Montreal and Old Quebec
I often get asked about where I sleep and eat when I come back from my travels. When I find things worth recommending I am all for shouting them from the rooftops! Though, that can be a double-edged sword. One must weigh the recommendations of treasures with the certainty that such places will become over-run with tourists.
- For a mid-day coffee and croissant break, head to Paillard. They have the best croissants in Old Quebec and their cafe au lait is served up in bowls, in true French fashion. They have great salads and sandwiches for lunch too. Grab a crusty-doughy Parisian-style baguette for the road.
- Looking for traditional French bistro food at downright bargain prices in a lively atmosphere? Follow the locals over to Les Frères de la Côte, which is the restaurant in the Hotel du Vieux Quebec. Choose from salmon, pizza, confit de canard and osso bucco. But the deal of the century is the never-ending bowls of mussels, prepared in your choice of three different broths, (with extra bread for broth-sopping) all for under $16.
- For a special treat, head to rue Saint-Paul in Lower Town to experience a touch of the South of France. Mistral Gagnant feels like it was plucked right from Provence. The brightly colored decor combined with the seafood-forward menu offers an experience only the French Riviera could rival. Splurge on the authentic Marseilles classic fish soup, bouillabaisse, complete with croutons and rouille. Snag one of three tables in the front window and finish off with a Pastis to help it all go down smoothly.
- The Café Experience. Many long for it and I am no exception. And no, I am not recommending a Starbucks! I found a hidden-gem-of-a-café, in the back streets of Upper Town. Perfect for breakfast, coming in from the rain for a shot of espresso at the bar, wasting hours on your laptop or for a delicious home-made lunch prix-fixe for about $12 Canadian. Chez Temporel exudes charm and warmth with it’s dim lighting, yellow walls and mahogany-colored tables. The croissants are baked in-house and you can milk your coffee all day while reading the paper without fear of being kicked to the curb.
Let’s see what Cherrye is serving up this Travel Tip Tuesday!
We timed our visit to Montreal perfectly with a spectacular event that occurs in the Botanical Gardens every Fall.
These shots were taken from the top of the Citadelle in Old Quebec City. We'll talk about the Citadelle another day.
There are lots of things I saw during my trip to the province of Quebec that reminded me of Europe, specifically France.
There are so many things that I haven’t had a chance to share with you yet about my trip to Montreal and Quebec City. Specifically, the food. The wonderful, marvelous, delicious, French food!
One of the biggest draws of Old Quebec City is the shopping street, rue du Petit-Champlain, which is located in lower town.
Tiny little shops, with stone facades are tucked in along the cobblestone sliver of a street with the same little hand painted artistic signs found in Europe that swing from wrought iron hangers.
You'll find everything from souvenirs, designer clothing, chocolate, art galleries, gourmet food, kitchen and cookware, other specialty shops and cafes.
This shop is the perfect example. I love the bright two toned colors against the gray stone. Pot en Ciel is a gourmet cook's delight. Kitchenware, dishes, pots and pans, spices, cookbooks and more. I bought a few little treats here.
There is always a hustle and bustle in this area. Mostly tourists of course. But there are some wonderful stores and fun little places to eat.
The easiest way to reach it is to take the Funiculaire from Upper Town. It drops you off right on the street. And at $1.75 CAN, it is totally worth it- just for the view.
And the Chateau Frontenac seems even more majestic from the lower town vantage point.
If you round the corner and head for the rue Saint-Paul, you will find a quaint little square that looks like it was plucked right out of a tiny French country village.
And if you are looking for a quick little nosh, don't miss the Bistrot Le Pape George. Grab a table outside this cute wine bar and enjoy some local cheese and a glass of wine.
The Quartier Petit-Champlain is a great place to get lost and soak up some French-Canadian flavor for the day.
The Château Frontenac is the focal point in Old Quebec City. It can be seen from anywhere in the upper or lower town. Its perfect location offers a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence river.
It was named after the Governor of the colony of New France, the count of Frontenac.
It also just happens to be a luxury hotel, currently managed by the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The hotel opened in 1853. It did have a recent sprucing up for the Quebec's 400th year celebration.
I just love the stunning architecture of the building, the copper turrets, red brick and interesting heights of all the tiny roofs. You just can't appreciate how grand it really is!!
This is a shot under the passageway, which just screams Euorpe to me. Inside you find the grand entrance, lined with a row of about eight flying flags. And there is a pristinely dressed doorman the help with your ever need.
If I could afford to stay here, I would in a heartbeat. The rooms are to die for and I can just imagine the view from a room on an upper floor. The hotel boasts four restaurants, an indoor pool and a health club.
But, I am a budget traveler, so I stayed nearby, about a block up the road. And the good news, I was able to appreciate its beauty and European details from anywhere in Old Quebec City, for free.
If interested, you could most likely find packages or specials available for rooms with no view (what would be the point) for about $160 a night off season. Rooms with views can go upward of $500.
1 rue des Carrières
866-540-4460 toll free