Exploring a new destination for the first time is just as exciting for adults as for kids, and this was the case as we set off for Glasgow Airport to fly to Montreal on the new Air Transat direct flight. With my husband and our three kids aging 14, (almost) 12 and 9, we had never been in French Canada before.
Kathryn Munro, Managing Director at Canadian Affair
Day 1 – Flight, car hire and arrival in Saint-Sauveur
Check in and boarding was a breeze as we only had 3 bags, compared to our 10 bags when travelling for ski holidays in winter! We checked in online and so with just a quick passport check and printing of our boarding cards we headed off to security, which at 9am we sailed through without a bleep!
The flight was very smooth, and with just over 6 hours we managed two films and a couple of episodes of the US hit show Suits before we landed in Montreal. The crew were excellent, food was good for airline food (loads of choices) and the kids happily munched through many bags of mini Oreos!
It’s not usually my luck but as we sat beside the aircraft doors we were first off the plane and first in the customs queue. We made it through thinking we’d have a wait for our bags, but not today… The bags were already enjoying a ride on the carousel, ready to lift off and depart the airport.
Everyone spoke English as well as their native French, so we didn’t have to worry about our lack of French, but the kids did enjoy saying “Bonjour” to everyone they met.
We’d booked an Avis minivan and after a short walk through the car park, we collected our Ford Flex car… Wow! It was amazing. Shiny in pearlescent white with a black roof, the kids squealed with delight and were quickly playing with their personal sun roofs and plugging in USB leads to play their music and games!
The car came with built in navigation so we entered Saint-Sauveur into the destination and in a few seconds we were off on the highway with just a 55 minute scenic drive. This was a perfect distance after our flight and we arrived feeling energised and ready to enjoy a full afternoon exploring.
On arrival we checked into our condo, unpacked and headed out to the town to see the sights. We quickly discovered that Saint-Sauveur is a buzzing town surrounded by hills for winter sports and hiking and walking in summer. Along with being very green and lush there is a pretty heart to the village with a wide choice of bars, restaurants from all over the world, art galleries, artisan shops and craft shops.
Just to the side of the town was a wide selection of outlet stores with lots of brands like Nike, Levis and Sports Experts. And of course, it wouldn’t be Canada with a Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, Dairy Queen and McDonalds plus many more. The kids were already very happy!
Day 2 – Saint-Sauveur
My husband and son then set off to hire mountain bikes while we enjoyed a leisurely morning in the hot tub and sun deck.
In the afternoon we went in search of a lake for swimming in and perhaps rent a paddle board or a canoe. There was no shortage of options within anything from a 5 minute to a 20 minute drive.
As the sun got cooler the boys went off mountain biking in the nearby MSS Bike Park.
Day 3 – Mont Saint-Sauveur Parc Aquatique
It was going to be a scorcher so we decided early that it would be a day in the water park, Mont Saint-Sauveur Parc Aquatique. Set into the hillside there were over 20 slides to keep us busy. Once you pay into the park, all rides are free and with outdoor pools, lazy rivers, adrenaline rush rides like the Colorado River (never again) we didn’t leave until the park closed at 7pm!
Lots of choices for little kids and big kids – most rides are geared for kids of 1m, 120cms or the most extreme 140cms. But there is a little tots section for slides and water pools for tots under 1m.
We had a lot of fun. Locals who knew the drill brought picnic boxes with drinks, food and snacks, but the prices for the cafés were pretty good and quality food too. The park is where you ski in winter, so some of the rides use the chair lift facilities which is pretty cool.
Day 4 – Day trip to Tremblant
Just 40 minutes away lies Quebec’s largest ski resort, Tremblant, and in summer it is a bustling activity resort. From sailing to windsurfing, jet skiing to boat cruises, you can spend your days at Lac Tremblant enjoying miles of waterways. Nearby is Mont Tremblant Village which is just 10 minutes’ drive away and is a busy town with shops galore, but the summer action is at the resort.
Athletes can enjoy the mountain roads for road cycling, running and – not for the faint hearted – there are Iron Man training camps! Golf enthusiasts have a choice od courses which looked very challenging.
