13 Charming Quebec Villages in the Eastern Townships

Curious to know which Quebec village to visit in the Eastern Townships? The best part of the Eastern Townships in Quebec is Les Coeurs Villageois. Coeurs in French means heart, and these 13 designated villages have that!

They are some of the most beautiful places in Quebec to visit.

I’ve visited this charming area of Quebec four times in the last 2 years and there’s a reason why I keep returning – it’s utterly charming! From the landscape to the food, to the English towns in Quebec – there is just so much to do!

In this article, I will share these wonderfully charming 13 small villages in Quebec along with my recommendations of Eastern Townships things to do.

Is the Eastern Townships Worth Visiting?

dirt road with covered bridge and grass in Quebec eastern townships

The Eastern Townships, or in French Cantons de l’est, is full of farmland, softly rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes and mountains. It’s a nature lovers’ paradise- perfect for outdoor and sports enthusiasts.

Not to mention the wineries and fruit orchards delighting any foodie traveller. Vacation in Quebec Eastern Townships and you’ll find there’s a little something for everyone.

But it’s the small towns and villages that I fell in love with the most. In particular, the 13 designated Les Coeurs Villageois dotted throughout the 9 Regions in the Eastern Townships. 

How Does a Quebec Village Become a Les Coeurs Villageois

red and yellow building in Frelighsburg Eastern Townships Quebec

To earn the special title of Les Coeurs Villageois the Quebec village is deemed to be incredibly welcoming to visitors. And, each one does just that!

Considered to be the most beautiful villages in Quebec, each one offers something a bit different. And, they certainly go out of their way to showcase the best of what they have to offer.

13 Les Coeurs Villageois Quebec Villages

1. Dunham Eastern Townships

red brick building in best towns in eastern townships

Picturesque rural landscapes and wineries surround Dunham.

At the centre of Dunham is a heritage building dating back to 1865. The former coach inn has been restored into an artisan gallery and Dunham’s very own microbrewery. That, plus Dunham’s rich history and incredibly scenic views of the mountains make this a must-visit village. 

  • Facts about Dunham: Population: 3,525 | Settled in 1796 | Located in the Brome-Missisquoi region | Designated as a Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to drink: Dunham microbrewery and the surrounding Eastern Townships wineries along the wine route like Vignoble du Ruisseau, Domaine Côtes d’Ardoise, The Orpailleur, Val Caudalies, and Clos Ste-Croix
  • Where to eat: L’Épicerie-Café Dunham 
  • Eastern Townships things to do:
    • visit the orchard – Domaine de Dunham – and pick your own fruit or stop in on their market shop
    • visit one of the best towns in Eastern Townships, the lively town of Bromont, situated close to Dunham and Frelighsburg Eastern Townships villages

2. Frelighsburg Eastern Townships

general store in eastern townships with front porch with green pillars in quebec village

Nestled at the foot of Mount Pinnacle close to the Vermont border sits the lovely village of Frelighsburg. The roads that lead you there are sprinkled with apple orchards.

But it will be the church steeple peaking out over the trees that leads you to the town’s main hub. Once there, it becomes obvious why it’s considered one of the most beautiful places in Québec.

  • Facts about Frelighsburg: Population 1,100 | Settled in 1790 | Located in Brome-Missisquoi region
  • Where to eat: Café de Village, the once historic general store, is known for its specialty maple syrup pie or Beat & Betterave is part café and part cultural centre featuring local artists’ work
  • Frelighsburg Things to Do Eastern Townships:
    • visit the historic Grammar School built in 1856 now serving as the tourism office
    • shop local at Oneka, which features organic body care products
    • check out the thriving art community. It can be found everywhere – from parks to restaurants to hanging on the side of buildings

3. Brome Lake Eastern Townships

blue building with porch with red chimney in eastern townships of quebec

Brome Lake is the merger of seven hamlets and villages – Bondville, East Ville, Foster, Fulford, Iron Hill, Knowlton and West Brome.

