Even on the blustery days of April and early May, North America’s most European city, Québec City, charms. Its cobblestone streets and New France architecture, some which dates back to the late 1600s, could be a fairytale set. What could be a better way to begin a fairytale ending than strolling along Dufferin Terrace with the beautiful St. Lawrence River on one side and the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac on the other? Live music playing? Sometimes there is. A saxophonist was playing a love song as we made our way into the castle.
If you walk into the right bakery at the right time, you may be treated to the cheerful sounds of live accordion music. Wander the streets of Quartier Petit Champlain and you may see artists painting on canvases. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Old Québec is easy to fall in love with. Now that you know you want to go, here’s a getaway to-do list and suggested itinerary:
Make Your Hotel, Dinner, & Spa Reservations
Reserve a room at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. After all, Château Frontenac is to Québec City what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, iconic and romantic. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company in 1893, its French Renaissance style is equal parts charm and sophistication. Perhaps that’s why it is the world’s most photographed hotel.
Book a Couples’ Massage. It can only make a romantic getaway more romantic, right? Moment Spa is located inside of Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. The best way to relax and enjoy one (imho) is by booking it well ahead of time.
Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner Reservations
- Chez Boulay – bistro boréal
- Le Sam Bistro (Bistro Le Sam) . Le Sam is also open for lunch. As I write this, Chez Boulay is not. The above two spots serve delicious, innovative dishes with French and Northern flair.
- For brunch, reserve a spot at La Buche. The food is scrumptious, the service is friendly, and the atmosphere is woodsy, rustic, and full of Quebecois charm.
- If artisan pizzas and delicious pastas are your love language, reserve a spot at Sapristi, which translates to Holy Shit! As in Holy Shit their pastas, pizzas, and craft cocktails are really, really good. So is there service. There are two in town. We went to the one in Lower Town, Little Champlain.
What To Do:
Bakery Walk. Start your day(s) off sweet by walking to a bakery (or two, or three). There are plenty of stairs in the city, so you can work off the croissants as needed. Check out our “Are These The Best 3 Bakeries in Québec City?” video for more details.
Shop Quartier Petit Champlain. It’s an enchanting spot for window shoppers and serious shoppers alike. There are fun and elegant items available at a variety of price points. My favorite shop during our stay was Boutique Zazou. I so appreciated the attentive service given as I was trying to find the right fit for my first Canada sweater.
Visit Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, because waterfalls, rainbows, and cable cars are trés romantique! The falls stand nearly 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls. We had a great time there even though we visited in off-season (mid-April) and parts of the park had not yet opened. While there, you might want to consider a visit to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. The architecture, art, and history there are stunning. It’s a 15-minute drive to the waterfalls and only a little farther to the basilica. Watch “We Visited Québec’s Tallest Waterfall and a Church” to get a more complete idea of what this lovely half-day trip entails.
Romantic Couples Getaway in Québec City Itinerary:
4 P.M. Check in at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.
5 P.M. Happy Hour at the 14th Floor Private Lounge if you booked a Gold room. Or, at Bar 1608 in Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, if you did not. Either option is marvelous.
7 P.M. Dinner at Chez Boulay bistro boréal. It’s within easy walking distance of the hotel and gives you a chance to be out and about in Old Québec.
9 P.M. Nightcap at Bar 1608. Ask for a seat by the window for a view of the St. Lawrence River. For drinks we recommend an Old Fashioned with Knob Creek 9-Year Bourbon, or an Espresso Martinez – it’s a bit different from the traditional Espresso Martini.
8 A.M. Fuel up with cappuccinos and croissants. We recommend Paillard, Boulangerie Pâtisserie Le Croquembouche, and La Boîte à Pain. They’re all within walking distance, but Paillard is the closest to the hotel.
10 A.M. Head out to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and Basilica de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Bring snacks, so that it’s easy to enjoy a late lunch back in Old Québec.
1 P.M. Lunch at Le Bistro Sam.
3 P.M. Couples Massage at Moment Spa Le Château Frontenac.
6 P.M. Dinner at Sapristi.
9 P.M. Nightcap at St. Patrick’s Pub. It’s quite a large place, so we didn’t have any trouble getting a table for drinks.
8 A.M. Fuel up with cappuccinos and croissants at one of the bakeries you didn’t visit the day before.
10 A.M. Relax and enjoy your room, pack up, and prepare for checkout.
12:00 P.M. Brunch at La Buche.
2 P.M. Shop Quartier Petit Champlain.
Is that enough time to spend in Old Québec? Probably not. It’s good to leave, knowing you’ll want to return though, right?
P.S. While French is the dominant language, most people in the retail and service industry speak English as well. While living in the area for a month, I only encountered three situations where the person didn’t feel confident in their ability to speak English. Between their limited English and my limited French, we were able to sort things out. Everyone seemed quite kind about our language struggles.
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