Montérégie is the only Québec region with a Cider Route (Route des cidres)—not surprising given our number of apple trees—and it’s the birthplace of ice cider. Crossed by the Rivière Richelieu, our territory boasts a valley of forts and two biosphere reserves that are part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
How to get there
Distance between main cities
Did you know?
To be discovered absolutely
A hot-air balloon ride, a cider house and its trail, a strategic fort at the foot of the Rivière Richelieu—there’s a lot to explore in Montérégie!
Hot-air balloon ride
Viewed from the sky, the Montérégie landscape may resemble a patchwork of fields and hills, sewn together with braids of rivers and adorned with forts jutting up like buttons.
Since 1984, when two hot-air balloon enthusiasts created a festival, the event has evolved into an international competition that doubles as a huge family outing. Many balloonists give visitors a chance to fulfill their dream of floating in the air. “Liftoff” is at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., weather permitting, of course.
Hot-air balloon rides are offered in the summer and also in the winter... just bundle up!
The International Balloon Festival has had quite an effect on the people living in the region. Many have become amateur hot-air balloonists and it’s now possible to soar in the sky with them at any time of the year.
Michel Jodoin cider house
In Michel Jodoin’s case, the apple really didn’t fall far from the tree. Born into a family of apple producers who, for four generations, had been making a living off the red, crunchy fruit, he inherited an immense family business, which he successfully steered in another direction.
When Michel Jodoin opened his cider house in 1988, he started producing an artisanal cider, inspired by the traditional method and applying the knowledge he had acquired in... Champagne. That meant with bubbles, according to the champagne method. Since then, he has developed other ways to use his apples to make products that are very much in demand: ciders (sparking, ice, still, crackling) as well as spirits and apple juices (apple mistelle, brandy and vermouth). A visit to the cider house is best topped off with a short 3-km (1.8-mi.) hike along a groomed trail.
Founded in 1999, the Michel Jodoin cider house was Canada’s first microdistillery.
Fort Chambly National Historic Site
Fort Chambly is a site charged with history. Guides in period costume act out the military saga that occurred there, which you can also learn about through the site’s exhibits.
Where there’s a waterway, there’s a route that needs monitoring and enemies to watch out for. The French had to protect themselves from the First Nations in the 17th century, and then the English opposed the French in the 18th century (Canada’s history in a nutshell!).
A beer and food festival is held at the Fort Chambly site.
Fortresses were therefore a necessity. Fort Chambly’s location, at the foot of the Rivière Richelieu rapids, was particularly strategic at the time it was constructed. At first built out of wood by the French in the 17th century, Fort Chambly later came under the control of the British, who raised the huge stone fort we see today.
It’s also now a great spot to have a picnic!
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