Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Great Minds Pick Quebec City

Wasn't I just saying you need to visit Quebec City? Well Conde Nast Traveler is agreeing with me in its current issue, on the newsstands now. They also insist it's an easy way to get your European fix this winter if you're on a budget. If we hadn't just been in October I'd certainly be booking a few nights in our French neighbor to the north. Especially over New Year's as they light up the night with fireworks and celebrate with DJs and dance troupes.

The Conde Nast Traveler article recommends the luxurious and elegant Auberge Saint-Antoine for accommodations. I think it would be a perfect hotel for a romantic getaway with the Mr. or Mrs., but not if you've got your munchkins in tow. The Café-Bar Artifact in the lobby of the hotel is the best spot for cocktails in the Old Town and they happily welcomed the little C&Gs to sit at the bar. The charming bartender made up some festive juice cocktails for the little C&Gs, but I did notice they were the only kiddos wandering the hotel. Instead I'd book one of the chic and modern rooms at the family friendly Hotel Le Germain-Dominion down the street.

When you're not out strolling the romantic streets of the Old Town, give your kiddos their video game fix at the Musée de la Civilisation. Over 80 different games are free to play in the Game Story/Jeux Vidéo exhibit running until March 23, 2014. Enjoy the sights and sounds of late 19th century theatrical Paris at the Paris on Stage exhibit, which comes with a free audio tour (there's a special audio guide just for kids, be sure to ask for it) with charming background music that transports you to the halls of the Moulin Rouge. Check out my review of the museum here, along with a great pizza place (escargots as toppings are optional ) nearby for when your gamers get hungry.

Another one of our favorite spots for an authentically French (and kid friendly) bistro meal is the cavernous Café du Monde, with a prime location on the waterfront. The restaurant is located on the second floor of the ferry terminal, but the dark wood and frosted glass decor would have you believing it was the Seine outside and not the St. Lawrence.

Little C&G ordered the incredibly un-French dish of pasta with pesto, but thankfully Big C&G went along with the natives and ordered steak frites. As you would expect, the carte des vins is extraordinaire and they have a long list of delicious French wines by the glass. Be sure to order an extra side of frites, they're so good your kiddos won't want to share.

Quebec City is a short two to three hour flight (and a fraction of the ticket price to Paris) from most major hubs on the East Coast, or a five hour drive from Portland. Tourism dominates this elegant old city, so you'll find English is readily (and happily) spoken if you don't get too far with your high school French. You'll need your passports if you're flying or drivers licenses and birth certificates for the kids if you're driving. Be sure to bring along all those Canadian quarters and pennies you find lying around at the bottom of your purse. They'll buy lots of chocolat chauds to keep you warm as you wander the festive streets. Au revoir and bon voyage!


  1. I loved it there, when I lived in Maine, I had to go there or Montreal every 6 weeks to feel European and less homesick!

    1. Now there's the blog you could be writing my friend . . .
      Miss you!