|Believe it or not, I'm standing in front of a hardware store (okay, an antique hardware store)|
|Old City, Québec|
|Old City, Québec, as viewed from our hotel room at The Hilton|
|Wearing: Calvin Klein Gladys boots, vintage lynx|
Snow crunches under your boots. You feel the cold wind in your lungs, and turn your head to admire a group gathered around a firepit. They're warming their hands, drinking Sortilège and laughing. Children bundled in hats and mittens run past you, singing a french song about Bonhomme, the snowman mascot for Winter Carnaval. Long shadows of Le Château Frontenac fall around you, and lights begin to flicker on outside the shopfronts. You pass the local boulangerie, and the smell of buttery croissant and café au lait reminds you that it's time to eat. Pulling your scarf around your neck, you make your way to the local fromagerie to pick up some cheese and wine.
And you didn't even have to travel to Paris.
The only North American walled city north of Mexico, Québec City feels like you are stepping across continents. Walkable and charming, with an innovative culinary scene and laid back vibe (hey, they even pronounce oui like a surfer dude says waaay), it's the perfect place for a weekend escape. Flight connections are easy from Boston Logan (The Air Canada gates have their own security checkpoint, which makes for much less waiting time) and the drive is just around 400 miles, so it's an easy journey from New England. Feeling the need for a little french? Read on for ten Québec City favorite places!
|Inside the Cathedral-Basilica Notre Dame de Québec|
|Poutine, burger and beer at Le Chic Shack|
|Petit Champlain District, Old Québec|
|Gloves: Talbots, Sunglasses: House of Harlow 1960|
Hand-made Classics - Charlevoix Pure Laine: An artisans workshop that feels like a boutique, Charlevoix Pure Laine specializes in Charlevoix sheep wool. Find hats, socks, scarves, collars and cuffs. An excellent spot for gifts! (48, Rue du Petit-Champlain, Old Québec)
An Alternative to Wine - Cidrerie Verger Pedneault: Ciders, preserves, honey, butters, syrups and other delicious regional products are available here. No worries if you're not a cider expert; I am definitely not, and the shopkeeper worked with me to find the perfect bottle, discussing my likes and dislikes, along with a little tasting. (73, Rue du Petit-Champlain, Old Québec)
Edgy Styles - Fuck la mode: Amidst all the cold-weather-gear, Fuck la mode is a little gem of funkiness and whimsy. Don't let the aggressive name fool you; the shop is friendly, and sells a number of modern, yet wearable styles. (67, Rue du Petit-Champlain, Old Québec)
Hot Chocolate with a Dash of Cayenne: Le Fudgerie: If you've picked up a little chill strolling about the city, don't miss this spot. Rich hot chocolate, mouth watering fudge and other treats await you in this little chocolate boutique, just steps down from Petit-Champlain. (16 rue du Cul-du-Sac, Old Québec)
A Lynx (Or Maybe Just Some Rabbit Fur Boots) - Bilodeau, Inc.: This place reminds me of what Deyrolle (the most interesting curiosity shop I've ever seen) was like as a baby. Sure, there are incredible boots, hats, gloves and coats to be found at Bilodeau, but the taxidermy is fascinating. (20 rue du Cul-du-Sac, Old Québec)
Where to Eat in Québec City, if You're in the Mood For:
The Real Deal Chef Experience - Le Saint-Amour: Chef Jean-Luc Boulay and his team deliver a fresh, detailed and innovative menu. We enjoyed an asparagus cream soup that tasted like biting into springtime asparagus, a red deer tartare, and a lovely guinea fowl, as well as a dessert that can only be described as "chocolate sparkles in your mouth". Make it so, Jean-Luc, make it so. (48, St. Ursula Street, Old Québec)
The Ultimate Poutine - Le Chic Shack: Poutine is so much more than sad french fries doused in gravy. Le Chic Shack, located steps from Le Château Frontenac, has a light atmosphere and a variety of burgers (think: beef, bison, chicken, lobster) as well as a robust poutine and milkshake menu. (15, Rue du Fort, Old Québec)
|Interior of Le Saint-Amour|
|Le Petit Hotel, in the heart of the Old City|