Some 20km northeast of Bic, RIMOUSKI – "Riki" to its residents – appears quite unattractive from Hwy 132 thanks to a major fire that destroyed one-third of the buildings from the river to midtown in 1950, forcing the city to rebuild in 1960s strip-mall style. But forge past the hwy and into the town, the administrative capital of eastern Québec, and you'll find a youthful city.
For B&B accommodation, Chez Charles et Marguerite, 686 boul St-Germain ouest (Tel:418/723-3938; Price: $61-80), has cheery rooms looking out onto fields that lead down to the St Lawrence. The town's cheapest motel is the Motel St-Laurent, 740 boul St-Germain ouest (Tel:418/723-9217 or 1-888/440-9241; Price: $41-60). For camping, Le Bocage, 124 Hwy 132 (Tel:418/739-3125; $20), is 13km east of Rimouski in Sainte-Luce, a quiet village that's become a lively beach resort. Rimouski has a number of affordable places to eat, not least the Central Café, 31 rue de l'Évêché ouest (Tel:418/722-4011; dinner from $20), a bistro with great salads and pizza in a home decorated with birdcages. The Maison du Spaghetti at 35 boul St-Germain est (Tel:418/723-6010) serves up hearty pasta at a reasonable $13; and if you're into kitsch, plump for Retro 50 across the street at no. 38 (Tel:418/723-4858), a themed 1950s diner.