Village étape

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A Village étape (France) or a Village rélais (Québec) is a small town, typically under five thousand people, designated to provide a complete set of services for national or provincial highway travellers. While most do provide natural or cultural landmarks, activities or attractions in some form, the core requirements address quality or hours of operation for amenities such as restaurants, grocers, lodging and tourist information.

Village étape[edit]

In France, a village étape[1] is a village standing or just off a motorway or national dual-carriageway that has been accepted by the "Village étape" Association as meeting the following criteria:

  • Population under 5000
  • A range of "basic" shops (butcher, baker, newsagent, grocer)
  • A range of varied eating places
  • A classified hotel
  • A Tourist Information Point or Centre
  • A shaded parking area
  • A telephone
  • A picnic area
  • Public toilets
  • A Cash machine

The shopkeepers, hoteliers or restaurant keepers involved in the Village étape movement have all have to sign the Villages étapes quality charter.

They can be easily identifiable by the "Philémon the hedgehog" sticker displayed in their windows.

Village rélais[edit]

The corresponding status in Québec is village rélais. Québec's programme is based on the original French "village étape"; its criteria, as defined by the provincial transport ministry (MTQ), are similar but not identical.[2]

A village-rélais may appear en route along any numbered Québec highway (not just a limited access "autoroute") but must offer at least the following:

  • Restaurant
  • Fuel, auto repair and towing
  • Lodging
  • Grocer, cash machine, toilets, public telephone
  • Parking
  • RV dump station, tourist info and wi-fi[3]

Minimum hours of operation for each service are specified for each of high season and off-season travel.

Current villages-étapes[edit]


Current villages-rélais[edit]

Aug 2014: