Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent

Typical vacationers

Vacationers did not all enjoy summer in the same way, of course. Each and every one had his or her own preferences and means.

There were the buzzing bee-like tourists who, with only a few days or weeks to explore new destinations every year, wanted to get all they could out of a too-short stay. The hotels met their needs.

Then, there were the summer residents. Like migrating birds, they would return each summer to the same place. Like their neighbours, they came to know every nook and cranny for their homes-away-from-home.

A house in the country was a must for the most fortunate. If the head of the family was early in his career and did not have the means to buy or build a country estate, he might rent a room in a boarding house or a hotel with his wife. Over their stay, they might search for the ideal spot for their future villa or meet locals willing to rent out their home for a few weeks or even the whole summer. This was how traditions were born.

Vacationing was an art de vivre. Some summer residents built veritable palaces just to host their visitors. Most, however, were looking for a simple existence, free of the worries of city life. They used their wealth to adapt their villa or cottage—elegant, but more rustic than the villa—to their vision of a happy, healthy life close to nature.

Did you know? The word “tourism” comes from Grand Tour, the custom of sending young British aristocrats on round-trip excursions to the European capitols in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The Tour was viewed as being educational for the heirs of wealthy families. 

A family enjoys the summer, behind an opulent house. A child rides a bike, others play tennis or chat.

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