Me and the hubs decided to take a little getaway to a place that’s been on my bucket list for some time: Quebec City.
This 400 year old fortified town holds the title for the oldest city in Canada, with impressive examples of 16th and 17th century French architecture at every turn. It really does feel like you’re strolling through a beautiful European town, with a distinct Canadian flavour (maple syrup lollipops on ice, anyone?!).
FOOD: Dieting and Quebec City is a recipe for misery. Flaky croissants, artisan breads and maple-sugar-coated-everything is practically futile to resist- so why try?! As a bonafide foodie, I was really excited for the gastronomical adventures that are abound here. Let me tell you- it didn’t disappoint!
The cafe culture in Quebec City is alive and well. Despite temps dipping to a crisp 5 degrees at nighttime, there were plenty of people seated on (heated) patios enjoying a candlelit dinner- whilst bundled up tightly in winter coats, scarfs and toques. We skipped this ritual for the charming bars and cozy restos, like the highly recommended Le Lapin Sauté. The cafeteria-esque plate the meal was served on doesn’t do the dish justice- it was incredible! Moist rabbit pie served with a massive salad and apricot side dish…nom nom nom. Every meal is served with complimentary crostini and olive tapenade, so skip the appetizer and splurge on their decadent desserts. Worth every caloric penny.
WALLED TOWN: Call me ignat, but I wasn’t aware that the entire Upper Town is completely walled in (a defence wall left intact since the 1600s). The wall has strategic entrance points around the City, making entering and exiting a breeze. Old Town is divided in two parts: Upper Town and Lower Town.
Upper Town is home to most of the historic attractions like the Citadelle (worth the admission) Plains Of Abraham (free), the imposing Chateau Frontenac (the most photographed hotel in the world) and plenty of mostly Canadian (Le Chateau, Bedo, Simons, Roots) high street shopping.
Lower Town holds most of the restaurants, cafes and bars, peppered with galleries, museums and a spectacular waterfront. We visited the Musee de la Civilisation (interesting exhibits, striking building and gorgeous courtyard) and the Naval Museum (très boring) but were happy to discover both had free admission. The reason why was totally lost in translation, but coming from Toronto (where a $25 admission fee is nothing to blink at) this was an extremely rare (and much appreciated) discovery. Vive le Quebec libre!
THE VIEWS: Bring on the trite proverbs! The best things in life are free, and strolling around Quebec City is the perfect example of this- the views are spectacular! Climb to the top of the hill at the edge of Lower Town for a sweeping view of the waterfront, or burn some major calories and hike up Grande Allee for an afternoon drink and a stroll though the hilltop Plains of Abraham.
DETAILS: I love capturing the details that make a destination decidedly different from home. Simple, chic…so quintessentially French.
Have you been to Quebec City? What are your standout memories of this historic town? I’d love to know…