I cannot believe the stars finally lined up for a weekend in Quebec City getaway. I’ve been to Montreal twice and was always impressed with its old town. Friends, family and fellow travel bloggers who have been to QC have told me that when it comes to narrow cobblestone streets, you haven’t seen anything until you visit Quebec City.
Quebec City is fiercely European with an even fiercer grip on the French Canadian identity.
Since the St. Lawrence river is still very deep around Quebec City, it can accommodate cruise lines – some from as far away as Europe. Our guide, Elyse, told us one summer, they had seven cruise ships in one day! Nearly 4,4 million tourists visited the Quebec City region in 2016, and 800,000 were outside Canada.
Sure, you can get a taste of the Canadian City in a single day – taste being the operative word as the food scene here is off the charts with a strong focus on local and regional produce. But if you can stay for a weekend, the city’s compact size makes it perfect for walking.
There are some steep hills, specifically between the lower town and the upper town and in the upper town itself, but rest assured, I kept all that in mind when I created this itinerary.
Any additional calories you burn can be traded in for food at some of the amazing restaurants I’m about to introduce you to! 😉This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
History Of Quebec City: The Soul Of The Province
- French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Québec City in 1608. In the 17th century, the first French explorers, fur trappers, and missionaries came over and established a colony. Thus, it is considered the cradle of the French Civilization.
- Old Quebec was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985
- Just for the record, French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived in 1535. Champlain founded “New France” and built a fort (called Place Royale today), which we’ll see later.
- Quebec City ranks among the top 20 most romantic destinations. (I’m not the cheesy romantic type, but I can see why it made the list)
- The British wanted to remove the French from North America, and even though the forts that New France built reinforced their position on the top of the cliff, Britain’s navy ultimately led to New France’s demise. General James Wolfe led his army to Québec City in the summer of 1759.
Getting To Quebec City
Air Canada, which flies from the U.S. via Montréal or Toronto, is the most popular airline. However, WestJet, Alaska, and United are also good options. All flights arrive at Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), which is only a 20-minute cab ride downtown.
The bus is the least expensive option and relatively easy to use (as long as you don’t mind making extra stops along the way) – I hate taking buses for longer than a couple of hours. From NYC to Quebec City, the Greyhound runs from New York and Boston to Montréal. You can transfer to one of the hourly buses connecting to Québec City via Orléans Express.
If you’re travelling by train from the US, you’ll arrive at Montréal via Amtrak, then transfer to VIA Rail trains heading to Québec City. The Via Rail trains run four times a day from Montréal and take three hours.
You can take two directions when leaving Montréal: Autoroute 20 or the more scenic Autoroute 40. Both routes take approximately three hours to get to Québec City. Driving from New York City takes about eight hours, while Boston is about six. Coming from New York or destinations south of the Big Apple, take Interstate 91 to the Canadian border. From Boston, take Interstate 93 and switch to Interstate 91 in Vermont. After crossing the border, Interstate 91 becomes Québec Autoroute 55, which you take to Sherbrooke. From Sherbrooke take Autoroute 55 to Autoroute 20.
Driving from Toronto To Quebec City takes about eight hours.
Getting Around on Your Quebec City Weekend Getaway
Getting around Quebec City is easy and convenient. Traffic is usually light outside of rush hour, making it easier to get around by car. Finally, walking is another great option for getting around Quebec City. Most attractions are within walking distance of each other, making it easy for visitors to explore on foot.
The main mode of transportation in the city is the Quebec City Transit System or RTC. The RTC operates a comprehensive network of buses and shuttles covering most of the city. A few express bus routes also provide faster service between some of the more popular destinations.
For visitors who don’t want to ride buses, there are other options for getting around town. Taxis are available for hire throughout the city and offer an economical way to get from one place to another quickly and without any hassles. Additionally, car rentals are available at various locations throughout Quebec City, allowing travellers to explore as they, please.
Cycling is another great way to explore Quebec City, as it has many trails and bike paths. Several bike rental companies are located throughout the city where bikes can be rented for short periods at reasonable rates.
