Quebec City is a bustling metropolis that continues to enchant, seamlessly blending the old with the new, amid the splendid architecture of a timeless walled city. Considered the cradle of French civilization in North America, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its excellent cuisine, exquisite art and pop-up street performances. It’s also one of the most walkable cities in the world. Founded more than 400 years ago by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City continues to hold fast to its French history, culture, and language. With all the sophistication and charm of a small European town, Quebec City is the closest you’ll get to Europe, without crossing the big pond.
Hotel Frontenac celebrates its 125th anniversary
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is the pièce de résistance in Quebec City, towering over Lower Town like an indestructible fortress. As a guest of this magnificent hotel, you’ll never get lost. Just look up and you’ll find your way back.
I was lucky enough to spend three glorious nights at this luxury landmark, overwhelmed by the elegant surroundings, ideal location and outstanding restaurants, all overlooking the river. The hotel has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation, repositioning itself as one of the world’s leading hotels. With more than 600 guestrooms and suites, you’ll feel its sophisticated touch of historic Europe. Enjoy the hotel’s famous bar, Le Sam Bistro évolutif with creative cocktails, delicious appetizer boards and artisanal charcuterie to share and seafood menu. fairmont quebec website
Quebec City likes to party hearty and you’ll feel the contagious “joie de vivre” at art festivals, gastronomy and music celebrations all year long. The summer Festival d’été de Québec showcases popular concerts during the 10-day event throughout the city. Come winter, they celebrate the season with Winter Carnival, highlighted by the famous ice hotel, newly constructed each year. For 2019, Winter Carnival runs from February 8 – 17 featuring ice canoe races, night parades, snow sculptures and Bonhomme’s Ice Palace. Make your plans now to attend! carnaval website
Dine farm-to-table at Chez Muffy
Named after the matriarch of Quebec’s stylish Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel, Martha “Muffy” Bate Price, the restaurant showcases a French-Canadian farmhouse-inspired restaurant with local produce grown at the hotel’s organic farm on nearby Ile d’Orléans. But the proof is in the superb dining experience that awaits you, starting at the historic maritime warehouse that dates back to 1822 with original stone walls and wooden beams. Executive Chef Julien Ouellet, uses a “slow cooking” technique for meat, fish and seasonal vegetables along with a wide selection of wine to pair with any dish. The lamb loin was outstanding; tender and succulent, surrounded by vegetables from the garden. Indulge in the smooth, rich chocolate soufflé for dessert. saint-antoine.com/chez-muffy website
Discover agri-tourism on Île d’Orléans
Considered the vegetable garden of Quebec City as well as an easy getaway for the locals, Île d’Orléans is a delightful place to explore. Start at the kitschy Confiturerie Tigidou Jam Factory, the world’s only jam bar, helmed by the world’s only jam-tender, Vincent. Sample the harvest of his fruit-filled berries, made into delectable jams. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to take home. Next, stop at the gardens of La Seigneurie de l’Île d’Orléans and smell the fragrant lavender. Walk through the lovely gardens and be sure to check out the shop’s organic skin-care products. Continue along your journey and discover the joys of everything black currant, made from black currant grapes at Cassis Monna & Filles. Try their delicious wines, jams, pastries and gelato. Stay overnight on the island at a B&B or inn.
Looking for adventure?
Head to Montmorency Falls, a few minutes from downtown Quebec for this impressive natural wonder. Take the aerial tram to the top for exquisite views of the falls, zip line, bike ride, dine at the Manoir Montmorency or walk across the suspension bridge. Sepaq,chutemontmorency website
Or, head to the skies for an overview of the city via a helicopter. We took off at the Complexe Capitale Hélicoptère for a thrilling 30-minute GoHelico ride over the city and river. Oh look, there’s our hotel! complexecapitalehelicoptere tours website
Dine inside or out at LeGraffiti
One of the most popular restaurants in the heart of Quebec City is Le Graffiti, recognized for its unique pairings of French and Italian cuisine. Start with the fondu parmesan and goat cheese, then I recommend the fresh Quebec halibut or risotto graffiti. The crowning touch for dessert is the maple crème brulee. restaurantgraffiti website
Keep Cool in the Pool
At the La Cour Arriere du Festibiere right on the riverfront, you can grab a brewski and cool off in your chair in the pool!
Coming soon…Club Med
The first Club Med mountain resort in North America will open in the Charlevoix region in 2020, offering all-inclusive ski vacations as well as year-round recreational activities. cclubmed,quebec-charlevoix website
Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway or a longer adventure, Quebec City will bring you more than you ever imagined. quebecregion website