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Introducing Edmundston

Working-class Edmundston, with a large paper mill, a utilitarian town center and a mainly bilingual French citizenry, doesn't bother much with tourism. Nevertheless, it makes a convenient stopover for those traveling east from Québec. The first port of call for most folks is the Provincial Tourist Office about 20km north at the Québec border. Halfway between the border and Edmundston in the small community of St Jacques is the New Brunswick Botanical Garden. Here there are 80,000 plants to brighten your day, all accompanied by classical music! Kids might prefer the neat temporary exhibitions, such as a butterfly garden. Edmundston is the eastern terminus of the Petis Témis Interprovincial Linear Park, a 134km cycling/hiking trail between Edmundston and Rivière-du-Loup, Québec. It follows an old railbed along the Madawaska River and the shores of Lake Témiscouata, passing by several small villages and campgrounds along the way.

Get out of gritty Edmundston and sleep next to the botanical gardens at Auberge Les Jardins, a gracious inn whose 17 rooms are each decorated with a different Canadian flower or tree theme. There's also a modern motel in back, and a wood-and-stained-glass dining room that's considered one of the best restaurants in the province (check out the fabulous wine list). Several motels line the highway and old Hwy 2 (Blvd Acadie). For eats, head to Bel Air. A city landmark since the 1950s, this is a total classic right down to the seasoned, uniformed waitresses. The you-name-it menu includes acceptable Italian, Chinese, seafood and basic Canadian fare.

Acadian Lines buses depart from the downtown bus terminal.