Travel Writers are always quizzed about destination, which hotel, airline, activity,restaurant do you recommend! But the most asked question is; which is your favourite city? Since first being introduced to Quebec City 25 years ago that has been my answer. On a recent trip my thoughts were overwhelmingly re-affirmed with the vista of The Chateau Frontenac, the mighty St Lawrence River, the Plains of Abraham and the nooks and crannies in the old city featuring artists and shopping.
It is the capital city of the province and was founded in 1608. The city has 635,000 residents and the St Lawrence River snakes for 1197 km from the Great Lakes to the eastern seaboard.
Québec City sits on the Saint Lawrence River in predominantly French-speaking Québec province. Dating to 1608, it retains its fortified colonial core, Vieux-Québec and Place Royale, with narrow streets, stone buildings and a European feel. This area is site of the famous, towering Château Frontenac Hotel and imposing Citadelle of Québec. The Petit Champlain district’s cobblestone streets are lined with bistros and boutiques. The history of the city is captured in the many informative museums. www.quebecregion.com
There is nothing better than to have a meal at the popular Spag&tini restaurant and take in the vista of the majestic Chateau with the bustling river only metres behind you. Try the famous Baked Lasagna with Meat Sauce or Poutine a local favourite with fries, gravy and cheese, tastes good but not very wholesome. Wash these dishes down with a drop of Samuel Adams beer or even better a local white Seyva/Vidal Domaine de l’orpailleur a top spot for lunch on a sunny day. Ask for Dany. www.spagettini.ca
From the riverside, take a stroll up Petit Champlain, one of the areas bursting with boutique shops, musicians, artists and atmosphere. If not feeling so energetic get the Funicular which takes you up the steep incline to the old town.
Meet your guide for a tour of three micro-breweries with Broue-Tours. www.broue-tours.ca
If your body clock is in alarm mode book into Le Monastere des Augustines near the Quebec Hospital for a wide range of inspiring activities in holistic health and culture. A haven of peace in the heart of the city this property is part of the historic Hotel-Dieu de Quebec monastery, one of the most important classified heritage sites within the walls of Old Quebec. www.monastere.ca
For a magical silver service dining experience, Le Charbon in Quebec Train Station close to the Old Port is an award winning steakhouse with cuts of all kind, fresh fish and a cellar full of fine wines. Some of the large cuts might be a little more expensive but it has a reputation as one of the top class restaurants in the city. www.charbonsteakhouse.com
A little out of town is the Canyon Sainte-Anne, this is spectacular and make sure you try the Zip Line. This is one of the most beautiful attractions in the Quebec region. The trail passes through three bridges, providing great scenes of the waterfall, the canyon and the trees. www.canyonsa.qc.ca It is situated close to the famous Montmorency Falls and nearby (approx. 35 minutes from the city) is the stunning Sainte Anne de Beaupre Basilica. It has a reputation for miracle healing. The huge array of medical wares like crutches hang for all to see at the back of this massive church.
Continue on this road out of Quebec City and take another hour or so to the Charlevoix region. This includes parts of the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains region of the Canadian Shield. This dramatic landscape includes rolling terrain, fjords, headlands and bays; the region was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989.
Visit my number one destination in the world and you won’t be disappointed.
Written by John Savage