Monday, April 17, 2017

Summer weekend getaway: Quebec City

When it comes to a summer weekend getaway Quebec City is ideal. Heading north is always a good idea; chances are the weather will be considerably cooler than where you live.

Keep in mind that to travel to Canada you need to have at the minimum a Passport Card. The day has passed when you could dash across the Canadian border with only your driver’s license in hand. Be prepared for strong questions on both sides about where you are going, how long you are staying and the reason for your visit.

You can drive to Quebec City; it is about 9 hours from New York City. An international airport is located within just a few miles of the city if you prefer to fly. Once you are in the city, you will be able to walk to just about everything you would want to do or see in a weekend. Cabs available to hail if you want to ride somewhere.

Where to stay

The ultimate in luxury is to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. It has the premier location on the Terrace Dufferin and the views of the St Lawrence River or the city from the rooms at the hotel are stellar, they do however come at an additional price. It is a splurge to stay here but one that for a weekend is worth it. Even if you can't afford to stay here, you can stop in and take a stroll around the lobby and the shops.

If you are looking for a smaller less intimidating hotel located in the shadow of the Frontenac, The Hotel Chateau Bellevue fits the bill nicely. It is small, friendly, has abundant charm and a similarly excellent location.

What to see

Quebec City has too many attractions to fit everything into a weekend, do a little research and decided what interests you the most. If you want a little history, The Musee de la Civilisation in the lower city has several excellent exhibits that will give you a very good overview of the Province of Quebec.

If you are more interested in a quick history lesson the Musee Cire or Wax Museum will give you a brief very visual history lesson. The Plains of Abraham has an Interpretation Center which explains the history of the transition from French to English Colony which happened in the mid-18th century.

If you want to learn about the history of Quebec City from a supernatural point of view, Ghost Tours of Quebec  will take you on a walk on the more macabre side of Quebec history.

What to do

  • Walk on the Terrace Dufferin and enjoy the stellar views.
  • Take a ride on the funicular which transports you to the lower city.
  • Climb into a caleche and let your driver point out the sights to you.
  • Just stroll along the cobbled streets of the city.
Shopping is a major occupation in Quebec City and the Petit Champlain district offers great opportunities for everything from cheesy souvenirs to designer clothes.


If you want to sample the food of Quebec, Aux Anciens Canadiens is a Quebecoise restaurant where you can dine on meat pies, pea soup and of course sugar pies for which Quebec is famous. As you walk the streets find a place to sample poutine, French fries with gravy and cheese. It is artery clogging but a national obsession. Maple flavored ice cream is a personal favorite of mine. 

Quebec has several local breweries, be sure to sample some local beer and if you have the opportunity wine from the Ile d"Orleans.

You can use these suggestions for a weekend in the Paris of the North, Quebec City or you can come up with your own. The motto of Quebec is “I Will Remember” and after your weekend, you most certainly will.

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