Cycling tours are also available for those who want to explore further afield, offering guided tours through some of the city’s most scenic routes.
3 Days in Quebec City Itinerary
Spending a weekend in Quebec City is an exciting experience for any traveller. The city offers something for everyone, from its unique and charming Old Town to its historic architecture. The cobbled streets of Old Quebec are filled with beautifully preserved buildings and quaint cafes.
The nightlife in Quebec City is vibrant and lively, offering bars, pubs, and restaurants that offer an eclectic mix of dining options. Music lovers can find live entertainment almost every night at one of the many bars in the city.
After spending a glorious long weekend in Quebec City, I couldn’t help but put it all together for you to use on your next trip. Below is a comprehensive list of the top things to do in the city. They’re laid out similarly to how we did them, but you can adjust the itinerary as you need to.
Arriving In Quebec City For The Weekend: The Night Before Day 1
It’s a long drive for most people visiting Quebec City for the weekend, so try to make your arrival the evening before you begin your 3 days. This gives you enough time to check into your hotel, unpack, and slowly introduce yourselves to the city and its sights.
Supper at Chez Rioux & Pettigrew
With the creative cuisine of Chef Dominic Jacques – a winner on the television show “Les chefs” in 2012 –– Chez Rioux & Pettigrew has evolved to a bistro-style restaurant from what was once a Rioux and Pettigrew wholesale grocer.
I started with a local beer called Belle Guelle, which was delicious.
Gordana had the L’Achille (Quebec Exquis) – which is described as a flaxseed-fed duck from Canard du Village in Sainte-Pie, infused sea buckthorn leaf’s jus, tangy berries from La Ferme d’Achille, creamy butternut squash gratin, puree & palet, sea buckthorn mustard.
I had the Réconfort – Slowly braised beef shoulder, potato ragout au jus, creamy cabbage, brussels sprouts, carrots, refreshing citrus-flavoured herb coleslaw & charcutière sauce.
Gordana’s dessert was the Ma Foi C’est Exquis – Sea buckthorn Choc!, Cacao Barry dark chocolate mousse with a siphon, truffle, powder, berries in syrup & sea buckthorn sorbet from La Ferme d’Achille.
As for me, I had L’Erable – Maple-flavoured éclair, light cream, tangy ice crabapple puree, craquelin & maple candied walnuts.
Quebec City Getaway: Day 1
Combine parts of Upper and Lower town inside Old Quebec City on your first day. This is a great way to get a taste of the city at a reasonable pace.
Things To Do In Lower Old Quebec City
Everything mentioned below is about a 7-minute walk in total, not counting the time you’ll spend at each stop. You can easily fit this bit into a morning walk and then stop for brunch/lunch before continuing.
Located on the lower part of old Quebec, Quartier Petit-Champlain was once the capital of New France, a small portside village in 1608 comprised of fur trading posts. The narrow, pedestrian-only, cobblestone streets are lined with historic buildings, souvenir shops, aboriginal shops, bistros, artisan boutiques, and Québec-cuisine restaurants.
Rue du Petit-Champlain
The main road running through Quartier Petit-Champlain is Rue du Petit-Champlain, where you’ll find some of the first houses from the former French colony that was built hundreds of years ago. Along this street, you’ll find bistros, art galleries and specialized handicraft boutiques (leather, jewellery, decorative arts, clothing, wood and more)
I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t say I like steps, and as I soon discovered, there is no shortage of hills and steps here in Old Quebec City – at least these steps are pretty.
This outdoor staircase dates back to 1635, a few years before the death of Samuel de Champlain (the city’s founder), and they are the oldest in Quebec City. In 1895, the old wooden staircase was replaced by one made of steel and the current staircase was built in 1968.
The fresco on the side of the building depicts the lives/major events of the residents of the Cap-Blanc district – one of the 35 districts of Quebec City and one of six located in the borough of La Cité-Limoilou.
It’s simple but simply beautiful. Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church is one of the oldest churches in North America, built on the ruins of Champlain’s first settlement in 1723. It was rebuilt in 1859 after being heavily bombarded in 1759 and, to this day, continues the tradition of blessings and handing out buns on the feast day of St. Genevieve.
Place Royale stands on the site of Québec’s foundation. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain erected a fur trading post and permanent settlement in New France – the cradle of French civilization in North America. Place Royale has the largest group of 17th and 18th-century buildings that reflect North America’s four centuries of history. It was named Place Royale in honour of Louis XIV of France.
Place De Paris | Royal Battery
Place De Paris used to be the former site of the Finlay market, and what is interesting is the historical buildings with the ladder on the roofs as ladders were used the sweep chimneys.
The Royal Battery was named in honour of Louis XIV of France, who founded its construction in 1691 and was part of the city’s defences under the French Regime. It helped protect the city during the siege of 1759 and sits across the Quai Chouinard, a departure point for cruise ships sailing St. Lawrence.
Quebec City Mural
I love the frescos on the side of some of these buildings. Here in Parc de la Cetiere, the fresco depicts 400 years of Quebec City history through a series of interpretation panels showing the different buildings erected on this site over the years.
Fifteen historical figures are represented in the mural, including Felix Leclerc, Jacques Cartier, and Marie Guyart. In addition, shows and concerts are staged here in the summer and during the Christmas holidays.
Café La Maison Smith
La Maison Smith Cafe (The Smith House Cafe) is a cafe chain in Quebec City. It is known for its fine chocolates and specialty coffees. It also serves a variety of delicious pastries, desserts and sandwiches.
The one in Place Royale is the first branch of the chain. Place Royale is the place where French pioneers first established themselves in 1608. French settlers inhabited the cafe in which it was housed until 1796, when Mr. Charles Smith bought it. Since then, it has been known as La Maison Smith. In 2013, the cafe took over the building, and La Maison Smith Cafe was born.
Things To Do In Upper Old Quebec City
From here, we can take the funicular up to the upper town of Old Quebec City – the cradle of French Civilization in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the only walled city north of Mexico that is still well-preserved after 400 years.
When I think about a walled city, I think of Europe – Canada wouldn’t even cross my mind. It’s quite remarkable.
Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral
Notre- Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral was built in 1647 under the French Regime. It has been expanded, bombarded, burnt to the ground, rebuilt in 1925 and designated as a national historic. It is the final resting place of four New France governors and the bishops of the Quebec City diocese.
La Boutique de Noël de Québec
There’s something oddly beautiful about the spirit of Christmas and its effects on my soul.
Even though the weather outside is frightful – a store that sells Christmas stuff all year can brighten up anyone’s day. From decorations, nativity sets, and villages to souvenirs and other Christmas collectibles.
City Hall of Quebec City
The City Hall of Quebec City is located in the heart of Old Quebec in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The building slopes downward as it was built on a hill and was once home to the Jesuit College (Jesuit Barracks) from the 1730s to 1878. The city hall was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984.
The building is also located within the “Arrondissement Historique du Vieux-Québec” (Historic District of Old Quebec), a district that was designated under provincial heritage legislation in 1963 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1985.
Located on rue des Jardins and designed by architect Georges-Émile Tanguay, it is the second permanent city hall for the old city. From 1842 to 1896, City Hall was the home of British Army Major General William Dunn (British officer), son of former administrator Thomas Dunn (lieutenant-governor) (at rue Saint-Louis and rue Sainte-Ursule).
Prior to 1842, the city government sat at various sites. The formal city council was established in 1833. The building is a mixture of Classical, Medieval, and Châteauesque elements.
Québec City’s only truly authentic Irish pub, where you’ll find a friendly atmosphere, plenty of beer, and Irish music and traditions, all in a historic building in Old Québec across the city hall. This is the perfect time to stop for a more filling lunch and meet a few locals.
Le Monastère des Augustines
On August 1, 1639, three sisters from the Augustinian Order came to Quebec to establish North America’s first hospital north of Mexico.
The Augustinian Sisters devoted themselves to caring for the body and soul for about four centuries. They founded 12 hospitals, becoming the foundation for Quebec’s public healthcare system.
