Standing on a bridge overlooking the only fortified city in North America, a hint of rain touches my cheek and pulls me out of my enamoured state. It’s as though I am in a European town miles from Canada. Yet there I was in magical Old Quebec City, a part of Canada I had never truly explored. The city was founded in 1608 by French explorer Samuel de Champlain and is made up of 4.6 km of stonewalls beckoning to be explored. It also boasts the title of being a UNESCO world heritage site.
Historic Old Quebec
Quaint cafés with the smell of fresh pastries wafting from the open doors greet me at every turn, cyclists yielding baskets of fresh produce and the quintessential baguettes from the local market whisk by me. With each sense awakened I strolled idly along the cobblestone streets to the Funicular in the centre of Old Quebec.
Built in 1879, the funicular climbs 240 feet upwards offering optimal views. I could see the Old Town stretched out before me – the lovely Petite Champlain district, and the towering beauty of Notre Dame des Victoires Church as people bustled below.
It is hard not to become rather smitten with Quebec City anytime of the year. From the twinkling lights and snow laden streets during the holidays, to bright flower boxes and a plethora of outdoor patios that open up on the old streets during the summer, the city entices you to linger long after sunset. That’s when you indulge in the wonderful French fare, stellar wine and, of course, plates of Quebec fromage & dessert.
Indulge at Le Tournebroche
Be sure to have your taste buds all set for this gourmet spot. The local from-farm-to-table approach is what it is about at this French inspired bistro. I started off with a pint of the Dorée Beer, which is infused with subtle hints of Quebec honey.
It’s the perfect compliment to the organic folie board served up with an abundance of tasty flavours, from wild boar rillettes, to chicken paté and local cheese fondant (which I could not get enough of). Le Tournebrouche even houses several bee hives on its rooftop and makes a superb roof-top honey crème brûlée that can’t be missed.
Peddle into Beauty
Quebec City is a nature lovers dream; just minutes from the city leads you to fabulous trails. One of the best ways to explore the vast trail system is by renting a bike. Cyclo Services offers a variety of choices and will help you get all geared up and ready to head into the countryside!
I made my way along 12 km of fairly flat trails that led me to Montmorency Falls Park. Its 276 feet of sheer waterfall beauty welcomed me from afar. You can spend the day there watching the sun cast its glow on the falls, walk across the suspension bridge (not for the faint of heart), or simply just breathing it all in.
All Blissed Out
Spa Des Neiges, which means “the snow spa” is the perfect end to a fabulous day in Quebec. Located on the banks of the St Lawrence River, this tranquil spot offers outdoor heated pools with cascading waterfalls to add to the lovely aesthetic. They even have a cold plunge pool to dip into – a great way to cool down your warm body temperature and it’s refreshing too.
I loved the steam and the outdoor hammocks where you can sway back and forth overlooking the river. They even serve wine and spirits here with a food menu. I noshed on a plate of yummy nachos while sipping a local brew. The best part of Spa Des Neiges is the price – it’s only $36 to enjoy the facilities from Monday to Thursday and $44 Friday to Sunday.