Our anniversary weekend getaway was planned way back in the dead of winter and we could hardly believe it was here. No kids, time together, and a wee adventure all in one glorious long weekend.
When we had first decided to go to Québec City, I envisioned a road trip along the St. Lawrence, poking in at the various towns along the way. My husband was the one who suggested the train and I went along with it, but I wasn’t keen on it.
Boy was I wrong.
No hassle, good food, friendly staff and pure relaxation is how we spent the six hour journey. Despite the ungodly departure time (6:30 a.m.) we were able to recuperate with a nap and our picnic breakfast of bagels, smoke salmon cream cheese, champagne and orange juice and, of course, coffee.
The train arrives right outside Vieux Québec, and was just steps from our hotel – Only five hundred metres away. What the guidebooks don’t tell you is that it’s a vertical five hundred metres! We quickly realized how out of shape we were when we arrived at our hotel red-faced and gasping for air.
Fortunately our room was ready when we arrived and we were able to freshen up and take on the sites of the old city. We soon realized that Québec City is uphill, no matter which way you go. The great news was that our hotel was always on the way down those hills which made retiring at the end of the day particularly sweet.
I need to mention right away how wonderful this hotel was. Every morning, at 8 a.m., a basket was hung outside our door that contained a delightful breakfast. Every. Morning. I was in heaven!
We headed first to the main attraction of Québec City: le Château Frontenac. There we sat and had a lovely drink with a lovely view.
From there, we went to what can only be described as a restaurant not much bigger than my own kitchen. And the food was cooked on a simple white stove and the atmosphere was as if you were visiting an old friend. And we had the most amazing food we’ve ever eaten. Scallops that melted in your mouth. Lobster that was divine. And I now have a new-found love for Jerusalem artichokes.
The next day we roamed around the city taking in the sights and enjoying the laid-back, Euro-Canadian atmosphere. At dusk, we took the ferry to Lévis to watch the sun set over the city. It was a warm, calm evening to cross the St. Lawrence and made for the perfect beginning of our evening.
From there we wandered the cobblestone streets and settled on a patio where lanterns hung overhead, growing brighter as the day grew darker. Because we were at river level, there was another climb up the hill before we could make our way down the hill to the hotel. To our joy, we discovered that Québec City has a funicular! As it climbed the massive cliff, we emerged above the rooftops to another stunning view of the city at night.
For our last day, we made our way to the Plains of Abraham. In a bit of spectacular strategic planning, we walked along the wall at St. Louis Gates and then climbed the hill at the Citadel. After another self promise to work out more, we recovered in the pavilion at the top to more breathtaking views on a clear, sunny day.
The spectacular strategic planning came in as we made our way down, not up, the 301 stairs to the edge of the Château Frontenac. To celebrate our brilliance, we treated ourselves to a gourmet poutine at le Chic Shack
The next day we left at a much more civilized time and walked downhill to the train station. We had loads of time before our departure so we checked our luggage and went to the Marché du Vieux Port. There were perused around the best Quebec has to offer: fresh seafood from le Gaspé, blueberry jam, pear cider, baked goods and the biggest assortment of maple products I’ve ever seen.
For the train ride home, we splurged and sat in Business Class.
Lots of room; a lunch and dinner served; and wine came with both meals!
Looking for a séjour that is reasonable in budget and travel time? Go to Québec City.
Ça vaut la peine.