Break the routine
Our weekends can get very repetitive. On a given weekend, we decided to break the routine and took a road trip to discover the Saint Benoit du Lac Abbey.
We researched places to visit in the vicinity of Montreal. The usual places always pop up then we found the magic word - cheese. Saint-Benoît du Lac looked interesting, so we researched it a little more. We thought it would be nice to go out and discover a new place.
Montreal to Magog fast or slow
Saint Benoit is roughly 1h30 drive from downtown Montreal using the main highway. However if you are looking for a more scenic route, you can achieve this with your GPS selection. For instance, in Google Maps select Route Options and 'avoid highways' which will turn the 1h30 drive into 2h20. Frankly, by avoiding the use of main highways it could make your road trip more enjoyable.
Arriving at the Abbey, the parking was a little confusing. If you get too close to the Abbey it becomes private property. Once you see the Abbey, simply follow the indications.
If you like the look at the structure from the outside, wait until you have a look inside !
The colours really stand out, in an hypnotizing fashion.
The entire visiting place isn't huge, so there's no need to rush. We walked down the main hall, stopping along the way to read some of the explanations on the wall. It's really eye opening that this place is open to the public and so close to the city.
At the end of the hall we kept left and saw the small chapel and where they usually have the mass. It was really small but enjoyable to visit.
Take the tour
On one of our returning visits, we decided to take the grand tour of the Abbey. They offer French and English audio tours. We were the only English speaking tourists which meant we got a personalized tour.
What's great about the tour is that your guide will bring you to hidden locations. You'll get a private and inside look of the Abbey. Additionally, the guide brings everyone to an upstairs balcony with a unique view of the forrest. Once we find the picture, we'll be posting it here.
Where's the cheese ?
The best part is the store downstairs where they have various products such as cheese, cider, jams... All the cheeses are good but we most liked the 'Frere Jaques' and 'Le Saint-Augustin'. They also had a smoked blue cheese that was also very good. You can buy them individually or get one of the sampling cases. Some of the cheeses are available at the local market in the city, but there's something rewarding about getting it right from the source.
We enjoyed our trip here during the summer and can only imagine the colours in the fall. Maybe we'll make another trip down, after all, it's not far from downtown Montreal !
Have a look at their site here.