A travel journal
to Quebec City by bmayhew
Quote: Winter wonderland where culture is capital, history abounds, and adventure is just around the corner.
Vieux (Old) Quebec and the Quartier Petit-Champlain are intoxicatingly romantic. The Old City is the only urban area in North America to be included on UNESCO'S prestigious list of World Heritage sites. Located at the intersection of Rue Petit-Champlain and Rue Sous-le-Fort, the funicular railway will take you between the Old City and the magically restored area of the Quartier Petit-Champlain. The Quartier Petit-Champlain resembles a quaint village much more than a bustling city, with the winding streets lined with small artisan shops perfect for finding unique treasures. Street performers abound and their shows are usually worth stopping to enjoy.
If you are interested in antiques (French Canadian furniture is extremely beautiful, well-made and collectable), Rue Saint-Paul and the Old Port area near the confluence of the Saint-Charles and the Saint Lawrence River offer an excellent selection of shops as well as a chance to explore Quebec's maritime history. Rue Tresor is another street worth exploring. Local artists exhibit their creations and some real gems can be found if you take the time to look. Rue Tresor is rather narrow and extremely popular with both locals and tourists so don't expect to breeze through unencumbered.
Quebec is a city of romance, and a horse-drawn carriage tour of the Plains of Abraham is an excellent way to tour this most important and historic site. This area was the site where the British and French clashed many times for supremacy leading up the 1759 British conquest of the French, forever altering the history of North America.
While Quebec is a city for lovers, there is fun to be had for the whole family, especially in the wintertime. Dufferin Terrace, located right in front of the Chateau Frontenac, is transformed into a winter wonderland. A skating rink travels the edge of the terrace and a wooden toboggan run (a most Canadian activity) is a great laugh. All along the terrace are small cafes where you can escape from the cold and warm up with a delicious beaver tail pastry and mug of hot chocolate.
As it can become unbearably freezing, it's best to plan for short time intervals of exploring outside punctuated with indoor activities. If you are not particularly interested in braving the winter temperatures, Quebec is still incredible, if not crowded, in the milder weather.
If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, plan at least one day of getting out of the city and heading for one of the four mountains that are easily accessible from the downtown area. Le Massif and Mont-St.-Anne are world-class venues with some of the best vertical drops east of the Rockies!
If walking doesn't suit you, taxis are plentiful, generally honest (although not necessarily English-speaking), and reasonably priced. They are the best option if you've been out at one of the city’s many great bars until the wee hours.
Hotel | "Chateau Frontenac"
The hotel offers all the amenities you could ever hope for including indoor pool, health club, three restaurants, underground parking, and an ice-skating rink.
The hotel retains its turn-of-the-century charm, with a distinct French-Canadian twist. The tasteful decor and the exceptional service provided by all the employees ensures guests of a very pleasant stay. Part of the charm of the rooms themselves is the intimate feeling offered by the smaller size.
The main lobby bar is an excellent place to relax in the evening after a day of sightseeing or skiing at the nearby hills. The bar is very classy, yet casual attire is fine. The view of the St. Lawrence is breathtaking from the large bay windows.
Although the hotel has 618 rooms, it is very popular and early reservations are recommended for busy tourist seasons. The Chateau is the finest hotel in enchanting Vieux Quebec!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 2, 2004
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
1 RUE DES CARRIERES
Quebec City, Quebec G1R4P5
The menu offers many Quebec specialties, including caribou and Lac St. Jean meat pie, as well as other fine choices such as lobster. All meals are available as either a complete dinner including entree, soup, mail meal, dessert, and coffee or tea, or a la carte. Prices for the complete meal are according to the main meal selected. Vegetarian options are available, but the selection is limited. An extensive wine list is available to accompany the meals.
The lunch menu is a good option for those who are more budget-conscious but still wish to dine in this fine restaurant.
Aux Anciens Canadiens is well known and reservations are quite necessary during the busy tourist seasons.
Aux Anciens Canadiens
34 Rue Saint Louis
Quebec City, Quebec G1R 4P3
Attraction | "Mont-Sainte-Anne"
The resort hosts a number of World Cup events and is renowned for its expert terrain, although it offers opportunities for all level of skier and snowboarder. The onsite instruction is very good and lessons can be taken either privately or in groups seven days a week. Reservations for lessons are recommended and can be arranged in the rental hut.
The scenery on the mountain is breathtaking, with the St. Lawrence visible to the south and the Laurentian mountains extending to the north. The 63 trails offer 68 km of skiing with a vertical drop of 625 metres, including the highest nighttime skiing drop in Canada. There are 17 lighted trails are available for night skiing. A free guiding service is offered daily from the summit.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 5, 2004
2000 Beau Pré Blvd
Quebec City, Quebec G0A 1E0
Attraction | "National Battlefields Park (Plains of Abraham)"
The park offers 108 hectares of meadow and grassy knolls, along with a wide array of activities and exhibits to explore its historical past. It was here that the reversal of fortunes of the French and English occurred, when in 1759 General Wolfe's English forces defeated the French, under General Montcalm, in a battle on the Plains. The cultural significance is undeniably poignant as tensions between English and French Canada are still alive and well to this day.
Many exhibits exploring the history of the region are available within the park, and one of the best is the Canada Odyssey, located in the Discovery Pavilion, 835 Wilfred-Laurier Avenue. The multimedia exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to learn how the Plains of Abraham have shaped Canada's identity, geography, fauna and flora, and meteorological and scientific development.
The Interpretation Centre, located in the Baillairgé Pavilion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (east entry, by the Museum's parking), is another excellent exhibit that details the military history of Quebec City and the battles of 1759-60 with multimedia presentations and exhibits. An excellent display of military life in 1759-60 has recently opened and offers the points of view of both English and French soldiers. I would recommend visiting the centre before venturing out into the park so that you may better understand the significance of the site as you walk, ski, bike, etc. around.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 5, 2004
Battlefields National Park
835 Wilfrid-laurier Ave (near Honoré-mercier)
Quebec, Quebec G1R 2L3
+1 418 648 4071
Port Dover, Ontario