I spend my summers on the Richelieu River. I was quite happy to learn that a new circuit was opened a few weeks ago: the Richelieu Route. This 265-km (165-mi.) tourist route, which groups nearly forty attractions and has a heritage touch, can be explored from both shores of the river. Personally, I explore it from the river itself, but the new circuit can also be enjoyed using various means of transportation: motorcycle, car or bike.
Heading For History!
Before diving in and discovering its treasures, I didn’t imagine the history around the Richelieu River in Montérégie being so fascinating. A waterway for trade and Amerindian migration, it was also the site for major military exploits that played a major role in the development of Quebec, as well as in that of America. This is why the new Richelieu Route was inaugurated on July 5, the first official cross-border tourism route between Quebec and the state of New York.
By following the blue signs located on both shores of the river, you can take in the bucolic landscapes of the Montérégie region and stop at different historic and heritage sites, as well as a few archaeological dig sites.
My Favourite Nautical Stops Along the Richelieu Route
Fort Chambly National Historic Site
In addition to its historical treasures, I truly love the magnificent landscapes found along the Richelieu Route. And since I explore the route from my boat, I get to enjoy it from a different angle. If the urge takes you to come share the waters of the Richelieu River with all the other boaters, here are a few places where it’s worth dropping anchor.
- The Chambly Fort is a classic among must-see historic attractions, but you can also opt for Chambly’s walking tour with an audio guide that presents over thirty historic facts. You can dock your boat at two easily accessible marinas.
- A lovely pier welcomes small recreational boats in Beloeil for free and you can discover small heritage homes, a magnificent church and cemetery in Old Beloeil. You can also enjoy a magnificent point of view of the imposing Mount Saint-Hilaire.
- I have a soft spot for the villages of Saint-Marc and Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu. The first for its charming church and ancestral homes; the second for its old presbytery converted into a cultural centre and its general store.