Quebec City was by far our favorite part of our road trip. It was also the part of the trip we didn’t plan, as we were still wavering on whether or not we would go two days before we left. Thankfully, I found a pretty sweet deal on a trendy boutique hotel, so I booked it on our last day in Montreal and it was decided: we were driving to Quebec City!
From the minute we arrived, the city’s charm was easy to see. Quebec City sits along the Saint Lawrence River and as the snow fell and we approached our festive boutique hotel on a narrow, cobblestone street, Will and I both agreed that we were happy we came.
Our hotel was located just around the corner from Old Quebec, whose stone walls are the only remaining fortified city walls in the Americas north of Mexico. The location made it easy to explore the most beautiful part of the city.
Old Quebec felt old in the best way possible — loved and well cared for with Christmas decorations in every window and lights hanging from every shop. The old town is like a mini Europe, which isn’t surprising as it is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. We admired the many stone buildings and enjoyed walking the winding streets and peeking into the small boutiques and art galleries.
Again, we walked in the wet snow and again, my jacket was not warm enough, but I didn’t care. As newlyweds exploring a romantic city on what felt like our third honeymoon, nothing — not even the cold snow — could get in the way of us enjoying our time.
From the staff at Hotel Le Priori to the barista at La Maison Smith cafe, everyone was surprisingly warm and hospitable. Even the New England tourists were delightful and offered us their extra maps so we could better explore. Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit, which was evident in all of the public decorations, or perhaps it was just how the city made you feel.
After stopping for coffee and fig cookies at Smith’s, we meandered toward downtown Quebec to the Farmer’s Market.
I’m a sucker for farmers markets, something Will knows too well. This, however, was different than markets I have visited in the past. For one thing, it was indoors and had more Christmas paraphernalia and chocolate than your typical farm-to-table market. It also had a lot of variety. Vendors sold maple everything (syrup, alcohol, baked goods, etc.), wild blueberries, pâté, fresh fruit, soap, leather goods (yes, even belts), and more. After sampling at several booths, we left with a few treats for our families and too full to eat lunch.
That evening, we ate at Bistro 1640 to try New Canadian cuisine. It was delicious, but nothing too out-of-the-ordinary and could have easily been an upscale American restaurant. We took our time eating, and I’m pretty sure the waitress thought we were a little bit crazy with how giddy and silly we were acting. Maybe it was the champagne we opened before leaving for dinner or maybe it was just being in a new city with someone you love.
After dinner, we stumbled upon the German Christmas market. Sadly, it was closing by the time we arrived. This market was filled with festivity, including lights, Christmas trees and music, and adorable cabin-like booths selling artisan goods.
It looked like such a fun place to visit when it was open! We snapped a quick albeit blurry photo and hurried to catch the rest of the old town’s lights before the city went to sleep.
I read on Yelp that there was a gourmet popcorn shop and insisted we get some while we walk around. Mary’s Popcorn, which, although overpriced, was pretty darn good. I reminded Will that the American dollar is stronger right now so… we enjoyed every last bite.
We walked back to our hotel, still singing Christmas songs in our ridiculously happy state. I took a hot shower, slid into my cozy robe, and prayed that U.S. Border Control would let me back into the U.S. without my passport the following morning. They did but not without a lot of explaining and verbal test-taking (mostly on Will’s part! ha).
What’s your favorite thing about traveling? I’d love to hear! Have a wonderful day.