Tremblant in summer is a sensory treasure chest. Crisp mountain air perfumed by freshly baked bread and mighty coffee wafts throughout the colorful pedestrian village-the greens of nature the ideal backdrop for the village’s lipstick-red and powder-blue roofs. This small, contemporary French Canadian resort connects Parc du Mont-Tremblant’s wilderness with a string of quintessentially Quebecois villages that stretches 75 miles south to Montreal.
Because Tremblant is built on an incline, exploring the town’s two cobblestone streets requires strong legs and lungs. After guests tire of meandering the town’s 70 shops, restaurants and galleries, the Cabriolet-a people mover-kindly shuttles them uphill to the slopeside Place St.-Bernard, where visitors and locals congregate on weekends to enjoy the sounds of jamming musicians.
In the early morning, stroll to Vieux-Tremblant, a section in the middle of the village filled with 1940s cottages that were relocated here and turned into restaurants and shops. Sit among the locals at Café Bistro Ryan, the only cottage on its original site, and nibble at a croissant while laying out the day’s plans. The cool morning air makes the hours before noon the perfect time to explore Tremblant’s ski slopes, located within the Parc du Mont-Tremblant. Ride the gondola into the resort’s écoZone, a mountaintop area where you can walk with a naturalist or stroll along a self-interpretation trail to learn more about the region’s ecosystem. For a heartier dose of exercise, pick the Les Sommets trail. It’s set in the pines, but as you ascend three peaks, the views expand to include lakes, rivers and forests deep in the provincial Parc. Another option is the easy 6-mile bike ride on the linear park to the neighboring village of St.-Jovite. This jaunt takes you through forests and past golfers praying for par on Grey Rocks’ new La Bête course.
When your appetite hits high gear, grab a patio table at Antipasto and melt into the street scene. After lunch, bike back to Tremblant to laze on the beach or go sailing. Or, you could play nine on Le Géant. The names hint at each of the area’s four courses’ personalities. Tremblant owns the award-winning Le Géant and Le Diable. Nearby Grey Rock Resort owns La Belle, a “beautiful” course, and La Bête, which is truly a “beast.”
While sipping wine and watching raclette cheese melt on your jambon de Parme at La Savoie, practice your French and ask a local what he’d do while there on vacation. Don’t set your sights too high, however, because what you ultimately do depends upon how late you party. With typical French Canadian joie de vivre, things rip in the bars until 3 am.
So, as the locals advise: “Allez-y! C’est cool!” But be sure to rest before you holiday here. Even though your stay might last only five days, if you try to partake in all Tremblant offers, it will feel as if you spent a fortnight.