This article was created in collaboration with Bonjour Québec and Tourisme Lanaudière as part of my role as a Bonjour Québec ambassador.
When I hear Lanaudière, the first two things that come to mind are: cottage and sugar shack. Obviously, the region is well known for these two aspects, but it is also much more than that. This place located about 30 kilometres northeast of Montreal has a lot to offer. This territory of more than 12,000 square kilometres is full of little treasures to discover. Whether you’re an urbanite or a nature lover, the people of Lanaudière are eager to welcome you with their legendary charisma and warmth.
Foodies and adventurers with a thirst for discovery, head to Lanaudière for an unforgettable stay that is sure to give you a change of scenery, all within easy reach of major urban centres.
What to see and do in Lanaudière?
There is no shortage of activities in Lanaudière. There is something for everyone. Here is a sample of the activities that caught my attention during my most recent stay.
Vieux-Terrebonne and Île-des-Moulins
From Montreal, Terrebonne is one of the first places you will see on your route. It is the most accessible and urban destination. It’s fairly easy to get there by public transportation — allow about 1.5 hours to get there. By car, it takes about 30 minutes to reach Vieux-Terrebonne. Once there, I strongly recommend walking through the various sectors of the Parc de l’Île-des-Moulins. This park borders the Mille Îles River and is an ideal place for a picnic. After your visit to the park, take a short trip to Vieux-Terrebonne to take a walk back to the last century. Stroll through the narrow streets to see the beautiful ancestral houses.
Terre des Bisons
At Terre des Bisons in Rawdon, learn more about the largest mammal in North America. You’ll have the opportunity to see the herds up close and personal and you’ll even find an interpretation museum on site. To end your visit on a high note, discover the boutique located in the main building to see the range of gourmet products created and processed on site by the company.
Vignoble Saint-Gabriel Wine Tasting
What could be better than a wine tasting in a place reminiscent of the golden valleys of Tuscany? This is exactly what you will find at Vignoble Saint-Gabriel. Their selection of 8 wines is entirely organic and certified Ecocert Canada. I fell in love with Le Secret de l’Archange which I imagined drinking with good local cheeses at the end of the meal.
An interesting fact is that there is an antique tractor museum on site with over 130 tractors dating from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Vanlife enthusiasts will be happy to know that the vineyard is part of the Terego network, so you can sleep in your van in the middle of the vineyard.
Guided walk at the Sentiers de l’Abbaye Val Notre-Dame
For this activity, we head for the Montagne Coupée. You will have to go to the Magasin de l’Abbaye Val Notre-Dame located in Saint-Jean-de-Matha. On site, you will discover non-timber forest products (NTFP). With all the knowledge of guide François Patenaude, owner of the company Saveur des bois, you will discover the neighbouring forests to learn more about all the organic products coming from these places. We’re talking about mushrooms, berries and a variety of edible and medicinal plants. A gentle activity that will help you reconnect with the environment. A multitude of gourmet activities are also offered on site.
Relaxation at the Natur’eau Spa
After your hike in the forest, it’s time to continue your relaxation at the Natur’eau Spa in Mandeville. On site, you will find a thermal circuit with alternating hot and cold baths that will guide you to ultimate relaxation. The modern facilities offer plenty of space for relaxation and privacy to achieve maximum serenity.
A little shopping in Lanaudière
In the major centres of the region, you will obviously find all the department stores you know. For my part, I invite you to discover some that are found only in Lanaudière.
Magasin de l’Abbaye Val Notre-Dame
If you plan to hike the Abbey trails, kill two birds with one stone and shop for local products at the Abbey Store. You can also find their products online on their website.
Les Museaux d’Écosse
In this shop located in Saint-Lin-Laurentides, you will be able to see the range of local products that the region has to offer. It’s the perfect stop on your itinerary to do your grocery shopping before heading to your lodging.
Kiosques de producteurs maraîchers (en saison)
When the weather permits, approximately between June and October, you will find farmers selling their produce from roadside stands. Bring some cash as some of them do not accept cards or are self-service.
Lodging in Lanaudière
During my last stay in the region, I had the opportunity to test two glamping accommodations. Glamping is the perfect balance between being close to nature, in an unusual accommodation, with practical amenities such as electricity and so on.
Ma Yourte au coeur des collines
For the first accommodation, we go to Saint-Calixte. Ma Yourte au coeur des collines is a family business owned by Guy and Gabriel Courteau. Together, they have developed a superb range of unusual accommodation in the region. I had the chance to try the kamook, a 4-season habitable dome in the middle of the forest. In the kamook, you will be as, if not more, comfortable than at home, and this, directly in nature. You will also find a multitude of activities to do directly on the spot, whether it be hiking or even a little kayaking on the nearby lake.
Natur’eau Spa Pod
In addition to the thermal experience mentioned earlier in this article, you can extend the relaxation in one of the accommodations offered on site. I stayed in one of their pods and it really is the perfect format for a romantic weekend in the wilderness.
Where to eat in Lanaudière?
Needless to say, with the abundance and quality of local products in Lanaudière, you’ll eat very well no matter where you are in the region. Here are two must-see places you’ll want to return to after your first visit.
Chez Fabien Restaurant
Located in the heart of Vieux-Terrebonne, Chez Fabien offers an Italian-inspired menu. Local products are skilfully highlighted in the various dishes offered. I fell in love with the first course of giant scallops with honey, a real delight.
La forêt de l’Abbaye, bistro
At the Magasin de l’Abbaye in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, there is a bistro where non-timber forest products are in the spotlight. It is the ideal opportunity to understand how to use the ingredients you will have found during your walk in the trails of the Abbey. When the bistro is open during the summer season, it is also possible to attend a culinary workshop in which you will learn all the ways to cook with forest products.