One of Québec City’s best features is its walkability. “That is,” says Victoria Drainville, “if you have the right boots for the job.” Little else is required to enjoy this truly great Canadian design destination.
1. Start the day with a stroll in the Quartier Petit-Champlain. Lined with charming stores and quaint restaurants, the area has a European feel thanks to some of the most beautiful stone buildings in the country. If you love to cook, don’t miss a visit to Pot en Ciel. Many of the shop’s kitchen items are imported from France.
2. In the Old City, make your way to Un Fauteuil Pour Deux. Furnishings from all over the world reflect owner Nancy Ricard’s passion for travel. Victoria’s fallen for some pillow shams (left).
3. If you agree with the idea that a room is never complete without at least one antique, then you’ll love Québec City. The Antique District on la rue St-Paul is Victoria’s go-to spot and a must visit shop is La Nouvelle-France Antiquités for Québec folk art. Owner Yves Duval is happy to share the history of any of his pieces.
4. Mà Mobilier Actuel, located in the new and upcoming Saint-Roch District, sells contemporary furniture that reflects the look and style of the Orient. Their exclusive collection is predominantly made of tropical woods that originate from controlled forests.
5. After a satisfying day of shopping in the Old City and Saint-Roch District, it may be time to splurge on a cab ride back to the upper city. If you still have energy, make your way to Zone Maison and enjoy trendy home décor at reasonable prices. With fabulous gadgets and accessories for humans and our four-legged friends, you’re bound to find an inspired holiday gift.
“Clothed in a fluffy blanket of snow, it’s easy to surrender to Québec’s wintry charms,” muses our Dabble Dare contributor Kathy Buckworth, “but having my photo taken in a towel….now that takes courage.”
1. First on the agenda is a trip to theaptly named Sibéria Station Spa, located 20 minutes outside the city in a wooded sanctuary. The “Nordic Spa” experience involves sliding into an outdoor hot pool, before plunging into the cold water version. Kathy’s pretty sure she knows which pool she’ll like most before she even tries them.
2. Next on the agenda is Le Marché du Vieux Port. The local Farmers Market sells fromage non affine a pâte ferme (aka unpasteurized cheese), an item dear to Kathy’s poutine-loving daughter. If you are nouveau to poutine, it is actually French for “mess”, but the combination of fries, cheese and gravy… c’est magnifique.
3. Join the Bonhomme de Neige (official Snowman mascot) for the 58th Québec Winter Carnival, January 27 – February 12, 2012. The largest winter festival in the world features diverse cultural activities such as sleigh rides, skating, dogsledding, canoe racing, snow rafting and ziplining.
4. Directly behind the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is the imposing statue of Québec City’s founder, Samuel de Champlain. His figure marks the boundary of Upper Town, characterized by the grand buildings and gardens of the Legislature. The best way to see this part of the city is with a somewhat ubiquitous horse and carriage ride. The ripe horsey smells and scratchy wool blankets to keep you warm are part of the complete experience.
5. After exploring Upper Town, a toonie (two dollar coin) is all it costs to ride the Funicular back down to Lower Town, where the scene is a magical, snow-filled holiday post card setting of shops, restaurants, cafés, and the occasional sugar shack.
Experience the old world feel of the city by staying at the Fairmont Le Château Fontenac (ABOVE) which dates to 1893. Québec City is a walking city; after a comfortable night’s sleep you’ll wake up feeling like a king or queen.
Dabble Savvy: While most of the views are lovely, the best is from the Princess Grace of Monaco Suite (Rooms 1401-02).
Québec City is loaded with history, but you’ll enjoy the contrast of a contemporary hotel stay with Hotel Le Germain-Dominion. Custom headboards sport digitalized photography that captures the city’s best architecture.
For many, the Auberge St. Antoine is the best hotel in Canada. From the outside, the unimposing building is deceiving, but enter the lobby and the crackling fireplace wins you over. Upon closer inspection, crisp white walls are an ideal backdrop to historic artefacts housed behind thick glass. The best of old and new Québec.