To the southeast of Montréal stretches a vast, bucolic and hilly territory that's home to many vineyards, orchards and maple groves. Bordered by the St. Lawrence and bisected by the Richelieu, the Montérégie is an invitation to indulge in relaxation and gourmet discoveries. In the spring, the rising sap puts the local sugar shacks into full swing. Come fall, the humble apple in its many varieties reigns supreme, and city dwellers flock to U-pick farms in search of fresh air and a sense of freedom. Two itineraries, the Countryman's Tour and the Cider Route shine the spotlight on local products, as do the region's renowned restaurants. Head off by bike to explore the Montérégie's impressive 600 km (373 mi.) network of cycle paths that link up to the Route Verte (green route). And to enhance your escape further still, there's always golf, hiking, cross-country skiing and any number of delightful B&Bs.