Sometimes it is nice to get out of the big cities. Smaller towns and villages usually have more charm and tell you a lot more about the country that you are visiting. During our first trip to Canada, we didn’t get too far outside of Montréal. The places we did eventually visit during our third day in the city were more suburbia than independent towns. At least they did not have the big city vibe and it felt like we had left Montréal far behind us. Our day trip from Montréal took us first to Boucherville before continuing with a walk to neighboring Varennes.
A Day Trip from Montréal
When looking at the map of Montréal there are not many directions to go if you don’t have a car. One metro line crosses the river and it is possibly the fastest way to leave the island of Montréal. The metro takes you to Longueuil and it was from here that we took a local bus to Boucherville. The original plan was to go to Boucherville and then back, but as always the original plan changed along the way.
The bus to Boucherville only takes a few minutes. Well, that is if you understand where to get off. We missed the local bus station and went on a small bus tour around Boucherville before the bus once more stoped at the bus station on its way back to Longueuil. At least we now know where IKEA is located.
Boucherville and a Walk Along the Saint Lawrence River
Boucherville is a quite small town (it feels more like its own town than a suburb). As it’s right on the shore of the Saint Lawrence River it has nature close by. Upon arriving we first checked the quay in regards to boats crossing to Charron Island. The boats were far in between and we would have to wait quite a long time if we also wanted to have time for lunch before leaving. This resulted in that we instead opted for lunch at the local pizzeria before taking a walk along the river shore.
Slightly younger than Montréal. Boucherville still has quite a bit of history and there is a lot of information about its founder Pierre Boucher as well as its first residents.
That is how it comes that we eventually walked out of Boucherville heading north along the bike path. We hadn’t really decided how far to walk or what to expect along the road. As it turned out, the walk did not disappoint. The exclusive mansions along the river in Boucherville were soon replaced by fields. We did get out in the countryside after all.
Wine Tasting at Domaine du Fleuve
About halfway between Boucherville and Varennes is the winery Domaine du Fleuve. We noticed it on Google Maps and thought that it could be a possible stop along the route. When walking by the estate it seemed closed. A rope had been tied across the driveway and little seemed to be happening. We felt for a stop to rest our feet so we gave them a call. It was really, welcome to Canada. We were told that it was just to come up to the main building, as the owner had a few minutes to spare for a small wine tasting.
The cost of the small wine tasting was 5 CAD per person and included three different wines. In our case, we tried three white wines and we were also lucky to get to try an additional rosé. As we arrived unannounced we had to accept what they had available at the time, but we were more than happy with that.
The estate is located in a lovely but simple surrounding. Some larger renovations seemed to be going on, maybe that was the reason for not being open? Sitting outside with a glass of wine was more than enjoyable and we were in no hurry to get going again. Before arriving in Montréal we had been looking at the option of going on a wine tasting tour. Considering the cost of the tour, this tasting felt like an even better surprising option. And it was nice to know that we got there all by ourselves.
Continuing to Varennes
After our wine tasting experience, we decided to continue to Varennes instead of turning around to Boucherville. So we were back among the fields for a while before entering the first residential areas of Varennes. After a stop at the local grocery store, we continued towards the center. Once more this suburb was quite wide-spread and it took quite some time to walk from one side to the other. The St Anne of Varennes Basilica led us towards what we believed to be the more central parts. We were once more next to the St Lawrence River.
So we had reached our post-walk goal to reach Varennes. It is perfect when you can set to goal as you go. Now one question remained. How to get back to Montréal? We noticed that the bus operator was different in Varennes than in Longueuil and Boucherville. In other words, the return ticket we bought in Longueuil was not valid. Asking around we were told to look for several places that should sell tickets, but we never found one. In total, we had 13 CAD left in our pocket. We were a bit unsure if it would be possible to pay on board and if our change would cover the ticket price. When the departure time of the bus was getting closer we decided to try. It was more than an hour to the next one, which would also be the last bus of the day. Fortunately, it was possible to pay onboard and the cost turned out to be 12 CAD, leaving us with a dollar to spare. We were on our way back after a day’s adventure.
We will continue our trip, read more about our adventure in North America here >>