Planning a romantic escape to Quebec City? Here's how to show your wallet a little love.
What are the most romantic three words in the English language? “I love you”? “Please marry me?” How about “All expenses paid!”? I know that's what would set my heart aflutter! It’s an unfortunate prosaic truth that most of us mere mortals and, not being blessed with unlimited travel funds, we have to temper our heartfelt voyages with realistic budgets. But in at least of the world’s most romantic destinations, Old Quebec City, your love affair - and your love affair with travel - doesn’t have to break the bank.
Where to stay in Quebec City
When it comes to accommodations in Quebec City, there is but one place to see and be seen. It's the world's most photographed hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac. I can't imagine a more romantic place to stay - and my imagination will have to make do, as this is one hotel that is way outside my price range. Maybe next year - er, decade!
The more modest Maison du Fort may lack Chateau Frontenac's unmistakable glamour and grandeur, but its charming and sophisticated rooms won my heart when we stayed there. The homemade, self serve continental breakfast comes with trays in case you want to do a version of breakfast in bed and I can highly vouch for their zucchini cinnamon loaf. The standard rooms are a bit on the small side but there's one (on the main floor at the front of the house) that has high ceilings and big windows, making the room feel extra airy and bright.
As much as I love Maison du Fort, I must conclude that my dear friend Jo, from Frugal First Class Travel, might just have the scoop on the most amazing property in Quebec City. The historic St Augustine Monastery has been renovated and reinvented as a beautiful health and wellness center which offers overnight accommodations in pretty rooms. This is truly a unique property and it hasn't hit any guidebooks yet. I expect once it's 'discovered' you'll have to fight through the door! Read Jo's report here.
Food, food, food!
No trip to Quebec City is complete for us without a stop to the Chateau Frontenac - but like I said above, sadly it's not for accommodations. Instead, we embrace a more affordable slice of the glamorous life by going to the Chateau's 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar for drinks and desserts. We always order the same thing: creme brule, a chocolate martini for me, and a Scotch for Ryan. The service is impeccable, the drink pours are generous, and the view is incredible.
Just how great is their service? One year, Ryan had the misfortune of having a small fly drown itself in his drink. It's just one of those things that happens sometimes. He quietly asked the bartender for a fresh drink, which was immediately provided. But when we finished our drinks and went to pay our bill, we were told it was already taken care of. They had already perfectly resolved the problem and of course there was nothing wrong with my drink. We fully expected to pay our full and fair bill. But they insisted. Their classy behavior has earned our loyalty for life!
Of course, one cannot live on dessert and chocolate cocktails alone (or so I'm told). We are still searching for our ultimate go-to restaurant in Quebec City as we've run into a few culinary challenges. I don't really eat red meat and Ryan is allergic to shellfish. It's been difficult to find a restaurant that doesn't have a heavy focus on one or both of these foods. But happily our restrictions don't apply to everyone and I appealed to some of my girlfriends for foodie recommendations.
What to see and do.
Whenever we make the long drive between Ottawa and the Canadian east coast where I grew up, we always overnight in Quebec City. And even though we're eager to complete the drive, we always take a few hours to visit the city. We usually do little more than just walk around. A stroll through the cobblestone streets often feels more European than Europe itself! Quebec City is also an equally good destination for people watching. Just grab a seat at a sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by.
One of our other favourite things to do in old Quebec City is to buy art. A new painting or print is a great way to mark a special occasion. Some vendors are selling their own original work, while others are hawking post cards. But no matter your budget, you can usually find something you like and with cash in hand, you can usually negotiate a discount on the listed price.
A romantic getaway for every budget.
Old Quebec City is one of the most charming, and romantic cities in the world. Its beautiful streets make the perfect backdrop to any travel fantasy and it's the ideal place to be swept off your feet. But if your budget is more wildflowers and water than red roses and champagne, rest assured that the romance of Quebec City won't pass you by.
What do you think is the most romantic city in the world?
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