With my latest trip coming to a close — I just returned from 11 days in London, Belgium, Paris and Lyon on Tuesday! — it seems fitting to wrap up the posts on my vacation to Montreal and Quebec City. (If you missed my recap of our time in Montreal, you can find it here.)
Immediately after we booked our flights to Montreal, I looked to see if it would be feasible to do a day trip to Quebec City. I knew I wanted to visit both cities, and I figured while I was in (the province of) Quebec, I might as well try. Turns out, it’s a three-hour trip each way, which is just about my threshold for a day trip. I know, my threshold is high — so if you want to spend the night in Quebec City, I don’t blame you.
That said, it’s a gorgeous (but small) city. It feels very European, even more so than Montreal. We arrived at the bus station around 11 in the morning and were able to walk straight to the center of the city, passing plenty of adorable storefronts and colorful architecture along the way.
At the heart of it all is the Chateau Frontenac, a massive luxury hotel that sits at the center of the city. It is seriously so, so big, and if I had the cash and the time, I would have loved to spend the night there. (Note: I just Googled the hotel, and it’s much more affordable than I originally thought — around $200 a night! Now I’m kind of wishing we had booked a night there!) It looks out on the St. Lawrence River, and the view is so pretty. Even if you can’t spend the night, it’s worth a walk through the lobby.
You also can walk around the hotel, on the “boardwalk” — I don’t think that’s the official name, but that’s what it looks like — where you get a great view of the river and the rest of the hotel. The path goes pretty far, and eventually, you can work your way up to the top where there’s some sort of museum on the history of Quebec. It looked like it was mostly military history, and due to our limited time frame, we skipped it and headed back down.
You can also take a funicular up to the “boardwalk” surrounding the Chateau Frontenac from the Petit Champlain area, which sits just beneath this area, but it’s really a pretty easy walk to do on your own. (We didn’t take the funicular ourselves.)
We got lunch at Le Petit Chateau, a casual spot near the Chateau Frontenac that served cheese fondue — my ultimate weakness, and one I was especially craving in this very French city. If you’re not one for massive amounts of melted cheese (though who isn’t?), they also serve crepes.
Later on, we headed down to explore the Petit Champlain area. It is so adorable and really makes you feel like you’re in Europe. (It felt a little similar to the adorable Annecy, France, which was in this past weekend!) There are lots of shops and restaurants, but honestly, it was so, so crowded on the day we were there that we made our way through the main drag of the neighborhood pretty quickly. (You can get an idea of what I mean in the photos below!) Afterward, we went to walk around some of the other streets nearby, which were also adorable, but a bit less crowded.
We were there in August on a Sunday, so I have to imagine if you’re there on a weekday, on less of a “peak” month, it would be a bit less packed and even more lovely.
Needing a break from being on our feet, we stopped by Cochon Dingue for rosé, fries and caesar salads. They had very cute branding, which is always a plus. And we sat outside, it was a nice way to take in the view and rest for a minute.
At that point, we had to head back to the train station to catch our bus back to Montreal. It was a quick day in Quebec, but a really beautiful one (look at that weather!) Now, I’m wanting to plan a trip back to this charming little city for a full weekend (and a few nights at the Chateau Frontenac!)