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Guide to Québec City’s Old Town


One of my college friends is a Francophile and loves Québec City, especially during the winter carnival! One of the places we’re considering for our 30-year friend-iversary trip is Québec City to experience its French culture and history – with no European jet lag. Here’s a rundown of recommended food, bars, shops, and luxury hotels worth visiting in New France.

Excerpt below from Virtuoso article dated 7/21/22 by Jen Rose Smith can be found here.

For a cobblestoned aerie at the wilderness cusp, Québec City wears its centuries of history with a distinctly modern sensibility. Founded by explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1608, it was to be New France’s riverside heart. Though gabled roofs within the UNESCO-listed ramparts retain a soupçon of Paris, a closer look reveals Northwoods avant-garde. Chic restaurants craft cutting-edge boréal cuisine sourced from nearby forests; Inuit sculpture in Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec showcases Indigenous innovators work in bone and rock. Upper-latitude luxuries abound: Boutiques brim with lush woolens, while thermal pools at Strøm Nordic Spa are steamy vantage points from which to watch tides pulling at the Saint Lawrence River. Over time, the city has swelled to just over half a million residents, but most historic sites cozy into the walkable hilltop Upper Town and riverside Lower Town, with a vintage funicular to link the two.

Eat

Refined tasting menus at Le Clan nod to producers with deep ties to the Québec landscape, but the new restaurant transcends the usual farm-to-table fare. Portraits of fishermen and farmers line the moodily hip dining room. One angler even harvests barrels of seawater for use in the restaurant’s sour-dough loaves.

A sugar shack is no place for restraint: Re-creating the woodsy conviviality of maple season, Restaurant La Bûche is a syrup-drenched entrée to Québécois comfort food. Try hearty poutine, tourtière meat pie, or pork cretons on toast, followed by a gooey dollop of maple taffy on snow.

Drink

Exuberant summertime energy feels like a season-long party at La Cour arrière du Festibière, where revelers split sangria pitchers in a riverfront, ankle-deep wading pool from June through September.

In the stylish Saint-Roch neighborhood, a gardenlike terrace wraps cooperative microbrewery La Barberie. Beers range from blackberry-tart Blanche aux Mûres white beer to Marée Basse wild ale, aged for two years in Bordeaux barrels.

Shop

Amid the Upper Town’s centuries-old tangle of streets, Innu-owned Atikuss sells beaded moccasins and mukluks sewn in Québec’s remote North Shore community of Uashat mak Mani-utenam by First Nations women artisans. Accents of fur from responsibly hunted beaver, fox, or seal banish cold in bespoke, knee-high leather “hopeboots” with an Arctic-ready designer sensibility.

From the Upper Town, ride the 1879 funicular downhill to endlessly browsable galleries and boutiques along rue du Petit-Champlain. Sample local treats at Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault, including piquant ice cider fermented from late-harvest apples left to freeze when winter temps plummet.

Stay

Copper-roofed turrets at the 610-room Fairmont le Château Frontenac crown Québec City’s Upper Town, high ground that lends the 1893 property marvelous views. A longtime perch for royalty – both the old-world and Hollywood varieties – the Château’s oak-paneled lobby exudes Jazz Age sophistication. Snag a window seat at elegant Champlain restaurant to watch summertime fireworks over the Saint Lawrence. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

History is intimate at Auberge Saint-Antoine, whose Lower Town location is a two-minute walk from the Old Port’s main cruise terminal. Archaeological artifacts found on-site are displayed in each of its 95 distinctly designed rooms and suites, while flagship restaurant Chez Muffy serves warmly sophisticated farm-to-table cuisine in a stone-walled, 1822 maritime warehouse that’s been reverently updated. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

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