Travel beyond the vibrant city of Montreal and discover the old-world charm of country villages, thick French-Canadian accents and mountainous landscapes perfect for year-round adventures. Sip local wines in Lanaudiere, ‘tap’ for your very own maple syrup in Rigaud, hike and ski the Laurentians, and discover true romance in Quebec City.
1. Sucrerie de la Montagne
Travel to the Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud during the winter season to experience an authentic sugar shack where maple syrup is produced the old-fashioned way.
The tree is tapped with a spout, sap collected in a pail and transformed into pure maple syrup using a traditional wood-fired evaporator. Afterwards, prepare for an unbeatable sugar high at the all-you-can-eat sugaring-off feast.
The Sucrerie de la Montagne is located just 50 minutes west of downtown Montreal, with the option to stay overnight in rustic log cabins, deep in the maple forest.
2. Quebec City
A day trip to Quebec City is well-worth the scenic 2.5 hour drive from Montreal. Fall in love with the European ambiance and architecture, including the iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world, towering over romantic Old Quebec.
You can see a lot in just a few hours. Take in the city’s best view from Observatoire de la Capitale and catch a glimpse into the history and culture of the city through the compelling trompe-l’oeil murals along the cobblestoned streets.
Marvel at the incredible Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica-Cathedral and head to rue Saint-Jean for lunch and shopping.
3. Laurentian Mountains
The mountains and lakes of the magnificent Laurentians are best seen during autumn, when the changing hues of foliage add a spectacular visual dimension to the experience.
Cruise along charming alpine roads with views of Mont Tremblant, the highest peak in the Laurentians. Get to know the locals in the beguiling French villages of St-Sauveur and St-Adolfphe d’Howard. Picnic on the shores of Lac-des-Sables, with its picturesque islands and celebrity homes dating back 150 years.
Drive the easy 90-minute journey north from downtown Montreal, or join one of many day tours on offer.
For stunning provincial parks, wildlife and all-season adventures, head from Montreal to the Outaouais region (pronounced ewt-away), 90 minutes southwest from downtown.
Take your pick from 20,000 lakes to canoe, go hiking, or hit the snowmobile trails during winter. Visit the local fromageries, chocolateries and boutiques of the quaint township of Montebello. See the largest log structure in the world, Le Chateau Montebello, as well as the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello – handy if you decide to extend your stay.
If time permits, drive the extra half hour to Gatineau Park for spectacular wilderness and friendly village charm.
Possibly Quebec’s best-kept secret, the Lanaudiere region, 90 minutes north of Montreal, offers an authentic insight into country living in this French-Canadian province. Farms, wineries and peaceful lanes make it ideal for exploration by car or bicycle.
Bring your appetite to this foodie paradise. Sip on local wines and ciders, and dine on impeccable cuisine created from meat and vegetables produced and served by locals who have farmed this region forever.
Lanaudiere is equally beautiful in winter. Stay in a cosy log cabin at Saint Donat and spend a day exploring by snowshoe or cross-country skis.