Lac-Brome or Brome Lake is where art and history meet. The town served as the inspiration for crime novelist Louise Penny’s famous village of Three Pines.

With its deep historical roots, you will find many museums, self-guided historical trails and even an antique circuit. It’s also an area full of delicious eateries and gourmet shops, my favourite is Domenica – a little Italian grocery shop.

There’s no mistaking it, Brome Lake deserves its Les Coeurs Villageois status.

  • Facts about Brome Lake: Population: 5,590 | Settled in 1792-1797 | Located in the Brome-Missisquoi region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to eat: Le Relais Bistro, Bistro West Brome, Le Sapin or Quilliams
  • Where to drink: Leon Courville Winery or La Knowlton Co. microbrewery
  • Things to do Eastern Townships: 
    • Head to Douglass Beach or Brome Lake
    • Visit a lavender farm at Joie de Lavande
    • My favourite hamlet to visit is Knowlton, one of the cutest towns in Eastern Townships

4. Sutton Eastern Townships

Sutton is a mountain village, famous for its year-round outdoor activities, especially alpine skiing at Mont Sutton. In Summer, hiking Eastern Townships takes over with many sought-after trails.

At the foot of Mont Sutton, sits a typical alpine village. This Quebec village is full of eateries and shops catering to all the outdoor enthusiasts who flock to this area.

It’s a lively town, full of cyclists and hikers (in summer) and skiers (in winter). Of all the Eastern Township villages we visited, this is the busiest, but also one of the best small towns in Quebec.

  • Facts about Sutton: Population: 4,000 | Settled in 1792 | Located in the Brome-Missisquoi region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to eat: Le Pleasant Hotel & Café, La Galette for their sweet or savoury crepes
  • Where to drink: Auberge Sutton Brouërie, L’Abordage Microbrasserie, Vignoble de la Chapelle Ste-Agnes, Vignoble Domaine Bresee
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships: 
    • The endless trails for cycling, mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing, plus downhill skiing at Mont Sutton 

5. Waterloo Eastern Townships

outdoor art gallery of metal lion in eastern quebec area of townships

Waterloo is known as a cycling Eastern Townships mecca. And, this amazing public art garden.

At the crossroads of three bike trails – Estriade, Campagnarde and Montagnarde, Waterloo is one of the main cycling hubs in the Eastern Townships.

Beyond cycling, the real highlight is Artria Park – an outdoor art gallery. Amongst the French-style gardens are large art sculptures from artists around the globe. With music piped into garden speakers and the backdrop of Lake Waterloo, this makes for a pleasant stroll for a couple of hours.

  • Facts about Waterloo: Population: 4,600 | Settled in 1793 | Located in the Granby region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to drink: Robin – Bière Naturelle
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Heritage trail with 40 historic and architectural buildings
    • Take a day trip to Mégantic, known for some of the best hiking Eastern Townships has to offer
    • Take the Summit Drive which is one of the best Eastern Townships scenic drives reaching a mountain peak 

6. Ayer’s Cliff Eastern Townships

white building with wagon wheel in Quebec village as things to do in eastern townships

Ayer’s Cliff is very scenic with its towering cliff over the beautiful Lake Massawippi.

Ayer’s Cliff was named after Thomas Ayer who introduced the railway in 1799. The focal point of this Quebec village was the stagecoach inn that hosted American travellers passing through.

Still to this day, the village has a constant flow of traffic. As a result, it’s not as quiet and quaint as the other Eastern Townships villages but still does feature many beautiful heritage homes and the Stanstead County Agricultural Fair which is the oldest in Quebec.  

  • Facts about Ayer’s Cliff: Population: 1,130 | Settled in 1815 | Located in the Memphremagog region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois  
    Where to eat: Café Folies, Le Riverain Restaurant at The Ripplecove Inn or Auberge Ayer’s Cliff
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Tomifobia Nature Trail is a 19-km easy bike and footpath along Lake Massawippi
    • Ayer’s Cliff public beach 

7. Eastman Eastern Townships

green wood house with white trim and orange flowers in things to do in the eastern townships

Eastman is where arts & culture converge with natural surroundings. Surrounding Eastman are such pretty views of Mont Orford and the four nearby lakes.

