Our latest city guide features the charming, French infused city of Quebec which we were lucky enough to visit a couple weekends ago with dear friends. Strolling the streets of Old Quebec is like traveling back in time - with its cobblestone streets, fortified city walls and nostalgic shops selling everything from speciality chocolates to furs. Despite scheduling the trip of the middle of March, the city was blanketed in a fresh layer of snow and still depicted a winter wonderland. Even my Michigan upbringing couldn't have prepared me for the amount of snow that covered the city - many places were coated with over 6 ft! If you can brave the cold temps, this city is a cozy dream filled with exquisite French food and breathtaking scenery.
FOOD & DRINK:
1608 - Wine & Cheese Bar: Set in the renowned Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the name and ambiance of this bar harkens back to the city's founding date and site. Featuring a plethora of cocktails, wines and cheese - 1608 is the perfect spot for relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery (inside and outside of the hotel).
Café-bar Artefact: The perfect spot of escaping the cold and cozying up by the fire, we ended up spending an afternoon enjoying conversation, yummy cocktails and games of checkers in our own semi-private room. Set in the gorgeous Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel, the bar is located in the lobby and exhibits the same luxe, historical vibe. If you're a fan of grapefruit infused drinks, their Aphrodite cocktail was divine :)
Chez Jules: This charming bistro features seasonal, refined French food. The perfect place for enjoying those classic French dishes - tartare, anyone?
L'Affaire Est Ketchup: If you share a guilty pleasure for Anthony Bourdain's shows like myself, you may have seen this place featured on Parts Unknown while exploring the city's culinary scene. Its quirky interior, friendly staff and unpretentiously French food are an absolute delight. I definitely recommend making a reservation in advance, as this place fills up quickly on weekends and you'd be hard pressed to find a table without one. One additional note - given the small vicinity of the space and its open-faced kitchen (where they cook your places on a small electric stove), your clothes will end of smelling of the plates you consumed the night before... Which adds to the experience, right?
Image via restoquebec
La Planque: Would love to check out this rustic gastropub on a future visit!
Le Clocher Penché: If you're looking for a brunch spot, this bistro is a must. Incorporating locally sourced ingredients, this farm-to-table's menu boosts everything from salmon tartare with a grapefruit emulsion to a poached egg on an herbed waffle.
Image via foodieinquebec
Saint Henri: Located on one of the main stretches in the Saint-Roch neighborhood, this bright coffee house embodies a natural, Scandinavian-style interior. Think lots of clean, whitewashed walls and natural wood - perfect for enjoying a great cup of coffee.
Lastly, no trip to Quebec is complete without poutine, originating in the province. Be sure to grab a dish while visiting at one of the many restaurants featuring the dish... You'll definitely feel very full after :)
Swell & Ginger: Featuring a beautiful assortment of pastel-colored women's clothing, this modern boutique is located in the heart of trendy Saint-Roch on Rue St-Joseph. It's full everything from pretty bombers to super soft knitwear.
Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec: If you're looking to taste a wide selection of local foods, Marché du Vieux-Port is the city's largest farmer's market. Featuring a wide range of products - from fresh produce, artisan cheese, to speciality syrups and preserves - this is a great spot for picking up a unique souvenir from your travels.
Zozo + Arty: Unfortunately, this shop was closed by the time we discovered it but the windows boosted the most adorable selection of baby and kids clothing and toys. Definitely swing by if you're in the market and find yourself near the Saint-Roch neighborhood.
Château Frontenac: The iconic hotel is a must-see (you probably couldn't miss it given it's stately presence, even if you tried) on your trip. Explore the grounds, the riverside boardwalk features spectacular views of the St. Lawrence and a great place for taking some snaps. If you're feeling adventurous, grab a toboggan and test out the luge - followed quickly by a cup of hot cocoa. If you aren't staying at the hotel, be sure to wander around the enchanting interior public spaces and see firsthand why it is a National Historic Site in Canada.
La Citadelle: The official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada, this National Historic Site is located atop Cap Diamant. Its star-shaped fortification walls enclose 300 years of the city's history - from the French colonial period until present day. If you're a history buff, check out the museum and its rotating exhibitions.
St-Roch, Limoilou & Old Québec: Explore the city's trendy, creative side in St-Roch and Limoilou. Both districts bustle with vibrant restaurants, beautiful churches, avant-garde art and a quirky selection of shops. Grab a beer at the local brewery, La Barberie (just a couple blocks away from Saint-Joseph), and take in the laid-back scene.
Seeming worlds away (no pun intended), Old Quebec is as picturesque as it gets. Full of landmarks and awe-inspiring architecture, spend the day walking the cobblestone streets and climbing the many flights of stairs to take it all in. The breathtaking views and side street charm are sure to be imprinted on your memory.
Have you been to Quebec or planning a trip soon? Leave us a comment on your favorite places or things you hope to see!
+MY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS: