Winter Weekend in Canada: Quick & Quiet Visit to Old Quebec City

In desperate need of a recharge but with only 3-4 days to spare, my partner and I opted for something close to home and headed to Quebec City.

We stayed right in Old Quebec taking advantage of a cute little Airbnb offering all the comforts of home and then some (kitchenette, tv, heated floors, comfy bed). The walking score was perfect and gave us easy access to some of the most beautiful views, delicious restaurants, pubs, and of course the iconic Château (all within 5-10 minutes walk).

Top Restaurant & Food Picks

Le Saint Amour – award winning restaurant and celebrity dining hot spot, serving upscale French cuisine embracing local ingredients. Not our usual speed, but only four doors down from our Airbnb we promptly made a reservation and were so happy with our experience. The ‘Quebec Crustaceans’ was divine – squid ink ravioli + lobster and shrimp with white wine bisque, need I say more? Romantic, classy, A+.

Chez Boulay – warm and casual, Nordic cuisine showcased a variety of game meat, used a lot of local grown herbs/spices, and put a unique spin on French onion soup – scraped the bowl clean.

Chic Shack – we were pointed in this direction by a local and it ended up being the top poutine from our entire weekend (and we had several), potatoes were cubed and the curds were perfectly rubbery (that’s a compliment).

Buffet de L’Antiquaire – diner style food, awesome brunch, we arrived at 12:15pm on a Friday and there was a lineup (lots of locals so you know its good and not just a tourist hot spot), delicious poutine and eggs Benny.

1608 Bar (Chateau Frontenac) – industrial chic vibe, exciting cocktail menu, opens at 4pm, arrived at 4:15pm on a Friday and already a 30 minute wait for a party of 2 (perfect amount of time to walk around the hotel absorbing the historical photographs and regal decor).

Top Activities

  • Walking the streets of Old Quebec City and taking in the cathedrals and churches, cobblestone, and European-esque surroundings.
    • Strøm Spa Nordique: Nordic spa sitting right on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, offers upscale but affordable pampering, authentic Quebec views, and left us feeling relaxed and recharged. We would absolutely go back and use the baths/steam rooms, once you’re in you can stay as long as you want, first come first served. This alone was worth the trip!

    • Christmas Market: obviously seasonal but a delightful way to interact with vendors, sample some festive bites, and shop local products.

    • Chateau Frontenac: the crown jewel on this aesthetically delightful city

    Transportation

    Fly: Porter was our arrival mode of transportation, very convenient and affordable, 15 minute Uber from the airport to the Old City.

    Train: due to an ice storm in Toronto our return flight was cancelled so we jumped on the train. Comparable in price, although much longer (10.5 hours Quebec City – Toronto due to a 2 hour stop over in Montreal). Perhaps not ideal for some but we took it as an opportunity to enjoy another Poutine. If you’re a smoked meat lover check out Schwart’s Deli and/or Dunn’s Famous – my partner and are in a dead lock for which is better, would love to hear your vote!

    Other

    Season: Winter, November 28-December 1

    Temperature: range 2 C to -13 C

    Currency: Canadian Dollars

    Language: French, English

    Packing Tips: warm clothes/base layers, warm shoes/boots that are comfortable for walking, hat/gloves, scarf or like to cover your face, heavy jacket, hot paw mitt warmers, sun glasses to combat the glare during the day

    Bon Voyage!

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