Today the Monastery continues the passion and compassion that inspired and motivated the sisters by functioning as a place of welcome, hospitality, memory, rest, and renewal.
Paillard – St-Jean
Paillard is bread, first and foremost. But it’s also croissants, biscuits, eclairs, sandwiches, soups, salads, gelato, cakes, chocolates … In short, a whole world of homemade delicacies that made the reputation of the Paillard coffee-come-bakery.
I can’t even begin to describe how delicious their smoked meat sandwich was…It actually brought a tear to my eye. We ended up eating here twice!
Rue Saint-Jean & Porte Saint-Jean
One of the main and popular streets is Rue Saint-Jean, with its trendy cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. During the summer evenings and weekends, cars are not allowed inside the fortifications, making it pedestrian-friendly
At the top of Rue Saint-Jean is Saint-Jean Gate, one of Quebec City’s most recognizable landmarks. Porte Saint-Louis was built in 1693. It was replaced by another, further west, in 1745 but was then demolished and rebuilt in 1878 – which is the current one here today.
Listed on the Quebec Cultural Heritage Directory and one of the National Historic Sites of Canada is The Capitole de Québec. This is a Beaux Arts-style theatre constructed in 1903 from the plans of an American architect named Walter S. Painter. It is a theatre with a restaurant and a hotel.
Palais Montcalm – Maison de la Musique
Located in Old Québec, the Palais Montcalm – Maison de la Musique offers programs that feature classical music, jazz, and world music. The world-class Raoul-Jobin concert hall combines exceptional comfort with outstanding acoustics.
Épicerie J.A. Moisan
JA Moisan Epicerie is the oldest grocery store in North America. Yes, you heard me correctly. It was established in 1871. The interior takes you back in time and could easily pass as a museum, except it’s still in use.
It has everything you need, things you didn’t know you needed, and everything in between – like 50 varieties of mustard!
Chez Boulay-bistro boréal
Chefs Jean Luc Boulay and Arnaud Marchand opened Chez Boulay – Bistro Boreal to highlight Quebec’s unique regional and seasonal products from the boreal region. Elk, trout, elderberry flower (I love elderberry juice, by the way), and Labrador tea.
Cranberry seed oil, hemp oil, and apple cider vinegar can all be found in the Nordic-inspired blend of Quebec culinary traditions and international influences.
I went for the braised beef cheek with Labrador tea, potato purée with brown butter, roasted cabbage, oyster mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Gordana opted for the seared Atlantic cod, creamy spaghetti squash with confit garlic, smoked coldwater shrimp, egg yolk, and kale with sumac.
Together (well, mostly me), we shared the frozen caramel parfait with apple center, buckwheat cookie, roasted apples, and candied sunflower seeds.
Quebec City Weekend Itinerary: Day 2 | Things To Do In Old Quebec City
This day has a bit more history and culture packed into it. Starting more centrally in Old Quebec City and moving into the downtown neighbourhood of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and further into the city’s suburbs.
The Morrin Centre was constructed as a military barracks more than 300 ago. Then it was used as a prison with balconies from which prisoners were hung. Then it was repurposed again into Quebec’s first English-language college with one of the world’s most beautiful libraries.
Today, the Morrin Cultural Centre explores the history of English-speaking culture in the area.
St. Andrew Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, named after the apostle, was dedicated on November 30, 1810, on St. Andrew’s Day. The building remains unchanged except for the addition of the Vestry in 1900.
On the same triangular site with the church is the Kirk Hall, first erected in 1829, and the Manse, erected in 1837.
Besides Canadian back bacon and maple syrup, poutine seems to be the highlight of Canadian cuisine. Of course, there’s much debate over the best poutine in Quebec. Ashton’s has a great dish and is the Mcdonalds’ of poutine.
Want somewhere more off the beaten path? Try La Fabrique Montcalm in the trendy arts district of Montcalm. Here, poutine gets fancy with braised beef, pulled pork, or confit duck.
The Fort Museum
Through a 30-minute sound and light show, you can travel back to the foundation of Quebec and revisit the six military sieges that helped shape its history!
