You may know the quaint Village Québécois d'Antan as the must-go road trip destination for all things terrifying during the weeks before Halloween with its Village Hanté. But, during the winter months, this historic tourist site transforms into a magical Christmas village decorated with over 25,000 lights.
Only an hour's drive from Montreal, Le Village Illuminé Desjardins lets you experience what the Christmas customs were like during the 1800s and 1900s with over 45 indoor and outdoor activities.
Two dozen period buildings are lit up with lights. At the local Christmas market, artisans sell everything from leather goods and jewelry to sweets, wines, and candies. And let's not forget the bakery! There, you'll find every variety of freshly made loaves of bread and cakes that will surely be eaten before your trip back home.
You can also meet and take pictures with elves who will be roaming the village playing tricks on guests between their shifts in Santa's workshop. Or, you can check out the outdoor Christmas Fairy Square for games, including a serious snowball fight.
When you need to warm up, you can make your way to the outdoor fireplaces to enjoy a hot chocolate. If this isn't enough, you can wander into one of the villager houses to see a reenactment of a typical Christmas Eve from our ancestors.
If the weather permits you can take a tour through town on a horse-drawn carriage, or feel like a kid again by playing hockey in the streets or even take a ride down the giant outdoor slide.
If all of that still isn't enough to get you in the Christmas spirit, you can visit the local fur trader to be regaled with Christmas stories or check out some of the performing choirs and dance troupes.
Can a trip to a holiday village be complete without a visit to Santa? Of course not. So, make sure to pass through the enchanted path and fairy tunnel to see Santa and his elves hard at work. If you're on the nice list, you may even receive a small gift.
Costs to visit the village haven't been announced for this year yet. But, you can make a night of it with the traditional meal package, which allows visitors access to the site along with a festive dinner. The meal focuses on traditional home-cooked dishes that your grandma would make, like pea soup, turkey with stuffing, meatball stew, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.
If you can't make it before Christmas, you can always celebrate New Year's Eve at the village with dinner, dancing, and music. But space is limited, so you may want to reserve your spot soon.
Le Village Illuminé Desjardins du Village Québécois d'Antan
When: Select days through December
December 6-7 December 13-14 December 20 to January 2 From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 1425 rue Montplaisir, Drummondville, Quebec