Last week you read and saw our walking itinerary of what many consider North America's Paris: we journeyed back in time through the Petit Champlain district, Lower Town, and the start of Upper Town in the ever romantic and historic Quebec City. This week we explore the rest of Upper Town, The Citadel (the actual fortification of Quebec City), and we share our recommendations on where to stay and eat. To read last week's itinerary, click here
TAKE A WALK DOWN LA RUE DU TRESOR (AKA LA RUE DES ARTISTES):
This tiny cobblestone alley located on the border of Lower and Upper Town instantly transported me back to Montmarte in Paris. It's lined with local artists and photographer selling their works, and is a nice alternative memento to take back home instead of a cheap-y souvenir.
[caption id="attachment_2732" align="aligncenter" width="580"]
Rue du Tresor is lined with local artists and photographers selling their work. Great place to buy a nice memento.[/caption]
GAZE AT THE DETAIL IN THE ARCHITECTURE AND DECORATION OF THE NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL:
It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas north of Mexico and worth and visit. The holy door, found on the left side of the main Cathedral entrance, is open now, but closes on December 28th, and will be closed for 25 years until the next Holy Year.
[caption id="attachment_2746" align="aligncenter" width="580"]
Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral.[/caption]
GRAB LUNCH AT CHEZ BOULEY AND STAY FOR AN HOUR:
Chez Bouley is located on Rue St. Jean, a main shopping and restaurant street in Old Town. It's very cozy yet modern inside, fitting for a restaurant that is based on Nordic eats and a boreal atmosphere. The food is delicious and nicely portioned, and we were definitely reenrgized and warmed up for the latter part of the day after this filling lunch.
[caption id="attachment_2788" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Chez Bouley (http://chezboulay.com/) is the best spot to grab lunch and to warm up, especially if you're traveling to Quebec in the Fall/Winter. They serve a delicious, 3-course lunch menu and champagne for $30 p/person and everything was very tasty. The menu changes daily.
[caption id="attachment_2763" align="aligncenter" width="580"] I had the butternut squash soup, swordfish salad, champagne, and a shared creme brulee. All were delicious. The menu changes daily.
[caption id="attachment_2764" align="aligncenter" width="580"] On our walk down St. Jean Street, we came upon a Van Houtte, which had become our go-to coffee shop during our trip in Canada. We ordered two specialty, seasonal espresso drinks that were unbelievably good—4 layers that included Gran Marnier, Organic Maple Syrup, Milk Foam, and Espresso. Since clearly that wasn't sweet enough for us, we also got two maple cream cones. We lounged for about an hour, reveling in the fact that it was Wednesday at 2pm, we didn't HAVE to do anything, and just enjoyed our coffee and a treat, the 'Parisian' way, while people watching and just relaxing.
EXPLORE THE LENGTH OF THE CITADEL WALLS FOR THE BEST VIEWS OF QUEBEC CITY AND SAINT LAWRENCE RIVER:
You'll get the best landscape and panoramic snapshots here, and really get to see the whole city from all sides. Tourney Fountain is a site to see at night, when it's all lit up in different colors each week depending on the event or celebration.
[caption id="attachment_2750" align="aligncenter" width="580"] A walk atop the thick walls of The Citadel with Parliament Hill in the backdrop. Blissful. (http://www.lacitadelle.qc.ca/)
[caption id="attachment_2790" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Mid-day snapshot of Parliament from atop The Citadel.
BEFORE SUNSET, GO TO BAR 1608 AT CHATEAU FRONTENAC FOR A LOCAL WINE AND CHEESE PAIRING:
After visiting the Citadel make you're way through the St. Louis Gate toward Old Town, and walk all the way down Rue St. Louis and you'll hit Le Chateau Frontenac on the right. Chateau Frontenac is an iconic hotel built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1894 and it's grand, castle-like stance is impossible to miss. The main arch from Rue de Cameres leads to the main entrance of the hotel, and at the end of the long, gilded hallway will be Bar 1608, named after the exact year of Quebec City's founding in the exact location where you can now find the bar. Grab a seat by the windows and get cozy in the Victorian chairs, as you watch the sun go down over a tasting of local wine and cheese.
[caption id="attachment_2734" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Chateau Frontenac
[caption id="attachment_2733" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Bar 1608 in Chateau Frontenac glistens due to the beautiful gold decor and ambient lighting yet its modern at the same time. Seat yourself on the other side of the bar by the windows, which overlook the stunning Saint Laurent River. A great place to watch the sun set and enjoying local wine and cheese.
[caption id="attachment_2791" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Local goat cheese and wine pairing at Chateau Frontenac Bar 1608 (http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec/dining/1608-wine-cheese-bar/).
SEE THE REST OF THE CITY AT NIGHT:
All of the historical and government buildings, fountains, and streets are lit up by twinkling lights at night.
[caption id="attachment_2739" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Rue du Petit Champlain at night.
[caption id="attachment_2756" align="aligncenter" width="580"] Light installation to celebrate 350 years of Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica Cathedral in Montmorency Park in Lower Town. This installation will only be up until the end of this year.
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Backdrop of Old Town with the light installation in the forefront at night. Just stunning.[/caption]
I'm already trying to plan my return to Quebec City. I absolutely loved it and can see why it's now been rated #18 on Conde Nast Traveler's Top 25 Cities
in the World by readers. I've heard from talking to locals that the holiday time is one of the best times to visit, so if you're looking for a holiday getaway this December or January, and don't mind the cold, I'd highly recommend taking the 2-hour flight or 9 hour road trip up North to this now not-so-secret gem for a romantic getaway. The Winter Carnival
is supposed to be one of the largest in the world with snow/ice sculptures, night parades, snow baths, shows, and the famous Ice Canoe Race. And in the winter, just outside Old Town, is the Hotel de Glace
, the only ice (igloo) hotel in North America where you can take a day or evening tour, or take the risk and stay the chilly night! Both Part 1 and Part 2 of our Quebec City itinerary were done in 24 hours. We were easily able to see everything without feeling rushed, though next time we'd want to stay for a whole week! Have you been to Quebec City? If so, what are you favorite things about it? What do you love to do and see?
(for an all-around great meal with nice ambiance); http://chezboulay.com/?lang=en
(for the best poutine in Quebec City and a quick bite); http://www.chez-ashton.com/
Le Lapin Saute (
for traditional French dishes and a charming atmosphere); http://www.lapinsaute.com/francais/accueil/
Bistro Sous Le Fort
(romantic French bistro with satiating dishes that are constantly being rotated); http://www.bistrosouslefort.com/en/
(for a special occasion multi-course meal that won't dissapoint); http://www.restaurantinitiale.com/en/le-restaurant-2
Where to Stay:
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
(you'll feel like you're living in a real castle and the luxury rooms and amenities make this 5-star experience unforgettable); http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec/
Hotel Le Priori
(an excellent option for a more boutique feel, this romantic hotel is set in the heart of Petit Champlain district, and offer a comprehensive delectable breakfast in their adjoining Toast restaurant); http://www.hotellepriori.com/