Chic Shack was opened in 2012 by Lucy and Evan Price, who happen to be the co-owners of Auberge Saint-Antoine. They serve delicious burgers, poutines, salads, milkshakes, and house sodas, all made with local ingredients.
Every city should have at least one great burger joint. Right?
This area was once called the Grande Place during the French Regime. With a gothic-style fountain in the center, it was the most popular meeting place for military parades and public speaking events.
Monument Samuel-De Champlain
This monument of Samuel-De Champlain was created in Honour of the founder of Quebec City – a work by Paul Chèvre that was inaugurated in 1898.
Named after Lord Dufferin, The Dufferin Terrace is located on the site of Fort Saint-Louis, built by Samuel de Champlain in 1620 – and where he died in 1635.
From here, you’ll view the river and Lower Town and Place-Royale.
The Fairmont Château Frontenac
The Frontenac was constructed for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1894 and is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. It can not only be seen from most parts of the city but from miles away as it stands tall in front of Dufferin Terrace.
This elevated vantage was the original site of Fort St.-Louis, the governor’s residence in colonial times – tourists can see the ruins underneath the promenade.
One of the six notable moments in the Château Frontenac’s 125-year history is during World War II, it was the host of two important conferences on military strategy. In August 1943, the leaders of the Allied powers, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill – hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, met to plan the invasion of Normandy.
Aux Anciens Canadiens
The historic Maison Jacquet (Jacquet House) built in 1675-76 is the oldest in Quebec. The thick walls and wainscoting are characteristic of the houses constructed in this time period. during that time. Philippe-Aubert de Gaspé – author of the book “Les Anciens Canadiens” once lived in this house. Les Anciens Canadiens is the restaurant’s name currently occupies the house.
La Citadelle de Québec & Musee Royal 22e Regiment (Museum)
Sitting on top of Cap Diamant at a height of 100 meters is Québec’s star-shaped Citadel. It was built in 1832, and not only is the fortress protected by thick walls, ramparts, and ditches it is still an active military post. It’s used by generals, officers, servicemen, and the summer residence of the Governor-General of Canada.
The tour guide had a real hatred for Toronto and had no problem expressing his feelings. As upsetting as that was, surprisingly, as a Torontonian, I’m used to it. It’s just jealousy. The Musee Royal 22e Regiment Museum has one of the largest military collections in Canada.
Plains of Abraham
Outside the city walls, to the west of the Citadel, is the Plains of Abraham (Champs de Bataille). This is where the British led by General Wolfe, fought the French-led Montcalm and won back in 1759. Located throughout the park are archaeological artifacts, multi-media exhibits and displays that show the siege of Québec.
Southwest of the old Upper Town, is the seat of Québec’s provincial government. The Parliament, completed in 1877 holds The Salle de l’Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) and Salle du Conseil Législatif (Legislative Council) which are open to the public.
Observatoire de la Capitale
At the top of the Marie-Guyart Building is a 360-degree observatory that provides a bird’s-eye view of Quebec City from the 31st floor. It also has some pretty cool interactive exhibits that show how Québec City developed and grew over the years.
La Buche is a pretty cool place. The manager, Vicky, told me it was inspired by a sugar shack. The inside makes you feel like you’re in a log cabin deep in the Quebecois wilderness. The brick, wood, and stone walls are adorned with various animal pelts and items that locals would use out in the woods for animal trapping. Even their menu is fun!
Francis Bècotte Marchand & Luc Ste-Croix deliver everything from deconstructed shepherd’s pie and tourtière to poutine with a daily topping – all with traditional Quebecois style. As a person who absolutely loves anything made with, covered in, or injected with maple syrup – honestly, I would eat a brick if it was smothered in maple syrup.
I started off dinner with a maple beer brewed by McAuslan called St. Ambroise Maple Beer.
It was one of the best beers I have ever drank.
Gordana had the Two-Salmon Tartar, Ice Cider mayo, Maple Vinegar, Apples, Dill, and Hazelnuts, Served with Fries and Salad. While I had the First Nation Bison Skirt Steak, Mushrooms, Smoked Bacon, and Cariboo Sauce, Served with Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes. For dessert, we split a pure Maple Fudge.
