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Lanaudière-Mauricie: Authentic Autumnal Ecstasy in the Heart of Colour and Flavour!

May 1, 2024

Lanaudière-Mauricie: Authentic Autumnal Ecstasy in the Heart of Colour and Flavour! © Étienne Boisvert
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Admire, move, savour, and curl up like never before in the arms of Quebec’s autumn… What could be a more inspiring program? And to put it into practice, where better than Lanaudière-Mauricie? From west to east, from Montreal to Quebec City along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, our two regions stand out for their accessibility, right in the authentic heart of the province. From south to north, they combine the majesty of the river, the generosity of the countryside and the flamboyance of the forest. Here, getting away from it all is not only child’s play, but even a short autumn stay will be packed with discoveries and experiences to suit all tastes, whether you’re contemplative, curious, adventurous, or epicurean…

Lanaudière-Mauricie: Authentic Autumnal Ecstasy in the Heart of Colour and Flavour!

Autumn in Quebec – what a sight! Right in the middle of the province, Lanaudière and Mauricie create an exceptional stage where, every year, actors we love come to perform: the softness of the air, the soothing caress of the sun, the scents of the forest, the colours of the landscape, the flavours of the land at their finest. In the front row, your eyes and taste buds are invited to a sumptuous banquet. As for the rest of the body, it’s well advised to answer nature’s call and play outside again and again, before toques and heavy coats make their return for long months to come. For a few days or a long weekend, a stay in Lanaudière and Mauricie under the red, yellow, and orange cloaks of the trees, the annual autumnal thaw formerly known as “Indian summer”, can easily turn into a firework display of delight. So, to live the final bouquet of the beautiful season, let’s see what multicoloured and multisensory experiences await us in Lanaudière and Maurice…



Let’s Wander Through the Woods of Lanaudière, While Winter Is Away! © Damien Lair

Let’s Wander Through the Woods of Lanaudière, While Winter Is Away!

The magic of autumn is first and foremost the incredible palette of colours that fill the woods. Naturally, the further you venture into the hinterland, the more the landscapes, landforms, lakes, and rivers become clothed in forest as far as the eye can see. In the Lanaudière region, not very far from Montreal, Parc national du Mont-Tremblant, the eldest of Quebec’s national parks, is the place to be. A few kilometers north of Saint-Donat, the entrance to the Pimbina sector is our key to a polychromic, vitamin-packed immersion. It’s an exceptional playground for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, cycling and a variety of wildlife interpretation activities. One of the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec’s (Sépaq) secret nature lodgings in this area is the charming Compact chalets, which sleep four, right on the shores of Provost Lake.

We’ve got another great idea in the area for original, comfortable, and eco-responsible sleeping arrangements. In Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, in the Matawinie region, Expérience Équinox has designed fully equipped domes that are delightfully at one with nature. Their large bay windows and panoramic roofs make you feel like you are part of autumn, and outside, you will enjoy a private spa and fireplace to unwind!

Three Places to Enjoy Cottage Life and the Urban Dolce Vita in Lanaudière © Étienne Boisvert

Three Places to Enjoy Cottage Life and the Urban Dolce Vita in Lanaudière

Head for Sainte-Émélie-de-l’Énergie, still in the Matawinie region, to discover a vast estate, Les Boisés de la Rivière Noire, where ten magnificent cottages have sprung up to blend into a beautiful boreal environment. Accommodating up to 4 or 6 guests, they all have their own personality, top-of-the-range amenities, and unmistakable cachet. We’ve fallen for Le Colibri, a pod-style cottage nestled by the river: the perfect romantic retreat amidst autumnal tones!

The Auberge de la Montagne Coupée in Saint-Jean-de-Matha offers yet another vacation experience. Here, the spacious chalets (for 20 and 24 people) available for rental boast a contemporary elegance. You can also choose to stay at the inn, which boasts no less than 37 country-style rooms and 10 suites. When it comes to accommodation, there’s no question about it: a cozy stay is guaranteed, with the symphony of autumn as far as the eye can see in the exterior décor. The great added value of this Lanaudière establishment is the little extras to brighten up your day. For example, there’s an indoor pool that opens onto nature, and a state-of-the-art Health Center with everything you’d expect from a spa, including a menu of massages and treatments, and more – a new NeuroSpa, to take the stress away for good. What’s more, the Auberge de la Montagne Coupée is a highly reputed gastronomic relay, which excels in magnifying the finest Lanaudière produce throughout the seasons.

