1. Sip a latte at Biscotti & cie

Biscotti & cie. Photograph by David Richere, courtesy of Biscotti and cie.

Order a latte and a slice of cake from the counter at Biscotti & cie before heading up to the mezzanine level situated above  its kitchen. The space is outfitted with hippie-esque pillows and cosy floor cushions to help lounge away a leisurely afternoon. In warmer weather, its outdoor patio becomes a casual hot spot for locals and visitors taking a break from outdoor treks in nearby Gatineau Park.


2. Admire diverse artworks at La Fab

La Fab. Photograph courtesy of Richard Tippins.

Not only an artists’ co-op hosting affordable studio space, La Fab also houses a small gallery and boutique. Visitors can admire works made by artists in diverse mediums such as acrylic, textiles, jewelry and ceramics, along with home decor items. If you’re lucky, you may get to see some artists at work thanks to its open-door policy, which encourages interaction with the public.


3. Eat classic French dishes at Les Fougères

Photograph courtesy of Les Fougères.

Head to Les Fougères during the day and you’ll feel like you’re dining in the forest that surrounds the restaurant, thanks to the generous picture windows. The duck confit is a classic dish that has stood the test of time, having been served by the restaurant for more than 25 years. Next door, a boutique sells Les Fougères-made jams, oils and even frozen tourtières to take home with you.


4. Stretch and unwind at Vraie Nature Yoga & Movement

Balsane with candles at Vraie Nature Yoga & Movement. Photograph by Andrea Bailey.

The best way to unwind after a long day of exploring is with a candlelight yin yoga class, one of several styles offered at Vraie Nature Yoga & Movement. The relaxation-based practice moves slowly between positions while the calming glow from the candles help ease you into each posture. For a more meditative experience, its kirtan classes incorporate soothing Tibetan singing bowls alongside call-and-response chanting.


5. Buy continental made and designed goods from Maison Tivoli

Himalaya bag with throw from Maison Tivoli. Photograph courtesy of Tivoli.

Sam Asseer and Marieke van Tilborg spent decades living in Europe before settling in Chelsea. Their European experiences influence their well-curated store, Maison Tivoli. The shop stocks continental made and designed goods, like the made-in-Sweden throws from Klippan and travel bags from Portugal’s Burel.


6. Soak at the Nordik Spa

Banya Treatment at Nordik Spa-Nature. Photograph courtesy of Nordik Spa.

One of Chelsea’s top attractions is the Nordik Spa-Nature. Its thermotherapy circuit of warm saunas, cold pools and relaxation zones draw those eager for rest and relaxation. Aufguss rituals, included with admission, amp up the typical sauna experience with essential oil infusions and choreographed towel movements to help circulate hot air. Upgrade to the full experience and gain access to the Källa salt pool for weightless floatation.


Two More Things to Do in Chelsea

Browse the neighbouring village of Wakefield. It’s full of shops and galleries, and is a 20-minute drive north.

Trek Gatineau Park. It spans 361 square kilometres of the Canadian shield and its iconic landscape.

[This story appears in the March 2020 edition of WestJet Magazine.]