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Quebec's quaintest winter village

Quebec's quaintest winter village

Eighty miles north of Montr?al, Tremblant lies at the base of Qu?bec's lovely Laurentian External Link TitlemountainsExternal Link Title. Open year-round, the place is especially superb in winter.


Haven't heard of  Mont-Tremblant? Here's why Forbes External Link Titlecalls it a must-visit spotExternal Link Title:

  1. Charm. Picture a cobblestone-lined, pedestrian-only village with quaint Old World-inspired architecture.
  2. French-Canadian culture. French-speaking locals here are warm, welcoming, and fun loving.
  3. All in one. Tremblant manages to double as a pretty resort town and world-class ski destination, while being home to a sophisticated dining scene, wide array of outdoor fun options, and national park north of town.


Here's our quick guide to vacationing in Mont-Tremblant.


Splurge on the tasteful, tranquil H?tel QuintessenceExternal Link Title along Lake Tremblant that's only a few paces from the village. This 30-suite luxe boutique hotel is decked out in French hunting chateau decor and boasts lake views, balconies, deep soaker tubs, and in-room wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, there's an outdoor infinity pool and top-rated, traditional French fareExternal Link Title, right on site.


There's also the Fairmont External Link Titlewith over 300 elegant rooms and the WestinExternal Link Title, both minutes from the slopes. Lodge de la MontagneExternal Link Title is a ski-in/ski-out three-star hotel in town with kitchenettes, fireplaces, a sauna, and hot tub if you're looking for a more casual option.


If you've come to ski and snowboardExternal Link Title or go alpine touringExternal Link Title, you've struck gold. SKI magazine readers rank TremblantExternal Link Title the No. 1 ski resort in Eastern North America. The resort gets tons of snow each season (open November through April), has a much-acclaimed small-group-oriented ski schoolExternal Link Title, terrain parksExternal Link Title, and first class snowmaking equipment, keeping the 96 runs on four mountainsides in tip-top shape. In all, there's 662 acres of skiable terrain. The south side is optimal for beginners -- especially the long, 3.7-mile Nansen run -- while advanced skiers will love exploring the north side.

Get into winter

There's just as much fun for non-skiersExternal Link Title: Horse-drawn sleigh rides or horse-sleddingExternal Link Title, show shoeingExternal Link Title on 96 marked trails, and star gazing. Or, try your hand at mushing a pack of handsome huskiesExternal Link Title, most of which are rescue dogs, through the woods. Spend an afternoon cross-country skiingExternal Link Title or fatbike ridingExternal Link Title on the snow -- the area has a whopping 500 miles of multi-use trails.


Ice skate outdoorsExternal Link Title in the forest near the St. Bernard Chapel, free for village hotel guests. There's also tubingExternal Link Title,External Link Title snowmobilingExternal Link Title, ice fishingExternal Link Title, and ice climbingExternal Link Title. You might even join a guided evening snowshoe tourExternal Link Title that stops for gourmet fondue in a forest cabin with a little guitar entertainment.


For something special, take a seat in the cheery cottage of sEb L'Artisan CulinaireExternal Link Title, a Qu?bec fav delivering culinary art drawn from pristine local ingredients. Order the red grouper fillet or the duck. Warm up with gooey racletteExternal Link Title (melted cheese over potatoes or bread) at French Alpen lodge-style La SavoieExternal Link Title, a local haunt that also serves traditional fondue.


Foodies like the lavish brunch buffet and Laurentian d?cor, at the Fairmont's Le ComptoirExternal Link Title and Microbrasserie La DiableExternal Link Title for a flight of apr?s-ski Qu?bec craft brews over Swiss sausages and French-Canadian poutineExternal Link Title. For date night, settle into a leather wingback at the WinebarExternal Link Title, a softly lit stone wine cellar at upscale H?tel Quintessence. But will you be able to narrow down your choice from 4,000 vintages? It won't be a problem with a top notch sommelier to guide you.


You'll feel like you're in Europe strolling the twisting cobblestone streets of the pedestrian-only village at the mountain base. There's even a laidback ski-in, ski-out casinoExternal Link Title, if you're feeling lucky and the lower village's original 1930s cottages are especially cute. Browse 35 shops and galleriesExternal Link Title for artwork, apparel, designer accessories, hand-crafted toys, books, ski and snow sport equipment, jewelry, candy, chocolate, gifts, and souvenirs.


Pick up something quirky and comfy -- PJs, socks, boxers -- at Qu?bec-based Hatley. If it's a really special occasion, Joaillerie St-OngeExternal Link Title sells made-in-Canada designer jewelry in retro-modern styles. Indulge in maple taffy twisted hot onto a stick in the cold snow, a Qu?bec winter tradition, at an outdoor hut near the gondola called Cabane ? Sucre de la MontagneExternal Link Title. After all, some 80 percent of the world's maple syrup comes from Qu?bec.


Situated along the Diable River, Finnish-style Scandinave SpaExternal Link Title is a retreat day resort featuring a series of outdoor mountainside cascading falls, heated baths, and cold dips, plus solariums and sauna huts, and inviting relaxation nooks warmed by crackling fireplaces. It's also dedicated to pampering and quiet. Get a massage or just soak in the steaming pools. You can unwind at Le Pimbina Mont-Tremblant InnExternal Link Title, an antique and art-filled B&B with five quiet rooms, a massage parlor, and outdoor Jacuzzi that offers several kinds of R&R packages.


While you're there, be sure to check the events calendarExternal Link Title. There's always something: Sports competitions, demos, festivals, concerts, snow polo. New Year's Eve is particularly spectacular with a torchlight mountain descent, fireworks, and packed outdoor nightclub. If it's a party you're looking for, there's sure to be one nearby.


Photo: Mont-Tremblant Photos via Flickr External Link Titleunder CC BY-ND 2.0

What else is on in Mont-Tremblant? Lots. Find more at the Qué​bec Original website.