 7 days sightseeing tour

In the 17th century, 4,894 French people emigrated to Canada. Among them, 958 came from Normandy. Discover the history of the Percherons who left for New France, starting in Tourouvre and its Museum of French Emigration to Canada. Why did they leave France, where did they settle and under what conditions? Many of them settled in Canada and are among the most numerous descendants today (Tremblay, Gagnon, Guyon, Fortin, Boucher...).

Also explore the links between North America and France through the D-Day landing beaches and especially for the Canadian allies at Juno Beach.You can also visit the Canadian War Memorial, an interpretation centre of the Canadian involvement in the Second World War, as well as the Bény-sur-Mer cemetery a few kilometres from Courseulles-sur-Mer. And if your stay is in August, you can enjoy the festival "The Acadian Week" which highlights Acadian culture every year.

Not far from Normandy, walk in the footsteps of Jacques Cartier, a native of Saint-Malo who discovered Canada in 1534. This great Renaissance explorer opened up the North American continent to France via the St. Lawrence River.

The Charente-Maritime region and its seafront have seen many ships set sail for Canada. In the Marennes basin, a visit to the magnificent, well-preserved village of Brouage is a must if you want to follow in the footsteps of Samuel Champlain, founder of the city of Quebec in 1608. The town of Rochefort, an essential historical centre for understanding the strategic importance of this town and its links with New France. The city of La Rochelle was one of the main French ports to maintain relations with New France: trade, fishing and embarkation of approximately 4000 emigrants, of all origins, embarked in La Rochelle towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence, for the period 1628 to 1662 alone. 

While Champlain had not yet been born, the French adventure in Canada had already begun in the 15th century with the cod fishermen and whale hunters. Discover the city of Bordeaux and its special link with Quebec.

01.

Places of memory of the Norman emigration

(2 days)

Let yourself be guided by the discovery tours:

 in the footsteps of the pioneers and key figures of the Norman emigration to New France. The Museum of Percheron Emigration in Canada will provide you with many mediation tools on the subject.

02.

North Americans in the Second World War

(1 day)

Visit Juno Beach. and its interpretation centre, the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery a few kilometres from Courseulles-sur-Mer. More widely, discover the history of the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 on the landing beaches.

03.

Jacques Cartier

(½ day)

Go through the Quebec House where the beautiful province is honoured by temporary exhibitions and the Jacques Cartier Museum near Saint-Malo.

The history of Quebec has been marked by many events that continue to be told by its inhabitants. The Maison du Québec in Saint-Malo regularly offers exhibitions on the history of Quebec, which is highlighted in the Breton city thanks to a collaboration with local authorities and businesses as well as Canadian associations.

The exhibitions at the Maison du Québec focus on various aspects of the history and civilization of Quebec: its foundation, its development since then, but also its role in Europe and especially in France, through the explorations of Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain and the Récollets.

04.

Acadian Line

(½ day)

Heading south, discover the Acadian line, which includes 38 houses built in 1773 to accommodate Acadian families expelled from Canada. One of these houses is furnished with period furniture and now houses the Acadian Museum, which traces the history of the exiles from New France.

Visit the acadian farm museum in Archigny.

05.

Places of memory of the Charente emigration

 (2 days)

Discover the land of Champlain by visiting the citadel of Brouage through its exhibition areas and its alleys. Observe the landscape in which your ancestors lived before their departure for New France from the Broue Tower in Saint Sornin. 

Discover Rochefort and the Charente chosen by the King of France to build and arm his ships. 

Walk the streets of the historic centre of La Rochelle where the ancestors waited for their departure. Learn more about this history by visiting the Museum of the New World.

06.

Places of memory Bordeaux-Quebec

(1 day)

Discover the city of Bordeaux and its special link with the Quebec.

Bordeaux had long been involved in whaling and cod fishing in Newfoundland. During the 18th century, as Canada's need for food and manufactured goods increased, Bordeaux also traded with Canada through the fur trade. In 1754, the Governor of New France, Montcalm, described to his Minister of the Navy how "In the present times, what this colony needs is fish, salt and naval supplies from Bordeaux."

In the 18th century, Bordeaux established itself as a new supply port for Canada. In 1731 and 1741, Bordeaux had sent 44 and 60 ships respectively to Canada. From 1742 to 1752, almost three times more, and from 1753 to 1755, already 90. The annual average of departures was then 30 ships, against only 19 for La Rochelle and 11 for Bayonne. Bordeaux thus took over from La Rochelle for commercial traffic between Canada, Louisbourg and south-west France.

More information : Read the article New Aquitaine in the History of New France