There are moments in life when you just need to get away, refresh and rest so you can get back in the game at full operating capacity! We were at that point and so, decided it was time to book a trip - north!
This was our first time visiting Quebec City and to be honest...it will most certainly not be the last!
This captivating city has all the old world charm and romanticism of Europe yet is only a 6.5 hour drive from where we live in the Hudson Valley and is only an 8 hour drive from NYC.
Sit back relax and enjoy as we reminisce and share our travel diary with you, highlighting our favorite eats, what we saw, did and some tips we learned from this trip.
At a glance:
Where We Stayed -
For this trip we split our stay between the iconic Fairmont Chateau de Frontenac and the Hilton Quebec City.
What we did -
Fairmont Chateau De Frontenac (Trust us even if you don't stay...its very much worth a visit!)
Duffern Terresse/ Funicular
The old Port (shops, architecture, cafes)
The Citadel (we didn't do the museum this trip but its on the list for next time!)
Boutique Mary's Popcorn Shop (if you love popcorn... this is a must visit)
Strom Nordique Spa
Where We ATE -
Nord Restaurant (Inside Strom Spa Old Quebec)
We arrived at the iconic Fairmont, Chateau de Frontenac after 1:30 am on Friday morning! It was a perfect arrival time as we got to take a moment to wander around this stunning hotel while not a creature was stirring, well except for the lovely overnight staff ready to great you with a smile and to help settle you into your room! We understand why this hotel holds the record for the most photographed in the world, with is picturesque castle like features and rich history, even if you don't book a room we highly recommend walking through or even booking a meal at one of their world class restaurants.
We awoke to a bit of a squall outside of our window and decided to sleep in a bit. By the time we awoke for the second time, the skies were clear and the most stunning blue. Since the weather was cold and windy we opted to continue exploring the Chateau. We missed breakfast so decided to have lunch at Le SAM. With a gorgeous view of the St. Lawrence River we feasted on a delectable meal! (More on this spot to come!) After more exploring, and a nap we decided to head to the pool for a swim.
That evening we basked in the luxury of staying in and ordering room service! The gentleman binging the food to our room was positively out of a Wes Anderson movie, with very broken English and mostly French explanations of what delights were under the silver domes he set the table for us to perfection, even when we didn't quite understand all he said, there was such a feeling of hospitality and excellence that transcended all languages and truly reinspired us.
The next morning we went to breakfast at the lovely Place Duffern inside The Fairmont. They serve a glorious breakfast buffet, with chefs on the ready to make specialty eggs bennidict on top of all other myriad of options. The all you can eat fresh flaky pastries, yogurt, cereal, meats, cheeses, eggs, beans, honestly you name it and its a breakfast item...they have it! Plus all the coffee you could drink!
After breakfast we checked out of the Chateau and left our luggage and car with the amazing valet as we went to go explore the city a bit.
We walked around a bit visiting a few shops like Bagages de France, before arriving at The Citadel.
There was a snow ball battle royal before we walked back to Terrassse Dufferin and took the Funicular down to the old port.
Of course we had to stop into a few antique shops as we toured the vibrant stone streets.
After exploring we gathered our things, said our farewells to all the friends we made at the Chateau and checked into The Hilton Quebec City. While the fairmont may the cities most iconic hotel, the Hilton has the potential to give you one of the best views of the Chateau de Frontenac and the St. Lawrence river.
After settling in, we were getting hungry and upon Jared doing a little bit of research we called Le Hobbit to see if they had availability for dinner reservations. Serendipitously, they had a table available for us! This tapas style restaurant specializes in fresh local ingredients and is quite the gastronomic experience! We highly recommend a visit!
We headed back to the Hilton with full bellies and full hearts! Truly part of the joys of travel and just going out in general is connection with new people, hearing their stories and learning about the world around us. We slept with the curtains open with a spectacular view of the city we drifted off to sleep.
We awoke to the sun rising behind the Chateau.
We grabbled a light snack and water as we headed to Strom Nordique Spa.
This is another highly recommended experience!
We went during a holiday weekend so it was more expensive than usual, around $65 each. But if you go during the week you can get a spa pass for about $40 each ! Jared, Jenneka and I spent from noon to around 9:30pm just relaxing and going in and out off all the pools and saunas. They have relaxation rooms and tents perfect for napping or reading.
We also made lunch reservations at their spa restaurant and had a leisurely lunch overlooking the pools and river. Cell phone use is not encouraged as they aim for total relaxation for all guests. Its a perfect unplug and recharge moment! This is an all season spa, yet we are thinking it may really shine in the cold months as the steam rising off the pools lends to the magical ambiance. We put it on our list to visit again in warmer months just to get a different feel!
If you go, we recommend to bring your own toilettries and use their showers and hair dryers just so all you have to do is get back to your hotel and chill! (We did not do this but definitely took notes for next time!)
Monday morning we got up early(ish) to take a swim in the rooftop pool. This year round pool is another fun.experience, but I will say the wind can whip through and chill your ears!
After checking out we drove back to the old port and explored more near Parc Montmorency.
As we walked the streets the smell of popcorn drifted through the air, somehow calling us like a sirens song was Boutique Mary's Popcorn Shop. As we entered the little shop we were mesmerized by the flavors and popcorn being made before our very eyes, of course we got a lil bucket for the road and couldn't help but sampling some even before we had a proper meal for the day.
Which brings us to another amazing spot we found! Well, Jared really was the one who found this one - Hortus, a Quebecous farm to table restaurant that uses fresh local ingredients and honey from their own rooftop hives as well as produce grown from their own rooftop gardens!
Their mocktail menu was also outstanding and there poor mans pudding was truly a taste from our childhoods as Mom would make a very similar tasting maple dessert!
As we leisurely enjoyed the walk back to the car we all agreed we need to plan another trip back to this wildly European feeling metropolis! Quebec City has so much to explore and we are very much looking forward to our next visit soon! Next stop....Montreal! Stay tuned!
Embrace the Daily!
Cheers to the Adventure that is life!
X ~ Janna, Jared and Jenneka