Hi ya! I’m back from a mini-vacation. My husband and I went on a road trip to Quebec City. This was our third visit to the city. The first time was in 2011 and the second time was in 2013. Needless to say, we love it there which is why we keep returning. We had a blast and of course I’m sharing what we did and giving a list of restaurant recommendations.
This is our third visit to Quebec City and all three times we stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton Quebec Resort. It’s located about 15 minutes from Quebec City. It has a beautiful golf course and spa (although we’ve never used either). The heated spa pool is the best part, especially after walking five miles a day or climbing 487 stairs (I’ll get to both those later).
This city is amazing! It has so much to offer, from the wonderful history, the breathtaking views, the amazing architecture of the buildings, the beautiful churches, lots of shops, and let’s not forget the restaurants. It feels like you are in Europe. The food, you guys, is amazing. Of all our travels, Quebec City has been one of our favorite food spots.
You can walk around for hours. And we did. The first time we visited we used Frommer’s interactive maps. Don’t let the name fool you, there isn’t anything digital involved, or for that matter interactive. They were however great lists of things to check out with a convenient map to help you find them. You can choose a walking guide depending on where you want to go and how much time you have. I absolutely recommend those maps if you’re new to the city. They are easy to read and free.
We walked around the upper town, which is the part of Old Quebec that is, well, the upper part. You’ll know you’re there because the Chateau Frontenac is there with you. While we’ve never stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, it is a gorgeous site to see. You can take a tour of the hotel, and there is a huge boardwalk to look at the St. Lawrence River from (and see lower town from). We’ve never done the tour, because we mostly figure it’s but I thought I’d mention it. My husband took the picture (above) of the Frontenac.
Every time we visit I “ooh and ah” over the Christmas store. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but it’s the store in the middle.
Rue de Tresor is infamous for where artists display and sell their works of art. It’s so inspiring.
This trip included our first time visiting the lower town, which I absolutely loved. Cait, the blogger of Southern Curls and Pearls, recommended a few restaurants. After a lot of walking around in upper town, we realized that we’d never seen any of the places or streets even that she’d mentioned. A bit of digging around on our phones and we realized there was an entire part of town that we never been to before. It’s definitely a must see. (It was super adorable!)
And every corner is cuter than the last! Don’t trip on the cobblestones, which of course I didn’t do.
We could have sat here for hours watching people walk by (in a non-creepy way).
I feel like I’m looking down Diagon Alley here. Any Harry Potter fans out there?
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
This park is gorgeous and definitely a must see. The Montmorency Falls are beautiful, measuring in at over 272 feet tall (higher than Niagara Falls which is about 167 feet tall). We’ve been here twice (on two separate visits). We recommend visiting on a weekday to avoid crowds. There are two parking lots on the property, one at the top of park by Manoir Montmorency and one at the bottom of the park by Le Sandwicherie. You can ride a cable car between the two locations (which we like to do) or you can take the stairs.
Le Sandwicherie is a cute shop that sells food and souvenirs. We enjoyed a quick snack (a yummy croissant) before we started our stair climbing adventure.
Do you see the stairs to the right of the Falls? There are 487 steps and it’s a workout and a half. Seriously, my calves were sore for days. It offers gorgeous views of the falls, the manoir, and even Quebec City in the distance.
You can walk along the cliff and over the suspended foot bridge to catch a view from the top of the Falls. It is very loud up there (from the waterfall).
After all that exercise, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the restaurant in the Manoir where we sat outside to enjoy the beautiful view of the Falls. We tried poutine for the first time. The classic dish consists of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curd. It was delicious! It’s THE thing to eat in Quebec City, and available in at least one form on practically every menu in the city.
Driving / Language
If you are driving to and around Quebec, all of the signs are in French. I highly recommend brushing up on Quebec’s road rules and signage before your first trip to familiarize yourself with the basics. We don’t speak French, unless you count “bonjour” or “merci,” but we were still able to navigate around well. The tricks are just remembering which words are the translations of the compass directions for the highways and getting your brain around the flashing green traffic lights.
