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The Laurentians

The Laurentians (Les Laurentides in French) make for an excellent day trip from Montréal, being just an hour's drive from the city. Here you'll find gentle rolling mountains, crystal-blue lakes and meandering rivers bordered by towns and villages too cute for words. A visit to this natural paradise is like putting your feet up after a long day.

Although sometimes criticized for being overcommercialized, Mont-Tremblant offers outstanding skiing, rivaled only by Whistler in the whole of Canada. Speckling the Laurentians are many lower-profile resort villages, whose miniature town centers deliver an air of the Alps, with breezy patios and independent designer-clothing shops.

Expect higher prices and heavy crowds during high season, which includes the summer months and Christmas holidays. Check ahead for opening hours in winter, which are often curtailed severely.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Laurentians.