Armand Gamache’s Winter World

Updated on Nov 21, 2023

Winter is the time of year when the author Louise Penny is totally immersed in her writing, and it’s perhaps no coincidence that Armand Gamache’s investigations often unfold during the cold season. Here are three key places to visit this winter that are inspired by the world of the famous investigator.

By Marie-Claude Masse

©Audrey-Lyne Ferlatte

Manoir Hovey

Did you know that in A Rule Against Murder, the sumptuous Manoir Bellechasse was inspired by Manoir Hovey? If you’re not able to treat yourself to the inn’s luxurious Bellechasse Suite (a nice little reference!), you could discover the Winter—Preserve menu, one of seven seasonal flavour profiles created by the amazing and talented chef Alexandre Vachon. Homemade apple cider vinegar, in house dried products such as mushrooms, seaweed, sea lettuce, as well as root vegetables, winter squash and carrots from the chef’s cellar will brighten your plate!

Douglass Beach

If you can’t enjoy a curling match on a frozen lake like the residents of Three Pines do in A Fatal Grace (perhaps not a bad idea, considering that the investigation revolves around a spectator who’s mysteriously electrocuted in the middle of the lake), why not head to Knowlton’s Douglass Beach to skate on the town’s delightful ice ring? You’ll discover an enchanting site, a superb view . . . and peace of mind, unlike Louise Penny’s characters who experience a true nightmare here!

©Mathieu Dupuis

The Abbaye Saint-Benoît

Do you know what the expression “The Beautiful Mystery,” the title of the 2012 instalment of the Armand Gamache investigation series refers to? Here’s the answer: the powerful effect of the Gregorian chants performed at the Saint-Gilbert-entre-les-Loups monastery. Most readers know that it was the majestic Saint-Benoît-du-Lac Abbey that inspired Louise Penny to write this novel! Would you like to test this beautiful mystery? Visit the abbey’s website where you’ll find the celebration schedule, preferably on a quiet snowy day, just to add a little more magic!

©Mathieu Dupuis

Knowlton (Lac-Brome)

To create Three Pines, the famous fictional village so typical of the Eastern Townships, and where Inspector Gamache carries out his investigations, Louise Penny was greatly inspired by the town of Knowlton. Located in the Townships, some thirty minutes from the American border, this village is considered as being one of Québec’s most beautiful. Several settings in her novels How the Lights Gets In and Still Life were inspired by Knowlton. For example, Myrna’s bookshop mirrors the real-life Brome Lake Books, the perfect place to immerse yourself in the world of Armand Gamache!

Three Pines Tours, which has you discover the villages and landscapes of the Eastern Townships that inspired Louise Penny, will resume its activities in May. In the meantime, if you miss the world of Armand Gamache, we invite you to watch the very first season of the series Three Pines, filmed in Saint-Armand and available on Amazon Prime Video.

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