I need to start off this post by letting you all know I had a MAJOR pregnancy brain moment and erased an SD card with the majority of my images from this trip. I had previously uploaded a few and thank goodness for cell phones, but that is why it has taken me a bit longer to get this post up. I was trying to see if there was any way to get them back…but no such luck. Anyways, pictures are great, but when traveling Matt and I do a ton of research reading up on where to stay, restaurants, etc. so the meat of this post will still be filled with helpful information.
Quebec City has been on our winter bucket list for quite some time and as I mentioned before, due to Matt’s work schedule we tend to plan long weekend trips a bit more last minute and that was the case for this trip. Lodging was limited, very limited…so I recommend if going around Christmas time you book in advance, but it worked out so well because we stayed at the absolute best hotel, filled with so much charm, character, cozy fireplaces and one of the best restaurants in the city!
WHERE WE STAYED:
While you hear a ton about the Fairmont when traveling to Quebec City, this Chateau was fully booked leaving us to book elsewhere and I am so happy we did. Matt and I popped into the Fairmont twice to check it out, but it was PACKED with people, events, conventions, and for me it was way too overwhelming and didn’t quite fit in with the small city charm I was looking for. We were lucky to snag a room at the Auberge Saint-Antoine, a boutique hotel in the heart of Old Quebec. It was exactly what I was imagining and perfect for this winter weekend getaway. Matt and I apparently didn’t pay much attention when booking, because as I mentioned we were doing this last minute, and grabbed the last room they had available which happened to be the 007 suite. Needless to say, the room was amazing and the perfect place to stay if traveling with a family (it had a small kitchen, living-room with a Christmas tree, two bathrooms). More than we needed, but we decided as we grow our family we plan to make this an annual trip and stay here again! What I love about the location of this hotel is that it is a quick 3 minute walk to the heart of Old Quebec City, whereas the Fairmont is up on a hill and you need to walk down or take a tram to get to the majority of the town.
WHAT TO DO:
Since we were there around Christmas time, it was honestly a true winter wonderland. I have never experienced a city that puts so much thought, effort and time into decorating for a holiday. You felt as if you were walking through a perfect holiday movie scene. Matt and I spent a lot of our days walking around, exploring and popping in and out of shops. We were lucky while there and it wasn’t too cold (in the 30’s), but typically it is single digits so you want to make sure you DRESS WARM. Lots of layers, a hat, gloves and scarf are a must. To be honest you will see a ton of people walking around in snow pants and pieces you would wear skiing (I would toss my coat aside for .5 seconds to snap these pics). Also, make sure you are wearing snow boots, I lived in my Sorel boots and truly they were the safest and warmest shoe choice with all the snow, slush and ice.
La Boutique de Noël de Québec – You have to check out this magical holiday wonderland. It is a shop that is filled with all things Christmas and fun to walk around, check out all the ornaments and just the way everything is decorated and laid out.
German Christmas Market – Try and go at an off time because this place gets packed! It is an outdoor market with all different small shop vendors selling unique items and also offers places to grab a small bite to eat or drink. It is open from November 22 to December 23, Thursday through Sunday, all day long. It is located on the upper part of the hill, right next to the Fairmont hotel.
Toboggan Ride at the Fairmont Hotel – I was so bummed I had to sit this one out (pregnancy), but Matt had a blast! I think each ride is about $3.50 and you get to go down a long toboggan hill. He said that even the view from the top was worth it and just an overall fun outdoor activity. If you watch my Quebec City Instagram Stories Highlight you will see a video I took of his coming down and then one he took from his perspective!
Grab a hot chocolate from Cafe La Maison Smith – There are a few locations, but the one in the heart of Old Quebec City (where it is fully decorated) was by far our favorite and the one with most charm. In the afternoons there is a gentleman outside who sells maple taffy that they make right in front of you by pouring the hot taffy over ice and rolling it on a stick (see video on my Quebec City Highlight). It is fun to watch and makes for a yummy treat!
Le Funiculaire – A quick tram nestled right in the heart of town that for a few bucks takes you up and down the steep hill. The hill isn’t bad to walk, but taking the tram at least once is a fun was to get a great birds eye view of the city and beyond!
Bar Ste-Angele – The cutest little jazz bar tucked back on the streets of Quebec, located more towards the top if the hill. The perfect way to end the evening and keep cozy!
Pub L’oncle Antoine – Located just steps away form our hotel, we popped in here for a drink before dinner. This bar had the coziest atmosphere, it was as if you were inside a cave with a big fireplace burning. The best little spot to warm up before venturing back out into the cold.
WHERE TO EAT:
Le Chic Shack – BEST poutine and maple salted caramel milkshake. Matt and I were determined to find the best place to enjoy this decadent meal and Le Chic Shack did not disappoint. Both the shake and poutine are super rich and heavy so Matt and I split one of each, which was perfect.
Chez Muffy – A well known restaurant located within our hotel, Matt and I tried to get reservations here before our trip with no such luck, but popped in one night and lucked out with two seats at the bar. We both did the tasting menu and each dish was filled with so much flavor. Would highly recommend giving this spot a try, not only was the food divine, but it had the coziest atmosphere with fireplaces, exposed wooden beams and the best service.
La Buche – We popped in here unplanned for brunch and this place was PACKED! Apparently known for their boozy brunch as many tables were opting for the bottomless mimosas. Matt got adventurous and tried rabbit wings and the yummiest chickpea soup. I stuck with a more simple dish of eggs, bacon and potatoes. Something I did struggle with in Quebec was the very adventurous meat options – I am not a big meat eater to begin with, so found selecting items on the menus to be a bit tricky more often than not.
Cafe Saint-Malo – Quaint little place with very authentic, French cuisine. This spot was our first lunch of the trip and you could tell it was a local favorite. Matt and I split their onion soup and the soup of the day, followed by Quebec’s take on a ham and cheese sandwich.
Bistros Sous le Fort – Our last dinner of the trip, we decided to forego our fancier reservation and pop into somewhere in town. A cozy little restaurant that hit the spot.