Québec City is a stunning town in the French province of Canada. With cobbled streets, enticing cafes and art around every corner, this compact city offers a divine combination of boutique European style and Canadian tradition.
My first visit to Canada began in Québec where we ate dessert for dinner and pancakes for lunch. I saw as much of this beautiful town as possible in 24 hours.
Wander the streets of the Old Town
We arrived into Québec to an unfortunate downpour, so wrapped up and dug out our umbrellas before exploring the Old Town.
The cobbled streets are lined with irresistible boutique shops, perfect for a spot of shopping in perhaps one of the cutest towns I’ve ever visited. I spent a good while choosing a woollen moose jumper from Zazou and some adorable Christmas decorations from La Boutique de Noël de Québec, the town’s all-year-round festive shop.
Being in Québec we couldn’t ignore Maple Delights, a shop and cafe that only sells maple products. I could have bought one of everything, from maple mustard to maple cream fudge. I settled on some maple candy and pure maple spread as gifts to take home.
Explore Place Royale
We then strolled down to the beautifully picturesque Place Royale, an open courtyard lined with the cutest of cottages.
The square is like a step back in time to ancient France, home to North America’s oldest stone church, the Notre Dame des Victories, built in 1688. A model boat suspended from the ceiling represents the journey taken by French soldiers in 1664.
Gaze at Fresque des Québécois
Québéc is home to some remarkable murals including the Fresque des Québécois just around the corner of Place Royale. The impressively large mural shows the story of Québéc City, with 15 historic figures and almost a dozen writers and artists hidden among windows. Its breath-taking illusion is most impressive further away from the fresco, should you be able to glimpse among the tourists!
Dining in Old Town
Feeling peckish and slightly cold, we decided to find a spot for a hot comforting meal. The cute decorated exterior to Le Lapin Sauté, was hard to resist, a small cosy spot specialising in incredible rabbit dishes.
Taking a table next to the open fireplace, we opted to go for a full three course meal, starting with a cheese fondue served with butternut squash, vanilla and white wine spiced rum compote… a definite cheese-gasm.
We then chose the rabbit, potato and mushroom pie, a beautifully warming comfort, accompanied by some Québec red wine. With room for dessert, the maple crème brûlée was an obvious choice. It was by far one of the best three course meals I’ve had in a long time, each plate as delicious as the next.
After a late lunch, we were too full for a proper meal and so without a sensible adult to tell us not to, we opted to have pudding for dinner at Cochon Dingue. I chose the apple pie with maple cream, accompanied by the most amazing hot chocolate complete in a sugar rimmed mug.
Wondering down the beautiful lit up streets, we later came across a cosy plaid laden pub where we sipped on Boreale beer to an ice hockey match on TV, feeling more Canadian than ever!
For lunch the next day we opted for the Crêperie we had walked past the previous day, craving some savoury pancakes. We chose the meal deal that gave us a starter, main and dessert for exceptionally good value, starting with pâté and crisp toast. Next I had the broccoli, asparagus and mushroom casserole crêpe with white béchamel sauce, a cheesy feast. Being in Canada, we were served maple syrup with our savoury mains (one reason why I love this country!) however I saved my sweet tooth for my maple butter crêpe.
See the Chateau Frontenac by day and night
Of course you can’t go to Québec without seeing the Chateau Frontenac set against the Saint Laurent river. This stunning building is reportedly one of the world’s most photographed hotel and it is not surprising to see why. With towering height and luxury elegance, this Fairmont hotel is one of Québec’s most treasured landmarks.
It is also worth venturing inside, with cute little sculptures and grand hallways to be explored.
The Chateau is even more majestic at night, with dramatically illuminated towers that are equally eerie and striking. Gazing up I could just imagine a vampire peeping out from a dimly lit window.
Visit the Erico Chocolate Museum and J.A. Moisan
Various creative chocolate pieces, including a seriously impressive sculpted clock, dot the walls, surrounding an open window where you can watch the chocolatiers at work.
The quaint shop next door is full of homemade goodies from gourmet ice cream to individually crafted chocolates. A lovely lady with a delightful French accent helped us pick the tastiest chocolates to nibble on later that evening. After much deliberation, I finally chose the Biquette (Bartlett peer puree with goats cheese), the Érablière (pure maple butter) and the Fleur de Lavande (white chocolate ganache with lavender flowers and honey). Each were equally delightful.
In a chocolate infused daze, we stopped off at J.A. Moisan, the oldest grocery store in North America. With shelves of fresh fine food and enticing smells around every corner, I was tempted by everything in the store. I walked away with maple tea in a lovely tin case and some blueberry tea that smelt too good to be true.
And there we have it! Québec City is truly beautiful, so cosy and welcoming you will want to stay for longer. However 24 hours is just enough time to see the best of the quaint little town. Have you ever explored a place in just 24 hours? I’d love to hear your stories!