Rue Saint-Louis & Porte Saint-Louis
Porte Saint-Louis was built in 1693. It was replaced by another, further west, in 1745 but was then demolished and rebuilt in 1878 – which is the current one here today.
Weekend Trip to Quebec City: Day 3
For day three, we were accompanied by Elyse Busque, a tour guide with the Quebec City Tourism Board, and probably one of the best times I ever had with a tour guide. Elyse is an absolute delight, with an incredible, witty, sense of humour. Plus
Plus, she was so knowledgeable of the history, the city, the region, and the province – did you know that Quebec “means where the river is narrowest” One of the many things Elyse taught me 🙂
Head to Cote-de-Beaupre
Elyse started us off along Route de la Nouvelle-France, which was like a journey through the first agricultural settlement of New France. The most popular destination is the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica, a famous pilgrimage destination.
The landscape of Cote-de-Beaupre is surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, the Laurentian Mountains, waterfalls, and canyons. This means there are tons of outdoor recreational activities to be experienced on or near Mount Sainte Anne.
See Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Sainte Anne is the patron saint of Québec and dates to 1926, but the first chapel was built in this location back in the 17th century. It is known for its miracles of healing the sick and disabled, which as a result, receives half a million pilgrims each year.
In fact, near the entrance, there are two pillars filled with racks of crutches, canes, braces, etc., left behind by pilgrims who reported being healed. Else told me that the brass doors at the entrance are made of copper and are the handmade work of Albert Gilles (a local Côte-de-Beaupre resident), which depicts biblical scenes.
Track Down Montmorency Falls
The Montmorency Falls are located about 12 km from the heart of old Quebec City and protected within Montmorency Falls Park.
Believe it or not – the waterfalls are 83m tall, which makes them 30m higher than Niagara Falls.
Stop in at Musee de la Civilisation
The Musée de la Civilisation in Québec City looks at the many facets of human history and the establishment of French America. The permanent collection draws from civilizations around the world, as well as exploring the Québec experience.
I usually say museums are great but not great for short trips as they take up a lot of time, but because this Quebec City weekend was a long one, we had an extra day. The illusions collection was an absolute blast!
End Off At Old Port (Vieux Port)
The 19th century Old Port (Vieux Port) used to be bustling with commercial activity centred on Bassin Louise, with a rich maritime and shipping history. Its located on the confluence of the Saint-Charles and St. Lawrence Rivers.
Also on the waterfront is the Marché du Vieux-Port – yes, I’m working on my French — a public market where local artisans and farmers come to sell their wares or fresh produce.
The Perfect 3 Days In Quebec City
I put together the biggest, action-packed list of top things to do in Quebec City.
I’ve been to Europe so many times and can’t believe this little piece of Europe exists in my own backyard.
Gordana and I had an amazing Quebec City weekend and quite honestly I think I’m in love. I’m already looking forward to my next weekend in Quebec City and my mouth is already watering for that smoked meat sandwich and anything covered in maple syrup.
Where To Stay In Quebec City
Hotel Le Germain Quebec
During my weekend in Quebec City, I was invited to stay in the Hotel Le Germain Quebec, located in the neighbourhood that saw the birth of Quebec – Quebec City’s historic Old Port district.
The hotel was inaugurated in 1997 in what was once the office building of Dominion Fish & Fruit Limited, which was erected in 1912; if you’ve ever stayed in a Le Germain Hotel, then you know how meticulous they are in their attention to detail.
Elegance, comfort, refinement, and I’ve got to say they have an outstanding breakfast that will forever challenge your notion of what a continental breakfast should be.
I spoke with Claudine Deblois (Delegate, Business Development at Hôtel Le Germain Québec and Hôtel Le Germain Charlevoix).
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
Since the Frontenac dominates the Quebec City Skyline, I’d feel bad if I didn’t suggest it as a hotel option. Prominent heritage property with views of the St. Lawrence River and on-site restaurants. Elegant, European-style rooms offer cable TV and a coffee maker.