It is also home to Théâtre de La Marjolaine, which introduced French summer theatre to Quebec, as well as, the literary event, Eastman Correspondences.

Most recognize Eastman as the location of the famed author Louise Penny. Eastman is such a peaceful and tranquil place to visit, so it’s not surprising it made it on the Les Coeurs Villageois list. 

  • Facts about Eastman: Population: 2,070 | Settled in 1888 | Located in the Memphremagog region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to eat: Café Bistro Les Trois Graces, Restaurant du Spa Eastman, La Station, or Dora’s Artisanal Bakery
  • Things to do in the Eastern Townships:
    • Hiking and biking on the Heritage trails
    • Tour Louise Penny Eastern Townships
    • Kayaking, fishing and ice fishing in the nearby rivers
    • Shop at Savonnerie des Diligences

8. Austin Eastern Townships

wood building with wood stairs in Eastern townships Quebec village

Austin in Quebec is known for its panoramic views.

Austin is a bit unique in that it does not offer a lot in terms of eateries or cute shops, in fact, it only has one general store.

Instead, it’s the views that make this place worth the visit. At the crossroads of Nicholas Austin and Millington, roads are the departure point for two scenic hiking trails in Eastern Townships – a 4.7-km heritage tour and a 2-km pedestrian walkway leading to Saint-Benoît-du-Lac. 

  • Facts about Austin: Settled in 1793 | Population 1,500 | Located in the Memphremagog region


church with grey brick and green steeple roof in  Quebec village

Saint-Benoît-du-Lac is considered to be one of Quebec’s smallest municipalities and is often considered part of Austin. This entire area is to accommodate the Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey for Benedictine monks.

The Abbey is an impressive structure overlooking the western shore of Lake Memphremagog. It resembles a French chateau with its turrets, green copper roofs, and walls of stone. Sitting on a green hillside that slopes gently down to the water.

Abbey with trees in eastern townships

Mount Owl’s Head, one of the three big mountains in the area, looms majestically in the distance. It’s such a stunning setting and I think, one of the best hidden gems eastern townships has.

A boutique shop at the Abbey is open to the public. It offers products made at the Abbey, mainly cheeses, ciders, jams, and apple butter. Visit during the apple-picking season and you can join the monks in this annual ritual.  

9. North Hatley Eastern Townships

charming shop downtown with flowers in eastern townships quebec

North Hatley is known for being one of the most beautiful towns in Eastern Townships.

This Quebec village oozes charm with a historic village centre. North Hatley sits on the shores of Lake Massawippi with the mountains in the background.

Many of the century-old homes have been turned into lovely inns and B&Bs, as well as, cute shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It’s no wonder this place is considered the vacation destination of all of the Eastern Townships villages.

  • Facts about North Hatley: Settled in 1897 | Population 700 | Located in the Memphremagog region
  • Where to stay (and dine): the Relais & Châteaux property of Manoir Hovey gained international attention when Condé Nast Traveler named it the top place to stay in Canada. Its restaurant, Le Hatley, is also a recommended place to dine for a special dinner
  • Where to eat: Saveurs et Gourmandises
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Stroll the boutique shops
    • Visit Galerie Jeannine Blais which features all types of art worldwide
    • Beach lovers head to Pleasant View Beach
    • Watch out for the North Hatley covered bridge on one of the sideroads outside of town

10. Stanstead Eastern Townships

stone house with garden in Stanstead eastern townships in quebec

Stanstead is the merger of 3 charming villages – Stanstead Plain, Rock Island and Beebe Plain.

This Quebec village is known for its architectural heritage due to the locally quarried Stanstead Grey Granite. This stone can be found in many of the buildings throughout this area, and is often referred to as the “Granite Capital of Canada.”

Another unique part of visiting Stanstead the main street extends to the US border. CANUSA Street is divided down the middle by an international border.

The Haskell Opera House is divided down the middle where the audience sits in the US, while the artists perform on the stage in Canada.