Also, speaking of French, most Quebec natives at the tourist spots speak English. On our first road trip to Quebec we hit a gas station that was away from tourist spots and the attendant did not speak any English at all, but other than that we’ve had no issues with communication. In other words, there are a lot of English speaking folks around, but venture away from tourist spots at your own peril.
Cora. This restaurant is like a Canadian IHOP, but with crepes instead of pancakes. (Though they actually do have pancakes too, so I have no idea how to make this comparison.) They have 130 locations and we went to the one on rue Bouvier. They do speak English, which is obviously a good thing for us, and of course the best part is that the food was delicious. Make sure to check the hours that they are open because unlike IHOP, most of the Cora locations close at 3:00pm (15h).
Lunch / Dinner
Les 3 Brasseurs. We enjoyed a light lunch here. The crispy pretzel chicken was uh-mazing! This restaurant has many locations, which we didn’t know when we stumbled by it hungry. We went to the one on Grande Allee East in upper town and we sat outside.
Sapristi. This was my favorite restaurant of the entire trip. It’s a cute restaurant like so many of the ones that line the streets of Old Quebec. This spot is in the lower town, so if you don’t find it, you are probably in the wrong part.
We shared a Greek salad and margherita pizza. The pizza was ridiculously delicious.
Chez Livernois Bistro. We didn’t eat here this visit but we did go last time and really enjoyed the food. Neither of us remember what we ate but we both remember that it was good, and this place offered a perfect choice when we realized the Irish Pub next door had a super long wait. I remember having the most delicious hot chocolate. We had gone in October and a hot beverage was much needed to stay warm. That was much different than this recent visit where it was hot enough to inspire the consumption of ice cream instead.
Snack / Dessert
Delices Erable & Cie. This shop is adorable. They offer a variety of sweet treats. We enjoyed maple gelato. If you’re going to enjoy a maple treat then Canada (or Vermont, USA) is THE place to get it because it’s delicious and you can really taste the maple syrup. They have a few locations. We went to the one in Old Quebec on St-Jean Street. We’ve literally been to this place every time we have been in the area, and every time we say “Hey, this is that maple place we went in last time too!” If you want maple anything, this is the place to buy it. They have everything from syrup to candy to tea to coffee to gelato to fudge. If it can be made with maple, it’s in there somewhere.
Saint-Creme. This is one of the cutest ice cream shops in town. Not to mention that it’s one of the few that offer “hard” ice cream. We found that most of the ice cream shops in Old Quebec only offered soft serve ice cream or gelato. There’s nothing wrong with a good soft serve, but you can do more interesting things with hard ice cream and that makes it the preference for both me and my husband.
Bar Laitier Deli-Lot. This is another cute ice cream shop. This place had both soft and hard ice cream, and is super easy to miss. Okay, the big ice cream cone sign they put in the sidewalk helps to point you in the right direction, but the store isn’t much bigger than the sign.
La Maison Smith. This was my favorite sweet stop of the entire trip and I absolutely recommend it. It’s located in Place Royale, which is a charming square. We sat outside and enjoyed the view and each other’s company. (Of course this also gave me the opportunity to snap some pictures.) They offer a variety of pastries, chocolates, sandwiches, and beverages.
I enjoyed a cappuccino which I then subsequently spilled all over myself and my husband, don’t ask. Note to self, ask for a top next time. We also enjoyed some delicious macarons. This was the first time I’ve had macarons and I can see why they’re so popular. Not only are they pretty, they are delicious. Brace yourself though, they have like 15 flavors, and you’ll probably want to try all of them, but they are expensive. The math serves as a warning to remind you to pick a few you want to try and maybe go back later for more if you can’t get enough. That way the amount of money you are asked for won’t be a total shock.
Writing this post makes me miss Quebec already! I can’t wait to go back. We’re pretty sure the next time we go, we’d like to try to stay directly in Old Quebec for a change. We’ll see what we decide on, and I’m sure I’ll let you know all about it.
If you plan to visit, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions. Au Revoir!