Quebec City is one of the country’s oldest and most-charming settlements. With its cobblestone streets, French-Canadian cuisine, centuries-old buildings and cosmopolitan atmosphere, there’s something in this provincial capital for all budgets and tastes.
If you’re history hounds: Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has presided over the city for 126 years. It has hosted royalty, Second World War conferences and was the backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1953 film, I Confess. Rooms are outfitted with classic European furnishings and the lobby boasts a 300-year-old Maltese Cross stone.
If you’re romance seekers: Hotel Le Clos Saint-Louis
Hotel Le Clos Saint-Louis Québec is an adult-only retreat in the old city. Located in a Victorian mansion, it has cozy rooms and offers four guest packages dedicated to romance, featuring everything from horse-drawn carriage rides for honeymooners to flower bouquets and four-course dinners.
If you’re food lovers: Le Monastère des Augustines
Le Monastère des Augustines is a working monastery where visitors stay in restored cloister rooms. Guests have the option of purchasing a meal package that includes breakfast (which is eaten in silence), a hearty lunch and a six-course dinner made using local ingredients such as lichen and game meats.
If you’re budget hunters: Hôtel Château Bellevue
With rooms starting at $99, Hôtel Château Bellevue’s location in old Quebec City, just steps from Dufferin Terrace and its breathtaking views, can’t be beat. A continental breakfast is included in the price of a night’s stay at this boutique hotel, and the property boasts exposed brick walls and outdoor hot tubs.
Things to Do
If you’re history hounds: Grand Tour from Tours Voir Quebec
Take the two-hour Grand Tour from Tours Voir Quebec to learn about the city’s rich history and architecture. The walking excursion visits the 17th-century Ursuline Sisters convent, the city’s fortification walls, streets important to Quebec’s military past and Place-Royale, the site of the city’s original 1608 settlement.
If you’re romance seekers: Sibéria Spa
Located just outside Quebec City, Sibéria Spa offers an outdoor Nordic-style thermotherapy circuit. Here, couples can try the steam bath, brave a cold dip in the Yellow River and unwind in a Siberian yurt or in the café that was once an old chapel. Add on a couple’s massage for the ultimate romantic (and relaxing) spa day.
If you’re food lovers: Île d’Orléans
Explore nearby Île d’Orléans, a small island in the St. Lawrence River famed for its agritourism. Along the main road that circles the island are wineries, sugar shacks and farms. Don’t miss La Nougaterie Québec’s gooey nougat or Le Paillasson, a colonial-era cheese served hot, from the island’s eponymous fromagerie.
If you’re budget hunters: Hôtel du Parlement
Visit the 19th-century Hôtel du Parlement, home to the provincial government, for a free guided tour. The 75-minute experience shows off the building’s Second Empire architecture, a style characterized by mansard roofs and grand design flourishes. Visitors can also admire the building’s many works of art.
Places to Eat
If you’re history hounds: Aux Anciens Canadiens
Located in the oldest house in the city, Aux Anciens Canadiens has served traditional Quebecois cuisine since 1966. Diners feast on meat pies, pea soup and bison bourguignon in the house’s original rooms surrounded by stone fireplaces, 300-year-old wainscoting and low, wood-panelled ceilings.
If you’re romance seekers: La Scala
La Scala hosts intimate jazz and piano bar nights paired with fine Italian dishes such as housemade gnocchi, pasta and wood-fired pizza. The René-Lévesque Ouest trattoria also has a monthly opera experience featuring a seven-course meal accompanied by French opera singers, a violinist and two pianists.
If you’re food lovers: Le Continental
Le Continental has been one of Quebec City’s most beloved restaurants since it opened in 1956. Chefs prepare your meal table-side—including the signature peppercorn sirloin flambé, grilled shrimp and delicious dessert crepes—so you can have everything cooked exactly the way you like it.
If you’re budget hunters: Chez Muffy
Enjoy an upscale three-course meal at bargain prices at one of the city’s many table d’hôte (set menu and fixed price) lunches. Chez Muffy’s offers an appetizer, main and dessert for only $20, so diners can mix and match dishes such as poutine, lobsters rolls and berry eclairs.
[This story appears in the November 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]