Updated: Sep 1
For our 5-year anniversary we decided to visit the French-Canadian city of Quebec. We had a wonderful time exploring Old Quebec by foot, taking in the European feels, and savoring every delicious bite along the way.
Since we were living in southcentral Maine at the time, the drive itself took us just under six hours. We stayed in the well-appointed Le Capitole Hotel. This newly remodeled smartlux auberge sports luxurious rooms with spectacular views overlooking Old Quebec City, a 6th floor Clubby bar, one 1st floor gym with free weights and cable machines, and a 9th floor pool with an open-air deck that takes in sweeping views of crisp green mountains outlining the Saint Lawrence River. The hotel also shares its location with the Theatre Capitole.
Too tired to walk far, we found a table for two at the Chez Boulay-bistro boreal four blocks down from the Saint John gate. This portion of Rue Saint-Jean Street seems to be popular in the evenings and can feel cramped with fellow patrons buzzing about. If you don’t thrive in large crowds, continue your journey a bit deeper into Old Quebec where more dining options await.
Saturday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Cochon Dingue Champlain, which seems to be one of only a few brunch spots in village. We dinned outside, which was noisy due to the restaurant facing busy route 136. We went back to Cochon Dingue Champlain for brunch Sunday morning choosing an inside booth. This proved more enjoyable, as the climate-controlled room with its stone walls kept the space cooler and felt less hectic than roadside. And the food, of course, was delicious and wholesome, something one can easily take for granted in Quebec.
Following breakfast we made our way up to the scenic Dufferin Terrace, that hug’s Quebec City’s most famous attraction, the Chateau Frontenac hotel. The Chateau Frontenac’s supposedly the most photographed hotel in the world. We didn’t check out the inside on this visit, but we can say that the interior décor is a sight of wonder during the Christmas holiday, as is much of Old Quebec.
Trapsing back up the slanted city’s streets we couldn’t help but be struck by the impressive rock-walls surrounding us. Quebec holds the title of the only fortified city in North America helping secure it as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Heading out of the city for a little day trip, we set our heading for Montmorency Falls. At almost 100 feet tall, these impressive falls exceed those of Niagara! Take a cable ride to the top or ascend the wooden staircase to bask in the dramatic cascade. Caution! These steps are not for the faint-of-heart. Want a bird’s eye view? Consider ziplining across the watery expanse! Or simply stroll across the pedestrian footbridge linking one side of the falls to the other.
Don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for every meal? Take advantage of Canadian suburbia and grab an inexpensive lunch at one of several dining establishments close to the falls. We sat down at La Belle Province and enjoyed gyros, hotdogs and poutine, a Canadian cornerstone of hand cut fries smothered in brown gravy and topped with squeaky cheese curds! How does one say food coma in French?
After a glorious three-hour nap, we guzzled two espressos from the Clubby bar and headed downtown for our 5 o’clock dinner reservation at L’Echaude’. We slurped oysters and noshed on their 3 app for $50 special, all while being crooned with soft sounds of classical French music pushed out a local street artists accordion. Not ready to call it a night, we strolled along the narrow European-esc streets, stopping for chocolate turtles at Le Fudgerie on the quaint Rue du Petit Champlain walkway and taking in one last view of the St Lawrence along its river front shores.
Wish you were gallivanting through the Canadian countryside with a baguette in hand? Check out our guide on becoming full-time travelers today and start making your dreams come true!