There is one thing in life I love more than traveling: being surprised! For the weekend of my birthday, my boyfriend simply told me to pack an overnight bag with a cocktail dress, a warm outfit and my passport. Say whaaaat?
If you have read my previous post about packing, you know I have a little “difficulty” packing “light”. To make matters worse, he did not provide any more information than “we are going away for one night, leaving early Saturday morning and coming back late Sunday night”. I knew we were going to have somewhat of a fancy evening if I needed to bring a cocktail dress and that we were flying somewhere out of the country if I needed to bring a passport.
My first guess had been Montreal – it was close by for a weekend getaway and it made sense if I had to bring a warm outfit. As we arrived at the airport, he did not let me anywhere near the check-in booth – except for when the agent had to confirm it was me on the passport! As we approached the boarding gate, I was beyond excited to find out I was “almost right” and that we were headed to beautiful Quebec. It would be my very first time visiting Canada!
As we arrived, I was blown away by how beautiful and clean the city was. The contrast of modern architecture next to the old colonial part of town known as “Old Quebec” was just stunning. Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage as the only fortified city north of Mexico. The city is almost like out of a fairy tale book, full of culture and historical facts in each corner.
To my absolute delight, I found out on our drive to Old Quebec that we were staying at the most gorgeous hotel in the area: Le Chateau Frontenac. Located atop the headland, this hotel was once a castle with stunning views of the St. Lawrence River and Dufferin Terrace and it has been there for over 100 years. I am obsessed with palaces and castles so I would be lying if I didn’t say I had butterflies in my stomach as we arrived.
Everything about Le Chateau Frontenac was incredible. From its history to the polished and friendly staff, from the picturesque grounds to the stunningly decorated room, the entire experience was like a dream come true. But with only one and a half days in town, it was time to go out and explore. It was late August and the weather was gorgeous with a bit of a chilly wind in the air announcing Fall was on its way.
The cobblestone streets surrounding the hotel are beautiful and full of charm. We walked to Place Royale for some shopping and sight seeing. It felt like we had entered a time machine. The architecture stayed true to the era, with the two-storey stone homes with dormer windows and large chimneys. My first impression was to think I had all of a sudden been “teletransported” to Europe. The Rue du Petit-Champlain is one of the oldest commercial streets in all of North America and it can be accessed by staircases or via the funicular (my favorite!).
My “belated” birthday dinner celebration was at the spectacular Laurie Raphael restaurant in Quebec City. I am a foodie at heart and nothing brings me more joy than eating a fabulous meal. As we arrived, we were taken to a pre-dinner lounge where we enjoyed an aperitif. The atmosphere is both sophisticated and intimate with a romantic flair. We were then taken to our table for two that was not tiny and crammed like most restaurants. We had the “5 Themes” menu which surprisingly consists of 13 courses. Yes, you read it right: 13 courses of pure delight.
The menu consists of courses that are not just very creative but are inspired by each one of the chefs’ culinary philosophies. They believe in respecting the local flavors and the essence of each ingredient, all the while trying to bring back flavors from their childhood memories. All I can say is that I was blown away with each bite and the explosion of flavors and textures was something to be remembered. I would 100% recommend this restaurant for a special occasion, a romantic dinner or simply for a wonderful and unforgettable meal.
The next morning was our last day in town so I had to wear my “tourist hat” and climb atop the “Red Bus Tour” of Quebec. It is definitely not my favorite way to explore any city… i usually much rather explore by foot and discover my own way through town, but in the name of being able to see as much as possible in just a few hours, I figured I just had to do it.
All in all, the trip was absolutely amazing from start to finish and I was totally enamored with Quebec. There is so much history and so much culture, you could easily spend 3 to 4 days there and not feel bored. The restaurants, the historical sights, the night life and the shopping… there is something for everyone.
I am very much looking forward to going back and bringing my kids so we can explore the area together. I hope you have enjoyed this little 2 day journey with me and I look forward to sharing my next travel adventures with you! I would love to hear your feedback, so feel free to comment below. Au Revoir!