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Lanaudière was one of the first land areas to be cleared for cultivation by the early French settlers. From 1637 to 1750, about a dozen seigneuries (lordly estates) were granted along the St. Lawrence River. Little by little, the emphasis shifted from fur trading to agriculture. "The Great Spirit" of the original pine forests still resides beneath the tobacco fields. Local churches, public buildings and numerous ancestral homes bear witness to the different French, English and American architectural styles, the prosperity of the countryside and villages, and the settlers' adaptation to the rigorous climate. Relive the atmosphere of the late 19th century by including a tour of Île-des-Moulins on your itinerary.

Art, theatre and music
While many historical buildings offer a reminder of the region's history, the art of the past reaches out to modern-day sensibilities. Exhibits and concert halls - in Terrebonne, L'Assomption and Joliette - offer a rich and varied program of events year-long, while summer theatre is also popular.

And if there's a region of Québec that can truly be called musical, it's Lanaudière! Traditional music is all round. Following the example of the long-established group La Bottine souriante, amateur groups are springing up everywhere with evocative names such as La Chasse Galerie, La Galvaude, La Vesse du Loup and La volée d'castors.

At any performance of traditional music in Lanaudière, you'll be enchanted by the melodies and rhythms conjured up by the singers, violinists and accordion players. Whether you understand French or not, your feet will find the music irresistible! Other musical and folk dance performances can be enjoyed at the Mémoire et Racines Festival, held at Saint-Charles-Borromée, close to Joliette.

A world-famous festival
Be sure to experience the magnificent open-air amphitheatre of the Festival international de Lanaudière, in Joliette. Each performance given in this sanctuary of nature and culture is a revelation. The Festival also features concerts in churches, large and small, offering visitors the chance to appreciate two cultural forms: beautiful interiors and music! These are just some of the reasons why the Festival international de Lanaudière is the most prestigious traditional music event in North America.

Lanaudière is a patchwork quilt of art and creativity. Historical sites, pilgrimages, museums, art galleries, artisan centres, summer theatre, festivals and symphonic concerts in the open air... it's a cultural feast at every turn!To visit the web site of Tourisme-Lanaudière, click here: