Midway between Montréal and Québec City, TROIS-RIVIÈRES is the lively hub of the Mauricie region. The town sits at the point where the Rivière St-Maurice splits into three channels – hence the name “Three Rivers” – before meeting the St Lawrence. The European settlement dates from 1634, when it established itself as an embarkation point for the French explorers of the continent and as an iron-ore centre. Lumber followed, and today Trois-Rivières is one of the world’s largest producers of paper, the delta chock-full of logs to be pulped. It’s often dismissed as an industrial city and little else, but its shady streets of historic buildings – neither as twee as Québec City, nor as monumental as Vieux-Montréal – are worth a wander, and the town is a good starting point for exploring the Mauricie Valley.