In Lanaudière-Mauricie, mild autumn weather, relaxation and gourmet pleasures can also be enjoyed in town. The proof is in Joliette, a charming Lanaudière town less than an hour’s drive from Montreal. Right in the heart of the city, but in a charming tête-à-tête with the L’Assomption river and the nearby Joliette Art Museum, our favorite address is Château Joliette Hotel. As much as we love the comfort and contemporary design of its 90 rooms and suites, many of which offer a view of the river, we love even more the good times spent on the lovely terrace overlooking Place des Moulins, bordered by the waterway. It’s the perfect place to breathe in the autumn air and taste the creations of Bar G, renowned for its inventive cocktails featuring products from regional distilleries. As for the Table G restaurant, it has established itself as a benchmark address in the Lanaudière region, as much for its modern, relaxed atmosphere as for the refinement of its gastronomic proposals. Local produce is given its rightful place on the plate. The Château Joliette gourmet package is the perfect way to take advantage of this. It’s so clever, your mouth is watering!

Vignoble Saint-Gabriel © Simon Laroche

Experience the True Taste of Autumn on the Roads of Lanaudière

Epicureans couldn’t be better served in Lanaudière: the region is criss-crossed by six gourmet itineraries under the “Goûtez Lanaudière!” banner. Why do we love these flavour-packed tours? Because they are an invitation to explore every facet of the region, from the shores of the St. Lawrence to the mountains, via city and country, plains, valleys, and foothills. With over forty agritourism stops, all you have to do is let your taste buds and curiosity serve as your GPS. In a jumble, we’re about to meet fruit, vegetable and meat producers, winemakers, beekeepers, microbrewers, distillers, cheesemakers, maple syrup producers and many other brilliant artisans of the Lanaudière terroir, not to mention agri-food processors and gourmet boutiques. In autumn, the land is at its best, and those who work it are happy to take the time to explain their trades and passions. So, along with the tastings, there’s sure to be some great encounters. Among the six Goûtez Lanaudière! itineraries, we’ve got two favorites that will give you a real taste of the colourful season. The “Urban and Rural Flavours” tour is the perfect picnic basket: La Suisse Normande Cheese Factory for cheese delicacies, Ferme Briho-Bel farm for fruits, vegetables, honey and maple products, Ferme J. L Leblanc farm for pick-your-own strawberries, Cochon Cent Façons for a basket of fine charcuterie products, the Ruisseau Noir microbrewery for a beer break, and the Grand Dérangement distillery for organic spirits with a flavour of Acadian culture.


To add the magic of the countryside to your culinary discoveries, you’ll love the “mountain aromas” tour of Lac Maskinongé and Saint-Jean-de-Matha. The Magasin de l’Abbaye Notre-Dame shop, the Vignoble Saint-Gabriel vineyard, the Ferme Vallée Verte 1912 farm and Qui sème récolte (orchard, cider mill, oil mill and maple grove) are among our preferred gourmet haunts in the Lanaudière backcountry.

A discovery as original as it is tasty is also in store at Saint-Ambroise-de-Kildare, near Joliette. Au Jardin des Noix is a farm dedicated to growing northern walnuts and hazelnuts. On site, you’ll have the chance to discover know-how and taste excellent products (oils, fudges, caramels and various varieties of walnuts and hazelnuts), as well as take part in guided pick-ups, workshops, and gourmet events. Yummy!

