Taste of Québec
Just north of Montréal, the Laurentians region ticks all the boxes as a vacation destination. With its plethora of outdoor adventures (from great golfing to cycling), bounty of regional flavours and fine dining, spas and diverse lodging choices, it appeals to visitors who love to mix it up.
Unlike any other region in Québec, it has the largest protected area in the province, Mont-Tremblant National Park and the well-known P’tit Train du Nord, the longest linear park in Canada that offers activities all year. The Laurentians, a four-season destination, has something for everyone.
In this beautiful region, you don’t need to settle on either a relaxed or action-packed trip. For the perfect fall getaway, start by considering a hiking trip to the Laurentians. Gorgeous scenery and plenty of trails make it a great fit for beginner, novice and expert hikers. Soak up nature, the scent of the forest, the feel of the breeze on your skin and the sight of animals in their natural habitat. You never know what’s around the next bend.
In autumn, the maple trees in Wentworth-Nord Trail Network provide a spectacular background for a stroll to the panoramic viewpoint. (And you can bring the family pooch, too – pets on leashes are allowed!) Or, in Parc régional Val-David-Val-Morin pick a route that is easy, intermediate or difficult, depending on your group’s skill level. There are 40 kilometres of trails to explore.
For nature enthusiasts, P’tit Train du Nord linear park, showcasing quaint villages and superb landscapes, features a 234-kilometre-long path built over an old railway line. The popular spot is especially well loved by cyclists, in-line skaters, fatbike enthusiasts, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers alike, depending on the section. Pick a path to explore nearby towns, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and food producers, ideal for picking up local specialties along the way, including microbrews.
Pedal your way to Microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel!, a friendly, relaxed place to fuel up during your ride.
It has 20 crafts beers on tap that go well with regional pub fare.
At the Shawbridge Microbrasserie et Charcuteries , poutine, tapas, delicatessens, pizzas and a wide choice of main courses are served with its beers. If you’re feeling indecisive about which brew to choose, order the beer flight to try four selections, or go with a beer cocktail.
Then at Microbrasserie Le Baril Roulant, you’ll find satisfying mains like a duck confit sandwich, grilled artisanal sausages and butter chicken. And go ahead and get the beeramisu, its spin on classic tiramisu, made with oatmeal and whiskey stout. You’ll work off those calories when you cycle up the next hill.
Perhaps you’d like your exploration of the area to highlight regional flavours: the Chemin du Terroir is a 226-kilometre official route through backroads and charming towns. You’ll find 27 businesses ready to welcome you, from local cheesemakers, like Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde, known for its blue cheese and soft cheeses made with organic milk, to apple producer Labonté de la Pomme with its cider house and apple shack serving homemade local specialties.
There is also La Bullerie, the first vineyard in Québec to specialize in sparkling wines. Added into the mix are opportunities to explore the dynamic history and culture of the region through its museums, picturesque gardens and parks.
There is a lot to discover along the Chemin du Terroir so plan to take a leisurely pace and stay a few nights. You’ll also want to indulge in some me-time at the local spas – each one with its own unique take on pampering and wellness.
Spa Le Finlandais, located at the Hotel Le Finlandais, is a popular spot to boost mind and body, thanks to its globally inspired spa treatments – more than 25 in total. Relax in a Russian sauna, get exfoliated and massaged in a Turkish hammam, take an icy plunge in an Arctic-inspired pool, or just wind down in the Moroccan Lounge.
Meanwhile, L’Oasis de l’Île offers a full urban retreat experience. Located on an island in a natural environment on the banks of the Milles-Îles river, it taps into the healing properties of nature, coupled with hot and cold baths (ideal for relieving muscle tension and improving blood circulation) and an array of spa services, like a hot stone massage or revitalizing facial. It has plenty of amenities for guests, like a four-season solarium for napping and relaxation, accommodations on-site and a bistro with a modern Nordic menu featuring local ingredients.
Whether you’re aiming for a chilled vacay or an active one, fall is the perfect time to explore the Laurentians and all it has to offer.
Visit laurentians.com to plan your visit. We recommend calling ahead to confirm the opening hours.
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio on behalf of Bonjour Québec. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.
CREDITS: Concept and oversight by JESSICA ROBINSON; Editing by ELIZABETH HOLLAND; Art direction by JEANINE BRITO; Design and development by AASHISH ARORA; Illustrations by MAIA GRECCO