Tremblant village itself is delightful: pedestrian streets, tons of great shops and cafés and so many things to do. There is a full summer schedule of festivities and activities for all the family. Outdoor music and theatre every day and night-time concerts a-plenty.
We enjoyed some family rivalry with some laps on the giant luge (a track on the slope on which you steer a luge on wheels down at high speed… huge fun!) We also played mini golf and the kids spent some time on the acrobatic trampolines. Our visit was completed with some time by Lac Tremblant swimming in the lake and having a session on the Iceberg… A giant inflatable iceberg in the lake which you swim around and climb up and then jump off…and repeat! Endless fun.
You can buy a lift pass and take the gondola up to the peak to hike around the many trails too… or you can also hike up too!
We enjoyed local dining and devoured delicious ice cream at the ice cream parlour (“oh la vache!” = “oh the cow!”) and enjoyed cold drinks by the lake, watching all the water sports.
There is a lovely atmosphere in Tremblant; it’s family friendly, very active and with lots of choice of shops and things to do, it’s easy to make this a full holiday destination in summer. There is a wide choice of condos and hotels to stay in, right in the heart of the village.
We didn’t get time to do all the thing we wanted so we will definitely return!
Day 5 – MSS Bike Park
More mountain biking today in the bike park and other local trails. There are lots of cycling trails which involve downhill biking, plus there are miles of old railway tracks which have been converted into cycle paths and are flat and easy to cycle on – super for all abilities.
It’s very easy to rent good bikes in this town. They are well geared up for adults and kids, with helmet hire, body padding and a bike to suit every ability.
We spent another afternoon in the waterpark… One full day just wasn’t enough! I enjoyed lying in the sun and reading though, happily letting the kids roam the park as they knew where everything was. It was a very safe park and wasn’t so big that they could get lost. There were lots of staff who were helpful and friendly and all spoke great English.
Day 6 – A final relax
Our last full day and we took it a little easier today, having explored the local area and ticked off many things this week. The kids wanted a day to chill out.
We enjoyed the local facilities and lazed by the hot tubs. A little bit of shopping in the outlet stores topped off by delicious pizza from a local Italian restaurant.
Day 7 – Old Montreal and home
Time to pack and depart.
We departed Saint-Sauveur for Montreal at 11am and arrived in Old Montreal at mid-day. We enjoyed 5 hours exploring Old Montreal. It is so scenic and beautiful, even the kids were impressed.
Thanks to Pokémon Go we walked miles and miles as the kids explored and collected Pokéstops!
There is so much to do in Old Montreal with the new zip wire, Viking ship adventure playpark, peddle boat hire and so much more to keep kids busy. With more time we’d have visited La Ronde, an amusement park on Montreal Island, Ile Saint-Helene… It’s another thing to come back for!
Plan your own Quebec adventure
We hope Kathryn’s trip will inspire you to plan your own Quebec family adventure! Here is what she booked to give you some ideas. Just give our expert travel advisors a ring for help planning or to book your own dream trip.
Day 1 – Fly to Montreal, collect car hire and drive to Saint-Sauveur
Day 2 – Saint-Sauveur- Hire bikes, enjoy local area
Day 3 – Waterpark in Saint-Sauveur
Day 4 – Scenic drive to Tremblant and full day at resort
Day 5 – More cycling at Saint-Sauveur and waterpark action
Day 6 – Day to relax and enjoy Saint-Sauveur
Day 7 – Depart Saint-Sauveur and explore Montreal. Flight back to UK.
Car hire – Avis Ford Flex Minivan
It’s more like a 7 seat jeep than a minivan, as it doesn’t have the minivan seat configuration. It does have 2-3-2 seats with the 2 seats in the boot folding flat. If you had 7 people in it, there would be a small boot space in rear. Without the back seats up there is a huge boot- enough to fit 3 bikes in! It was lovely to drive and very sporty looking.
Places to stay
I recommend the Manoir Saint-Sauveur
Bike hire and water park passes