Les Moulins, a Charming Lanaudière Destination © Fabien Proulx-Tremblay

Les Moulins, a Charming Lanaudière Destination

If you are travelling from Montreal, Terrebonne and Mascouche are just a thirty-kilometre drive away. Welcome to Les Moulins Regional County Municipality, home not only to a rich historical heritage dating back to the days of New France, but also to a gentle urban ambience, with its lively cultural scene, fine dining and colourful parks and gardens. A tour of Vieux-Terrebonne is a delightful invitation to travel back in time amongst its historic buildings, starting with those on Île-des-Moulins, witnesses to the golden age of one of Quebec’s most important seigneuries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Five remarkably restored buildings offer guided tours and permanent exhibitions. Nearby, Maison Bélisle, built in 1759, is the oldest house in Vieux-Terrebonne. Also worth a visit, this venerable dwelling houses a brand-new exhibition that reconnects visitors to the roots of Terrebonne: “History with a capital… T”. A walk or bike ride through Terrebonne’s historic district is a delight in autumn. The city’s many green spaces are ideal for a picnic break, or for spotting the migratory birds – including Canada geese – that flock to the Thousand Islands River before heading off to their winter destination. We also love strolling through the village heart of Vieux-Mascouche, where many historic 18th-century houses have been preserved. A valuable tip, if ever the calendar coincides: the Harvest Festival is a free outdoor event taking place in Terrebonne on September 21 and 22, 2024, and in Mascouche on September 28. A great opportunity to celebrate the arrival of autumn by meeting local artisans and tasting their agri-food products.


In the Mauricie Region, Nature, Glorified by Autumn, Pulls Out All the Stops! © Étienne Boisvert

In the Mauricie Region, Nature, Glorified by Autumn, Pulls Out All the Stops!

We’re now turning our attention to this large and beautiful neighbour stretching out to the east of Lanaudière. Whether you arrive on the river side of the Mauricie via the King’s Road, on the country roads or, further north, threading your way through the forest-covered hills, there’s no shortage of opportunities to soak up the gentle autumn air. At the heart of the region, the Maskinongé Regional County Municipality is an unbeatable destination for admiring the variety of landscapes the Mauricie region has to offer. From the river, especially the Louiseville sector and the immense Lac Saint-Pierre, to Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, where the boreal forest dominates the panorama, via Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, on the threshold of the magnificent La Mauricie National Park, the autumn byways are bursting with colour and flavour. Hiking, fishing, canoeing, horse-riding, and golfing are just some of the outdoor activities available in September and October throughout the region. You’ll also be seduced by the many artists’ and artisans’ hideaways that dot the region, as well as by the boundless inspiration of local agri-food producers. The good news is that an event taking place on September 21 and 22 brings these two facets together: the Tournée Arts et Terroir Mauricie, of which the Maskinongé RCM is a partner, opens the doors to nearly 90 workshops and boutiques run by artists, artisans, and local producers. Some of our favorite gourmet addresses line the itinerary, including Domaine Gélinas (vineyard and distillery) in Saint-Sévère, the St-Mathieu-du-Parc Sugar Shack (maple products) and La Chope à Miel (raw forest honey) near Saint-Boniface, not to mention the oyster mushrooms and other forest delicacies at Monsieur Champignons in Saint-Justin, for a perfectly autumnal visit! The Maskinongé region is full of excellent resorts to spoil your taste buds, such as the Auberge du Lac-à-l’Eau-Claire inn in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, as well as microbreweries, friendly snack bars and welcoming cafés, such as the Éco-café Au bout du monde in Saint-Paulin, on the site of the Baluchon Eco Resort. Speaking of which…

Three Mauricie Favourites to Combine Nature, Resorts and Gastronomy in This Festival of Colours

Yes, the Baluchon Eco Resort is unquestionably a must when it comes to experiencing the Mauritian autumn. In Saint-Paulin, this legendary country hotel address has become an upscale, resolutely eco-friendly resort. Enjoy a serene retreat with rooms, suites, and cottages designed around the concept of slow living. Indulge in delectable cuisine at the region’s finest gourmet restaurants. Explore a sustainable livestock farm embracing eco-friendly agriculture practices. Immerse yourself in outdoor adventures across vast forested grounds intersected by a river, offering 35 km of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for horseback riding and mountain biking. Le Baluchon is all this and more, with the magnificent Nordic Spa on site to enjoy the benefits of thermotherapy all year round – we love the hot baths and outdoor relaxation facilities overlooking the Rivière du Loup – as well as the treatments and massages offered by the Spa Santé du Baluchon.

