While in many ways a typical rural Quebec town, it features Mont-Rigaud, a small mountain in the otherwise flat Ottawa River valley. The mountain attracts skiers, hikers, maple syrup and beer enthusiasts and religious tourists. It can make for a pleasant stop for an hour or two on the way between Montreal and Ottawa.
Rigaud is within sight of exit 9 of Quebec Autoroute 40 (Trans-Canada Highway). Turn left after the exit onto St-Jean-Baptiste street and drive about 1 km (0.62 mi) to town centre.
From Montreal, this takes 45-60 minutes except at evening rush hour, when it can take up to 2 hours.
From Ottawa, take Highway 417 east, which becomes Autoroute 40 at the Quebec border. Turn left after the exit onto St-Jean-Baptiste street and drive about 1km to town centre. The trip takes around 90 minutes.
From Montreal, Greyhound buses depart daily at noon and midnight from Montreal's central bus station on Berri Street for Ottawa, which will stop in Rigaud if requested. From Ottawa, there are also two Montreal-bound Greyhound buses that depart at noon and 02:30, which will stop at Rigaud if requested.
A commuter bus runs by CIT La Presqu'Ile runs twice per weekday in the evening to Rigaud, departing from John Abbott College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue in Montreal's West Island, which also connect with Vaudreuil Train Station. It returns from Rigaud early in the morning on weekdays. The bus does not run on weekends.
If you are biking along the Quebec portion of the south side of the Ottawa River, you will pass through Rigaud. If you are coming from Ontario or the Carillon ferry, you will reach it via Chemin de la Baie. If you are coming from the Montreal/Hudson direction, you will reach it along Chemin de l'Anse.
Rigaud no longer has direct train service. There are some buses available to Rigaud that connect from Vaudreuil train station (see the "By bus" section above) for the AMT trains from Montreal to Vaudreuil.
The centre of town is very small, mainly lying along the two streets at the base of Mont-Rigaud. It can be crossed on foot within minutes. However, most of Rigaud's main attractions (ski slopes, maple sugar shacks, hiking trails, restaurants) lie scattered around the mountain. Some of Rigaud's more secluded attractions are on different highway exits than the one that leads to the centre of town. You may need to drive for 10 or 15 minutes between different sites in Rigaud.
- 1 Mont-Rigaud. This mountain is not particularly high, but covered in mixed forest, which means that the autumn leaves turn every colour in October. Bring bug repellant if you are going hiking in the forest, as there are mosquitoes and blackflies, especially in the spring and autumn.
- 2 Sanctuaire de Lourdes, 43 Rue de Lourdes, ☏ . Catholics might light a candle at this outdoor, hundred-year-old shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes built into the mountain, which operates only in the summer. Non-Catholics might enjoy the "potato fields", a strange natural clearing of thousands of small boulders in an otherwise wooded area close to the shrine. The local legend of its origin are that a potato crop was turned to stone beause the farmer worked on Sundays. The old chapel near the summit of the mountain provides a great view of the Ottawa River valley.
- Go "sugaring off": Several "cabanes a sucre" ("sugar shacks" or maple syrup farms) cater to tourists, giving them hay rides, showing them how maple syrup is collected and prepared, serving traditional Quebec meals and playing folk music. This is most popular in March and early April, when the warmer temperatures cause the sap to start flowing through the maple trees after a long winter. The two closest to Rigaud are: Sucrerie la Montagne at 30 Rang St-Georges (from town centre, turn left on Rue St Pierre, which continues as Chemin des Erables, then turn right on Rang St Georges) and Auberge des Gallant, 160 Chemin St-Henri (Take exit 17 off highway 40 onto Autoroute 201 nord, right on Chemin St-Henri).
- Mont-Rigaud is not very high or challenging, but for skiing it may be an alternative to the faraway Laurentian or Appalachian mountains for those living to the west of Montreal. In the summer, and fall, hiking can be quite pleasant. In the spring or late fall, the trails get quite muddy.
There are a few fast food places in the town centre. If you want authentic Quebec poutine (french fries, gravy and cheese), you can't go wrong.
- 1 Restaurant Del Fiacco, 18 Rue St-Jean-Batiste Est, town centre, ☏ . This is a very good, upscale Italian restaurant that would not be out of place in downtown Montreal.
- 2 Restaurant Rube, 147 route 201 (Autouroute 40 Exit 17, route 201 nord), ☏ . A surprisingly pleasant steakhouse, with a warm fireplace dominating the main dining room.
- 3 Auberge des Gallant, 160 Chemin St-Henri (Exit 17 off autoroute 40, then take route 201 nord, right turn at Chemin St-Henri), toll-free: . Pricey but good French cuisine (duck, chicken, veal, steak, buffalo, pork) with Quebec twists.
- 1 Hudson Inn, 90 Route 201 (Exit 17 off Autroute 40), ☏ . Close to Autoroute 40; convenient for Rigaud and Hudson area. $90-100.
- Auberge des Gallant, 160 Chemin St-Henri (Exit 17 off autoroute 40, then take route 201 nord, right turn at Chemin St-Henri), toll-free: . An upscale hotel in the forests of Rigaud, featuring a spa, wedding facilities, and a fancy restaurant.
- 2 Motel Belair, 118 rue St-Jean-Baptiste Est (town centre (Autoroute 40 exit 9)), ☏ . An older place, probably the cheapest option.
- Hudson, a scenic lakeside town with many arts & crafts shops, is a 10-minute drive away (Autoroute 40 exit 22).
- The Carillon ferry can take you across the Ottawa River to the Outaouais and Laurentian Mountain regions of Quebec.
- Voyageur Provincial Park, a forested, riverside park is just across the Ontario border on westbound Autoroute 40 (Highway 417 in Ontario). It is used for camping, hiking, cycling, canoeing, etc.
- Montreal is a 45-60 minute drive eastbound on Autoroute 40.
- Ottawa is a 90-minute drive westbound on Autoroute 40.
|Routes through Rigaud|
|Ottawa ← Limoges ← becomes ←||W E||→ Hudson → Montreal|