1. Why walk the Circuit de l’Abbaye?
Each person has his or her own reasons to walk the Circuit. Surpassing oneself, self renewal, fitness challenge, discovering Quebec’s countryside… these are but a few of the possible reasons.
2. How does it work?
The Circuit de l’Abbaye is a 149-km long-distance walking loop that starts and ends at the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac. The Circuit is comprised of 8 to 10 stages, with places to stay along the way. You are independent so you set the pace. Upon paying the $60 registration fee, you will receive your Pilgrim’s Kit. You will also find on our website all the tools needed to plan your journey.
3. What do you mean by “independent”?
It means that you are responsible for planning the number of kilometres you’ll be walking every day, for making reservations for your lodgings, for determining the places of interest you’ll want to visit and where you’ll be stopping to replenish your supplies. To assist you, we offer a directory of the businesses you’ll find along the way, but you are entirely free to plan your own way. We do not offer an “all-inclusive” itinerary and we do not plan it for you. Is this what you are seeking? Consult Marcher Autrement (French), which lists all the long-distance walking routes in Quebec; many offer this type of experience.
Click here to access the registration form. The $60 non-refundable registration fee is your contribution to this long-distance walk project. It allows us to secure the long-term success of the Circuit and to pay for some of the costs associated with the different tools offered (website management, printed documents). Once you have registered, you will receive your Pilgrim’s Kit by mail. The kit contains:
- A paper map of the Circuit;
- Your stamp passport – to keep a tangible memory of your experience;
- A parking ticket that allows you to leave your car at the Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey for free;
- A medallion identifying you as a Circuit de l’Abbaye Pilgrim;
- The Memphremagog region official tourist guide * Note that only this document will have an English version*
- A directory of all accommodations on the Circuit, up to date for the current season;
- A sticker proclaiming that you have walked the Circuit de l’Abbaye – to be proudly displayed!
You are responsible for making your own reservations at the lodgings of your choice. Use our interactive map and itinerary examples to assist you. Your registration is valid for one year, leaving you with all the flexibility you need to plan your journey. Lodging costs vary between $40 and $200 per night, depending on the experience you are seeking.
If you wish to register for the current season, please note that registration form will be available around beginning of April.
5. How many days does it take to walk the Circuit?
The Circuit can be walked in different ways, according to your preferences and availability. We provide you with examples of itineraries (French), that is, the entire Circuit in 8 stages, as well as two shorter options.
6. How many walkers can leave on any given day?
The Circuit de l’Abbaye is an independent walking route and, as such, it is flexible. There are no set departure dates, nor limits on the number of walkers. However, we strongly suggest that you reserve your accommodations ahead of time to ensure availability. It is even more important to do so if you are travelling as a group, for lodgings are scarce in certain parts of the Circuit.
7. Can I walk on the Circuit’s roads for one day or less?
Yes. It is possible to walk the Circuit in whole or in part as the route uses public roads.
Unfortunately, no. It is not possible for us to send it by expedited parcel, nor to give it to you in person. We want to make sure you took the necessary time to prepare adequately.
Yes you can, if you have registered, received your Pilgrim’s Kit, planned your journey and reserved accommodations. The time needed for you to get ready is the time required to plan your route and reserve accommodations based on the daily distances that you have set.
The Circuit is open from May 1st until the end of September. Be aware that some seasonal lodgings close in September – another good reason to reserve before setting off.
A very small segment of the Circuit (500 metres) uses forest trails located on private land, where walkers may encounter hunters.
Theoretically, yes. However, we recommend that you walk it in the direction shown on the map, that is, anti-clockwise. Why? Because walked in this direction, the Circuit promotes introspection, moving from hectic to calm. Please note that all Circuit signs are posted in this direction only.
The Circuit is an intermediate-level route. The cumulative daily elevation difference averages 150 meters, and the maximum distance walked in a day is 25 km (average of 18 km per day). The route can be broken down into smaller stages (up to 12) for a more leisurely walk or, if seeking a bigger challenge, into 7 stages of longer days. See our suggested itineraries.
While its name and association with an abbey may lead one to assume that it is a pilgrimage, the name refers to the start and arrival point of the route, the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac. It is one of the emblematic sites of our region. The purpose of the Circuit is to highlight the natural, cultural, architectural, human – and yes, religious – heritage of the eight participating municipalities, but each person will have his or her own reason to walk it: surpassing oneself, self-renewal, introspection, discovering Quebec’s countryside…
Action Memphré-Ouest, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help in the development of the Memphremagog MRC’s west side. For additional information, go to our À propos page (in French).