Recharging our batteries in an exceptional environment is also on the agenda in Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, on the edge of the fabulous Mauricie National Park and its 536 km2 of unspoilt nature. The originality of the Auberge Refuge du Trappeur inn lies first and foremost in its location, nestled in the woods and therefore perfect for getting in tune with autumn in a variety of accommodations: in a room at the inn, in a cottage, in a refuge or under a tipi that can welcome up to 10 people. We should point out that the Native soul is in the site’s DNA, with the Mokotakan Native culture sharing site to visit on the premises, as well as a small wildlife museum.

Another area, another favourite. Head for Trois-Rives, in the Haute-Mauricie region, where Les Versants de la Falaise have invented their own version of glamping. Their magnificently equipped domes (including outdoor Scandinavian baths!) offer all the amenities of an urban hotel and the most intimate possible connection with the surrounding nature. Nature is beautiful around here, with forest, mountains, and the Saint-Maurice River meandering before our eyes!

Two Memorable Ways to Be Part of the Mauritian Autumn Scene © Raph Sévigny

Two Memorable Ways to Be Part of the Mauritian Autumn Scene

We’re hungry for more colours! To satiate us, we can rely on the Parc de la rivière Batiscan , near Saint-Narcisse. This vast natural territory, crossed by the fiery Batiscan River, is more beautiful than ever in its autumn quarters, and is an extra-large playground for the whole family. There’s hiking on nearly 20 km of marked trails, mountain biking, geocaching (6 trails!), canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and of course, swimming and fishing. Via ferrata over the river, treetop adventure and zip-line thrills are also available, thanks to the Via Batiscan adventure trail. Until mid-October, visitors can discover the park’s wildlife in the company of a naturalist guide and enjoy storytelling evenings. And yes, you can extend your immersion here with a fine array of ready-tocamp accommodations (rustic cabins, tents, yurts, pods…) and campsites.

It’s hard to get enough of Lanaudière-Mauricie’s autumn-painted landscapes, isn’t it? And if you want to be 100% sure you’re going to see it all, there’s one option you haven’t yet explored: taking to the skies! In Saint-Étienne-des-Grès, right on the Saint-Maurice River, Hydravion Aventure offers fantastic panoramic seaplane flights. It’s easy to imagine the thrill of contemplating the colours of the vast Mauricie National Park from the sky, its endless forest, and lakes, especially aboard such a typically Québécois craft as the seaplane. To combine the sensational with the pleasurable, the company also offers gastronomic flights including a meal prepared by a local chef to be savoured in the heart of the forest. As a bonus, you’ll discover a unique venue, l’Hydrobase (accommodation available on site), as well as a team of true enthusiasts led by Alain Priem, a former French Air Force pilot.

Festival Western de St-Tite © Raph Sévigny

Two Great Bonus Tracks to Follow Blindly This Fall in Mauricie

And since autumn in Lanaudière-Mauricie is also a time for get-togethers and distinctly woodsy accents, here are two final favourites to liven up your stay. Our wide-open spaces in their tawny hues are a temptation to don a cowboy hat? There’s no excuse to miss the Festival Western de St-Tite. Taking place in the Mauricie region from September 6 to 15, the 56th edition of this cowboy extravaganza promises to be as exciting as ever. Professional rodeos, country music and dancing, activities, and entertainment of all kinds, with the colours and flavours of the far West: St-Tite is unrivalled in its celebration of Western culture!

Finally, to make the most of Mother Nature’s gifts, which are ever so generous when autumn arrives in the Mauricie region, let’s not neglect those little woodland treasures that are such a welcome addition to connoisseurs’ baskets. When you turn to Les Champignons forestiers de la Mauricie, you’ll discover a mycological industry in full bloom in the region, training courses, workshops, guided picking activities, recipes and places to taste them, and even a major fall event, MYCO, the meeting place for forest gastronomy, which by the way is a finalist in the Gourmet Event of the Year 2023 category at the Lauriers de la Gastronomie Québécoise awards.

You’ve been warned: the many flavours and colours of autumn in Lanaudière-Mauricie are an unlimited universe of pleasure!



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