Traveler: Stacy Armstrong
When: June 2017
Where: Quebec City, Canada
Overall Experience: We were really hoping to take a trip to Europe for our babymoon – our last trip as a married couple before becoming a family of three. After some research and discussion, we decided against the long flight over the Atlantic and started considering closer options. Someone told us that Quebec City is often referred to as “the most European city in North America”, so that sounded like a good fit for us, and an easy flight since we live on the East coast of the United States.
Quebec City provides a great combination of old city charm and modern comfort; I highly recommend it for a weekend getaway! One word of caution is that most people truly do not speak English, so brush up on basic French!
Logistics: On the way there we flew through Toronto, total time in the air was about 3.5 hours. On the way back we had a stop in Montreal. As far as hotels, you can either stay in the lower part of town, or on the top of the hill, in the upper part of the Old City. We stayed in the lower part, at the l’Hotel Port-Royal, and I am really happy we did. We found that a lot of the good restaurants were in the lower part, and overall that area was less touristy. The top part of town is easy to get to – you can walk up the hill, walk up a staircase, or take the funicular (about $3 Canadian dollars).
What to see: Right in the center of the lower part of town you can visit one of the oldest churches in North America, the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. There are also two other beautiful cathedrals to visit: Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and Cathedral Basilica of Notre-Dame in the upper part of town.
Right at the top of the hill is the Hotel Frontenac, a gorgeous site. If you are not staying there you can pay for a tour around the hotel, but we opted to just enjoy the views of the St. Lawrence River.
Other than that we did a LOT of walking around; make sure to pack comfortable shoes to navigate the cobble stone streets and the windy hilly paths.
Where to eat: Where do I even start! This ended up being one of my favorite cities for delicious food ever!
Pastries / desserts: If you are craving something sweet or an authentic French pastry check out “Le Croquembouche. They have such a great selection of unique eclairs, cakes and other pastries. We made several trips here to start our morning, and my personal favorite was the caramel éclair.
There is also a cool spot called “Queue de Castor”, which translates to “Beaver tail”. They have all kinds of treats like ice cream and fudge but are known for a dessert that is in the shape of beaver tail. The beaver tail is a piece of hot deep fried dough with your topping of choice; since we were in Canada we went for the Maple syrup flavored beaver tail, and it was very tasty.
French food: The first meal we had when we got to Quebec was at “Cafe St-Malo”. It’s a quaint, presumably family-owned, restaurant that serves great French food. We started with escargot and split an order of mussels and fries. We really enjoyed our food and the time we spent there.
“L’Echaude” was probably my favorite place we dined in Quebec. The professionalism and knowledge of all of the staff we encountered was impressive and the menu was very unique. I went with a gnocchi dish with shrimp, morel mushrooms and lobster sauce, and I wish I could get this again and again!