  • Facts about Stanstead: Population: 2,790 | Settled in 1789 | Located in the Memphremagog region
  • Where to eat: Café-bistro at the Auberge Le Sunshine
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Visit the Stone Circle, Colby-Curtis Museum, Ye Olde Blacksmith
    • Check out the art at Le Vieux Forgeron art galleries 

11. Masonville Eastern Townships

round barn in eastern township village

Masonville is made up of hills and views of Lake Memprehmagog.

The main attraction in Masonville is its historic round barn from 1912. There are only a handful of round barns still standing in the Eastern Townships, and this is considered the one to see.

Due to the hilly roads near Masonville, this is a cyclist’s paradise. Many stop in on the village as they make their way either to or from Owl’s Nest – a popular area for skiing and golf. 

  • Facts about Masonville: Population: 1,820 | Settled in 1792 | Located in the Memphremagog region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Visit Owl’s Head for alpine skiing, hiking and golf courses
    • Watch out for the Pont de la Frontière, the covered bridge near Potton. Although not in use anymore, and there is a road built adjacent, it’s still worth a visit

12. Coaticook Eastern Townships

suspension bridge in Coaticook River Valley in the Eastern quebec area

Coaticook is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, especially its vistas.

One of the biggest attractions to Coaticook is Parc de la Gorge. Go here and you can walk across the highest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

It offers amazing views of the gorge below. Contained in the same park is Foresta Lumina, a multimedia nighttime experience along Coaticook’s Canyon. 

  • Facts about Coaticook: Population: 8,900 | Settled in 1820 | Located in the region of Coaticook River Valley | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to eat: Laiterie de Coaticook where for 75 years they have been known for making its delicious ice cream and cheeses
  • Where to drink: Microbrasserie de Coaticook, Microbrasserie Hop Station
  • Things to do in the Eastern Townships:
    • Ride the 15 km of bike trails winding along the river offering many scenic spots to stop

13. Cookshire-Eaton in the Eastern Townships

church with stones in Cookshire-Eaton Eastern townships

Cookshire-Eaton is known as the town of the four bell towers.

Cookshire-Eaton’s main attraction is Parc des Braves where an arrangement of standing stones, the same found in Scotland. The legend is that they were believed to track the passages of the moon.

Try and find the four bell towers, 3 of them are churches and one is in Parc des Braves. Next, take the trail along the lovely Eaton River that leads you to the 1868 John Cook-covered bridge.

  • Facts about Cookshire-Eaton: Population: 5,430 | Settled in 1795 | Located in the Haut-Saint-François region | Designated as Les Coeurs Villageois 
  • Where to eat & drink:  Brasserie 11 Comtes
  • Things to do in Eastern Townships:
    • Visit the Cookshire-Eaton Art Gallery 

FAQ About Eastern Townships Quebec

Where are the Eastern Townships in Quebec?

The Eastern Townships in Quebec are 80 km west of Montreal and 250 km southeast of Quebec City. This area of Quebec shares a border with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in the US.

How far are the Eastern Townships from Ottawa?

The Eastern Townships are roughly 350 km from Ottawa making it about a 3.5-hour drive.

Which of the 13 Les Coeurs Villageois is worth visiting?

All of the 13 Les Coeurs Villageois are worth visiting as they each offer something a bit unique. The most beautiful village in the Eastern Townships is North Hatley.

Are there English speaking towns in Eastern Townships of Quebec?

Yes, English-speaking towns can be found in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Towns such as Sherbrooke, Knowlton and Ayer’s Cliff have English-speaking communities and services.

As a Holidaymaker

I fell in love with the charm of Les Coeurs Villageois. These villages are some of the most beautiful places in Quebec. There is no one best town to stay in Eastern Townships, so choose based on the cottage rental that suits your needs the best.

There’s nothing better than day-tripping to this area and visiting some of the best towns Eastern Townships offer—all with the backdrop of the natural countryside, mountains and lakes. And, the most scenic drive to get from one charming village to the next.