Auberge La Muse and its Chez Bouquet Éco-Bistro are landmarks of the main street of Baie St. Paul in Charlevoix. The new bistro mixes gourmet dishes with casual fare like salads, pasta and risottos. First came the meteor. Eons later, the artists followed this unlikely muse. For many decades, painters, writers and musicians have been inspired by the mountains of Charlevoix and the craggy cliffs bordering the St. Lawrence River. This spectacular countryside was created by the impact of a giant meteor that crashed hundreds of millions of years ago near today's towns of La Malbaie and Baie St. Paul. In a nutshell, the meteor's legacy of landscaping has been a muse for generations of amateur artists as well as such Quebec masters as René Richard, Clarence Gagnon and Marc-Aurèle Fortin. Innkeepers Evelyne Tremblay and her husband, Robert Arsenault, own the charming Auberge La Muse and its lively Chez Bouquet Éco-Bistro at the heart of Baie St. Paul. La Muse operates in a fine, authentic Victorian house, with a pastel yellow clapboard exterior set off by intricately worked balconies and white window frames. Its 12 guest rooms are simple but pleasant, with colourful quilts and a mix of modern furniture in wood and rattan. In the adjacent building, Chez Bouquet Éco-Bistro is the stylish ingenue along the main street. It has a fresh and contemporary style, sometimes warmed by a central fireplace, even in summer. Chez Bouquet has gone green both on the dinner table and behind the scenes. The restaurant recycles rainwater and uses biodegradable cleaning products and geothermal energy. Conscious of the price of imported foods, the chefs aim to buy at least 75 per cent of the ingredients from Charlevoix and surrounding regions of Quebec. "It has made for more interesting menus", says Tremblay."We feel our cuisine is more progressive, more advanced. The chefs interaction with farmers and food producers has created a new dynamic." Chez Bouquet's bistro menu mixes gourmet dishes with casual fare like salads, pasta, focaccia sandwiches and risottos. House specialties include beef tartare and duck confit, with the meat and poultry from regional farms. The spirit of art will be intense this summer with two exceptional events. The current must-see exhibition at the Musée d'Art contemporain de Baie Saint-Paul, running Sunday to Oct. 10, is a coup of the art world. Titled Art: A framework for life - The Universe of the Great Collectors, this exciting show brings together about 60 works,mostly by great 20th-century painters. You'll see great paintings by Picasso and Miro, as well as Canadians Betty Goodwin, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Émile Borduas and Alfred Pellan. The second art extravaganza, the 29th annual Symposium International d'Art Contemporain de Baie Saint-Paul, will be held July 29 to Aug. 28. Twelve artists, coming from France, Egypt, the united States and Canada, will work here for a full month to capture the beauty of the town, th St. Lawrence River and the mountains and forests of Charlevoix. "This is the only annual, international contemporary art symposium in Canada where viewers and artists can connect on such an intimate level," said Jacques Tremblay, the director of the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Baie Saint-Paul. "The symposium is not simply an art show. It is a lively gathering, a full month of creating and communing at seminars and conferences. It is a time when artists and audience can reflect on the expression of art." After all, Baie Saint-Paul and its meteoric landscape are their muses.