Abbey Saint Benoit images have been featured in many regional touristic books. This magical historic landmark is a major attraction. Located in the Eastern Townships, the abbey is surrounded by mountains (Owl’s Head) and nearby the lake of Memphremagog. In 1912, Benedictine monks from France founded the monastery on a small farm. The new buildings were inaugurated in 1941. In 1952, St-Benoît became an abbey, and in 1994 the new church was inaugurated. The building’s architecture is very special.
Messes are celebrated daily at 11 a.m with Gregorian chants in the abbey church, which can seat 500 people. A fromagerie (cannot open for public) is located within the premises and the famous St-Benoît cheese is produced by the monks. Apple cider is produced from apples grown in Abbey’s orchards. At the lower ground, there is a very big boutique which offers religious articles, books, cider and cheese.
Address: Abbaye Saint Benoit, 1 rue Principale, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, J0B 2M0, QC
Region: Eastern Townships
Website does not specify but looks like the abbey is open daily
Drive East from Montreal for about 1h30
Picnic tables available next to the abbey
The visit to the abbey was short, we visited inside, read the information about the history of the place and we were lucky to arrive a bit after 11 to attend the singing in the church. We visited the boutique on the lower floor and we had our lunch picnic outside nearby the parking, overviewing the abbey.
We then decided to walk nearby the apple orchards. We could not find any information about the area. We started walking along a dirt road heading towards the lake (Chemin Fisher).
Please note: A. The gardens of the abbey are considered private and unfortunately cannot be visited. B. The walk we did along Chemin Fischer (leading to the lake) leads to private roads. We could not reach the lake from there but the walk is still recommended within the non-restricted parts.
The walk (return) took us about an hour. We reached a monument for the founder of Austin, the village nearby. We continued forward until the private area signs (almost until the lake) and then we headed back to the car.
The day was so sunny and beautiful and we decided to visit a soap factory – Savon des Cantons. The soap factory is using only natural products to produce the soaps. The soaps are vegan and are not tested on animals. During the summer, you can book workshops for soap making.
Address: 1540 Chemin des Peres, Magog, J1X 5R9, QC
About 17 minutes drive north from the Abbey
Across the soap factory, there is another shop, Gourmet Par Nature, which specializes in Sea Buckthorn derived products (marmalade, ice cream). There is a little pond and lots of grass to run around the place. The views are beautiful towards the lake (but you cannot see the water), very peaceful and relaxed.