Charlevoix as seen by… Alexandre Bergeron
His eyes shine like the sapphires that adorn his creations, that he wears in great quantities, as he turns the genre’s conventions inside out, in terms of what can and can't be done. He is charismatically himself, unconditionally loves people, places, and beauty… That’s what brings that great depth to roles he plays as an actor, and it's what confers that precious aura on his jewels when he plies his trade as a jeweller under his own name: Alexandre Bergeron!
1. Where in Charlevoix do you feel at home?
Pointe-au-Pic, for sure! I was born there, I spent time playing with my friends there when I was young, in the streets and little forests I know by heart…
But today, where I feel good, and I know it re-centres me, and where I’ll always feel at home is at the shore, also in Pointe-au-Pic, towards St-Irénée, behind the Casse-Croute Chez Chantal snack bar. Right now, that’s my “go-to” spot in Charlevoix. It’s comforting, reminds me of my childhood and teenage years, when I thought about life and about who I was… and about getting high!
2. The gourmet products from Charlevoix you’re a fan of?
There are plenty of them. Les Viandes Bios de Charlevoix, located in St-Urbain and whose products can be found in every grocery store, so it’s a product from Charlevoix that I can even eat in the city and every week, because I like eating organic food; it’s so tasty… And I tell myself those animals were happy running around the fields, which makes me feel good!
Otherwise, I like Menaud’s gins and vodkas and always keep some in the bar at home. I really like Champignons Charlevoix’s oyster mushrooms; I eat a lot of them! I love the cheese fondue you can get at Laiterie Charlevoix, I always buy some when I come through Charlevoix. Those are my must-haves!
3. Your favourite local business?
I’ve got no choice but to say it’s the Auberge Trois Canards, because that’s my home! I spent my whole childhood there. I worked there. My family, my sister Hélène, still works there today…
It’s full of great memories: my summers at the pool meeting my best friend, Mélissa Deschênes, who was a lifeguard there. I was “in love” with her, but after that, she was my bestie!
The Auberge Trois Canards is a romantic spot: there’s something of the 1950s about it, as well as of today. With the croquet games, it feels like it’s from another time… The food’s great, and the view is gorgeous!
4. A Charlevoix sight you never tire of?
The view when coming from Saint-Irénée to Pointe-au-Pic and, on the Bellevue hill, level with the Auberge Trois Canards, you can see the river widen from there… I’ll never get tired of that view, because those are my roots; that’s where I get my energy from!
And the view at Cap-aux-Oies, a place I love to go.
Also, Route 138 towards Saint-Siméon and Port-au-Persil, that road there, with the hills above the river, I’ll never get bored of that, either!
5. When you come to Charlevoix, who can’t you wait to see?
Well, it’s my mother I can hardly wait to see; as soon as I turn into the driveway, I’m so happy to see my mom! I also look forward to seeing my sisters, brothers, nephews and nieces!
Mélissa, too, before cancer took her; coming here and seeing my friend was always an event! Even now, I still want to go see her.
6. What’s something you learned to do, or learned about yourself in Charlevoix?
There’s so much I could say! It’s where I grew up, it shaped me. In fact, the most important thing I learned there was to be myself against the tides of conformity, and the tides are strong at La Malbaie. When you’re different from the other boys, when you have different interests, when you want to dress differently, and do things that aren’t the things the other boys want to do, it takes a measure of courage to get on the school bus every day to go to school, to go to the mall, to just be yourself. Even now, I sometimes feel others’ eyes on me because I’m different. But now I like it, I’ve learned to live with it! It’s served me well and given me lots of strength.
And another thing I learned in Charlevoix was to look inward. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the forests and at the shore, alone. Which I do a little more rarely now as an adult working in Montreal. I don’t have too many moments of real solitude, as I did sitting alone on the shoreline at Cap-aux-Oies or Pointe-au-Pic… But I think that’ll always be with me, that state of contemplation and calm. I always feel really alive at those times, I feel like I’m connecting to something essential.