Winter Wonderland Quebec City
Updated: May 1, 2018
Quebec city is like a fairytale - particularly in winter. The streets are lined with snow and all of the quaint shops ooze European charm.
I decided to brave the chill and visit Quebec City during Carnaval - the annual winter festival where the city comes alive with ice sculpture displays, outdoor ice bars, night parades, ice slides in the street and all the maple taffy you could eat! I had so much fun - it was totally worth braving the -30 celsius conditions (eeeek!). My hands would burn just taking my mittens off for 10 seconds to grab a picture!
What to do.....
This is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, occurring in the first two weeks of February. This is a great time to visit Quebec city and discover all of the wonderful winter activities and treats on offer. Make sure you get your picture taken with "Bonhomme" the famous mascot of the Carnaval and also visit the spectacular ice castle - which changes in design every year. If you are there during Carnaval, make sure you check out the famous canoe race, where crazy competitors run their canoes out over icebergs in the river and then get in the boat to row in areas where there is no ice - hardcore stuff!
Visit the spectacular Chateau Frontenac
This marvellous feat of architecture dominates the Quebec City skyline and it quite a sight to behold. Make sure you walk around and take some pics and head into the beautiful hotel lobby. I didn't stay there myself, but would love to on my return visit.
Ride the Funiculaire down to Quartier Petit Champlain
Quebec City is divided into two - the upper and lower towns. The two are easily accessed from each other by the Funiculaire (Cable car) that offers a beautiful vista as you ride it. You must make sure you visit both upper and lower cities as each has their own fair share of charm, shopping and beautiful eateries.
Ride the Ice Slide and take in the views from Terrasse Dufferin
This famous fixture of Quebec City is just outside the Chateau Frontenac and is a must do. This ice slide has been present since 1884 and can get up to speeds of 70km/hr! Pay for your ticket and grab a toboggan and make your way up to the top. Hold on to your hat - you are in for a brilliant ride!
Citadelle of Quebec and Battlefields Park
Take a tour of the Citadelle of Quebec, an active military facility and the official residence of the Governor General of Canada and then head to the glorious Battlefields park next door to wander around. In the winter you will see plenty of locals cross country skiing through the park.
Where to eat......
A very popular haunt for all the locals and a great place for delicious coffee and scrumptious croissant.
Cafe La Maison Smith
This gorgeous cafe has a couple of locations in the city and is a great place to thaw out and warm up with hot drinks and fresh pastries
Take the opportunity to indulge in Quebecois classics and French cuisine during your time in QC. Here are a few places I tried - there are so many others I have on my list to try on my return.
Le Lapin Saute This gorgeous restaurant in the lower town is all things Lapin (Rabbit). I had a beautiful cassolet with all the trimmings - delicious!
A great eatery for authentic Quebecois cuisine. I had a delicious tourtiere (Quebecois style meat pie) washed down with a glass of red.
This was my treat to myself for the weekend. A beautiful restaurant with a stunning menu and wine list. Try the beef cheek braised in organic red currant vinegar with potato puree, seared mushrooms and glazed carrots and treat yourself to a sea buckthorn and meringue pie for dessert! Bliss!
Poutine - Poutine is serious business in Quebec. The national dish is a MUST have when in Canada anywhere, but especially in Quebec. Fresh hot fries, rich brown gravy and squeaky Quebec cheese curds. It's the best. You can get good poutine in so many places, however a local favourite in Quebec City is Chez Ashton which I made sure I visited - sooooo goood!
**There is no photo as I ate it too quickly - SO. DAMN. GOOD!
QC, I think I love you!