Quebec has no shortage of places to slow down (drop) your frenetic race: a night under a transparent dome in the forest, yoga in a yurt, a quiet breakfast in a monastery, total disconnection in a monastery, a holistic spa… Are you ready to relax?

Couvin Val Morin: Yoga in the forest

Last September, Stéphanie Kitembo needed to leave Montreal for a few days to recharge her batteries after a difficult event in her life. Her choice quickly fell on the Val Morin Abbey in the Laurentians, where she enjoyed a four-night stay. “I came back totally rebuilt,” says the yoga therapist. The effects were so positive that she plans to treat herself again in June. »

One person who especially loves teaching yoga to people living with severe disabilities or in prison loved the yoga classes included in the stay: “Classes are held every day by highly qualified teachers in a yurt in the middle of the forest. The classes are included in the price of the stay. The place is also very beautiful: there is a lake, a swimming pool, and you can go hiking or biking.”

Another benefit, according to Stephanie Kitembo, is being able to prepare your own food: “There is a dining room with a large diner table that encourages conversation with other guests if you want to. We also provide tea for our guests. In summer, it’s nice to be able to have a picnic outside…” Frozen meals made by a caterer are also available.

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“It’s a more economical formula than other options, and it’s really nice.” The problem is that those who want to stay at this former convent of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary nuns can only access the rooms from Monday to Friday. And not every week; weekends are reserved for groups and retreats.

Centre de l’Hêtre: Green baths

When Joanna Péter decided to treat herself to a stay at the Centre de l’Etoile six years ago, it was first and foremost its geographical proximity to Quebec City. She was captivated by the centre in Lac-Beauport: “I went there in winter and summer and slept in almost every facility: log cabins, yurts, transparent domes. It’s amazing at night with the stars shining…”

Unusual accommodation is part of Centre de Lettre’s DNA, and there are also teepees, mini-chalets and hemp houses. “Every time, I return there to disconnect in every sense,” says the nursery teacher. “I take long walks. At night, there are illuminated routes, where you can walk in silence. A total spiritual release…”

The Centre de l’Hêtre offers forest meditation, massage therapy, Coachingecopsychology. The center also aims to attract more clients seeking rejuvenation.

But workshops or not, the place allows for very beneficial “nature baths”, says Joanna Petter: “I go to the center quite regularly just to be in nature, experience introspection and find myself. There is a lake where you can canoe, there is a beach… In winter they lend you snowshoes. The accommodation has everything you need to cook your meals. »

Augustinian Monastery: Enveloping Silence

Since it opened in Old Quebec in 2015, the Augustinian Monastery has welcomed many travelers looking to slow down, including Meline Garnier. “I’ve been through the Monastery twice,” says the marketing manager for the financial services company. “The first time was for a yoga retreat in 2023. I needed to disconnect. I felt good immediately. The rooms are comfortable. There’s an enveloping silence in the corridors that gives you space to think. It’s a lovely place… and it’s a great idea to have breakfast in silence. »

She continues: “When I found out the Abbey was offering a new signature retreat in February 2024, I immediately applied. I knew the experience would be timeless.”

In fact, while the Abbey has hosted numerous guest retreats throughout its history, the team has also set up an in-house retreat that, according to Méline Garnier, is “like a Wellness 101 course”, offering participants an experience that combines tradition and wellness. Here, the place and its history are at the heart of the activities on offer.

Méline Garnier enjoyed slipping into the chapel to listen to the nuns singing: “The museum is also very interesting. An interior tour of the building is offered. We can write down our thoughts in a notebook. I will definitely come back, whether for a retreat or just to stay overnight. »

Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey: pastoral appeasement

When Bernard Dagenais needed to find a little quiet, he headed to the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac in the Eastern Townships. “I went there four or five times over two- or three-day stays,” says the high school recreation technician. “I go there for quiet and relaxation. No one talks in the building. The phones are not ringing. It’s a real disconnect. And outside it’s so quiet.”

Besides reading, one of his favorite activities during his stay is attending religious services, especially the 5pm vespers service, where the monks’ Gregorian chants echo through the chapel.

“It’s magical to hear them sing. I have a fairly religious background. In secondary school, pastoral care kept me alive. But even non-believers who don’t attend Mass can find peace in the monastery. You can walk the paths along the orchard. There are places to reflect and gather. There are no TVs in the rooms. The outside world doesn’t exist. It’s definitely a place to refuel.”

The monastery asks guests for a donation (about $80) to cover the cost of lodging and food. “We eat really well,” says Bernard Dagens. Everything is homemade. » Note: Women who want to stay on the site stay in an adjacent building, Villa Sainte-Scholastique. But whether you’re male or female, you have to reserve a room in advance. There’s usually a wait of one to three months.

Spa Eastman: A Comprehensive Approach

Ghislaine Arsenault and her partner Marcel Chassé do not hesitate to drive 10 hours from their home in northern New Brunswick to stay at Spa Eastman as a treat for themselves. “This is the best spa in North America,” says Ghislaine Arsenault. They have a really holistic approach. They take care of your body, mind, spirit and soul. There, we forget about everything. It’s like being on a new planet! You can see that every customer slows down. »

One of the specialties of Spa Eastman, located in the municipality of the same name, is its catering service, which focuses on invigorating cuisine. “Light, tasty and well presented. I don’t feel bloated when I leave the table. I even took the recipe book home with me to extend the experience!”

The couple have visited Spa Eastman three times over the past few years, each time on a retreat: “During our first stay, we were able to explore our newfound interest in meditation,” explains M.myself Arseneault. You can also try hot and cold baths, get massage therapy, and participate in one of the many workshops held daily. » These workshops (yoga classes, conferences, stress relief walks, etc.) are offered free of charge, even to those who are on a one-day retirement plan. Please note: it is no longer possible to visit Eastman Spa solely for heat therapy.