Hotel du Vieux Quebec
Old Quebec hotel can be found within the 18th-century fortified walls of Quebec City’s Latin Quarter. The hotel is within walking distance of all the popular sites – cobblestone streets filled with unique shops, local restaurants, and art galleries.
Le Monastere des Augustines
I’ll discuss Le Monastère des Augustines, a health and wellness center, later in this post. It is a former monastery from the 17th century that has been completely restored. There are two rooms, “Authentic” and “Contemporary.”
Search CozyCozy Instead
If you’re not particular about your type of accommodations, you can head over to CozyCozy and search for the best Quebec City hotels. In addition to hotels, you’ll find an incredible selection of Airbnb, apartments, villas, youth hostels, bed & breakfasts, home exchanges and more all in one place. Save you time and money.
Traditional Quebec Foods To Try During Your Weekend Away
Aside from Canadian back bacon, Beaver Tails, and that golden delicious elixir that is Maple Syrup – it and all its forms, in my opinion, should be Canada’s national dish. You have Poutine, Canada’s official national dish. While the competition for the best Poutine is pretty fierce all around Quebec – my solution is to simply try them all.
Ashton’s has a great dish, as does Chic Shack, both mentioned in this post, but if you’d like to head off the beaten path, try La Fabrique Montcalm in the trendy arts district of Montcalm. The poutine in these parts gets fancy with braised beef, pulled pork, or confit duck.
Pâté chinois is the Quebecois version of a shepherd’s pie. Quebec City is arguably the closest you will get to the French language outside of France and just as the French are well known for and quite particular when it comes to food- from ingredients to preparation to presentation.
Like many dishes, Pâté chinois can be a source of contention when the order of its layers is not respected.
The typical pâté chinois starts with a bottom layer of beef (sometimes with onions), then corn, then mashed potatoes, sometimes sprinkled with paprika on top. Oh, and since this is a dish that reminds most Quebecers of their childhoods, squirting ketchup on their slice is acceptable.
In all honesty, the best pâté chinois is made in most Quebecois homes, but two restaurants create a great dish, La Binerie Mont-Royal, and Restaurant Mâche.
Continuing with meat, Tourtière is a French-Canadian deep-dish meat pie. It can be filled with veal, pork, lamb, beef, moose, or game meat. The pie is double-crusted and delicious.
Adding vegetables won’t be considered a faux pas, but since to focus is on the meat and the crust, why bother?
Oh, and like most things Canadian, it can be enjoyed with homemade ketchup and maple syrup. For the best tourtière in the province, head to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.
When it comes to Quebec and its food, the list is neverending. The provinces infamous smoked meat, bûche de noël, oreilles de crisse, cretons & baked beans, cabane à sucre menu, pets de soeur, ice cider, sucre à la crème and more.
Do not leave this province without Maple fudge or Maple Syrup.
Bonus Must-Do in Quebec City in Winter: Carnaval de Québec
Québec’s two-week winter celebration, Carnaval de Québec, was first held in 1894, and since 1955 it has been an annual tradition headed up by a giant snowman named Bonhomme Carnaval. Bonhomme’s home is a massive castle made of ice, covered in daily, original artwork by Québec’s top graffiti artists.
There are two snow sculpting competitions, the Canadian National and International Snow Sculpting Contest, held at the Plains of Abraham. Other traditional events include dogsled races, parades, dancing, sledding, skating, and snow swimming.
Only in Canada would there be such a thing as snow swimming. Snow swimming brings together the city’s braver residents as they only wear bathing suits while playing on a snow hill. Jeez…
Most activities are free and open to the public, while others require a pass. Official site: https://carnaval.qc.ca/
Planning The Perfect 3 Days In Quebec City
I put together the biggest, action-packed list of top things to do in Quebec City.
I’ve been to Europe many times and can’t believe this little piece of Europe exists in my backyard.
Gordana and I had an amazing Quebec City weekend, and I think I’m in love. I’m already looking forward to my next weekend in Quebec City, and my mouth is already watering for that smoked meat sandwich and anything covered in maple syrup.