You know you are a real Russian, when you can't stand the thought of not having snow for the holidays, so we packed our bags and went to Quebec City. I've heard so much about this place but didn't realize how beautiful and charming it is, especially around Christmas and New Years. Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only fortified city in North America. The old part of the city with its narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, small shops and cafes on every corner, reminded me very much of Europe. Also, it is relatively small - we were able to walk most of the places we wanted to see.
We stayed at the Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec, which is located in the heart of the city - close to the Plains of Abraham and just a 5-minute walk away from the historic Old Québec. The hotel is owned and managed by the Girard family, who have made it their priority to achieve excellence in every way. Also, it's the first Franco-responsible hotel in North America, where everything from the music playing in the halls to the artwork on the walls is French. The staff also speak English though, for those who (like me) don't speak French at all :)
Our room was very spacious, with a very comfortable King size bed, a gas fireplace, and a huge jacuzzi tub - everything you need to relax in the evening after a long day of exploring. The hotel has a saltwater pool, outdoor spas, electronic wine bars on two floors and in the lobby, an indoor parking garage (you won't have to dig your car out of the snow at the end of your stay), room service, and a delicious breakfast available. All those things along with the friendly staff made us feel at home.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE
It took us about 6 hours to get from Boston to Quebec City. By the time we got there and checked in to our hotel, it was already dark. So we decided to explore Old Quebec and look for a place to eat. We ended up having a lovely dinner at Le D'Orsay.
The next day we finally got a chance to see the city in the daylight - it is so beautiful! We spent the whole day admiring the narrow streets of Old Quebec and it's unique architecture. One of the places I was very excited to visit was Maison de la littérature. I have a thing for beautiful libraries, and this one is definitely worth checking out.
After wandering around the old part of the city, stopping by the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, taking the funicular from Petit-Champlain to Dufferin Terrace near the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and having coffee and pastries for lunch at La Maison Smith, we headed to Musées de la Civilisation to warm up and explore its unique and interesting exhibits, some of which are highly interactive. It's one of those museums where you lose the track of time. It's not a secret to anyone that I love animals, so I particularly enjoyed the "Like Cats and Dogs" exhibition that shows visitors the world through animal eyes.
We started our third day with a trip up to the Observatoire de la Capitale where you can find a 360 degree view of the city. After that we headed to the Saint-Henri Micro Torréfacteur. You know how much I love coffee shops! And this one did not disappoint me. While we were drinking coffee, heavy snow began to fall. It was beautiful and magical, but impossible to walk around outside for a long time. So we ended up spending the afternoon in Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec) that has a big collection of Québec’s art from the 17th century to the present.
When we woke up the morning of our last day, it felt like Christmas morning all over again - Quebec was buried under a ton of snow (the reason I wanted to come to Canada in the first place!). We had a little bit of time to take a quick stroll before heading back to Boston. I took quite a few pictures before my camera batteries died, and I hope you enjoy them.
Thank you, Quebec, for being so perfect. I can't wait to be back!
I visited Quebec City with the help of the Quebec Tourism Board and Hôtel Château Laurier Québec , however, I have only included things that I personally enjoyed on the trip. All opinions are 100% my own.