Quebec City has always been one of the places from my road trip travels during college days that I’ve always wanted to return to. It was just a short visit the last time I was there – a pit stop on our way towards a much longer camping trip somewhere in the woods along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, but what I do remember was that the city totally charmed me.
The weather during our stay was cold and wet; old snow was still shoveled into piles along the sidewalk. It was a pretty shocking change to go back to winter weather from the previous day when we drove through Vermont in near 80 degree temperature. But there’s something undeniably romantic about a charming city like this in the rain – all the more reasons to duck into cafes and stores along those narrow, cobblestoned streets.
We happened to know quite a few families who were taking their Spring Break vacations in Europe, so I couldn’t help but compare the photos coming through my social media feeds with what we were seeing on our walks through the city. I’m not sure when we’ll ever make it to Europe with the kids – financially, that is not in the cards for us right now – but walking those ridiculously charming streets in Quebec felt an awful lot like Paris. While most people in the city switched comfortably to English once they realized that we were tourists, I noticed that we were always approached with French first. Every meal we had in Quebec City was exceptionally good – even quick bites that were unassuming and the tea that was served each afternoon at our hotel. We also had our first Poutine! We’ve always been curious about it and while we can get it in NY, we wanted to have our first poutine in Canada. I would suggest researching places first because as we found out, good poutine is excellent, but mediocre poutine is a bit disappointing.
Quebec City is a fairly small city and you can see most everything in just a couple of days. We planned our Spring Break road trip in 6 days total with just 3-4 hours of driving each day and stayed in 4 different hotels which I booked using credit card points. Our stops were Vermont, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Sainte Anne-de Bellevue in Montreal, and Saratoga Springs, NY. We had a strict budget that we stuck to, but the dollar is strong in Canada so that really helped. All of our hotels, except for one, came with breakfast (the Embassy Suites in Saratoga Springs has an amazing free cook-to-order breakfast if you’re ever in need of a hotel in that area), and we made a lunch at home before we left our first morning to eat in Vermont, so that helped with costs as well.
Here are some places of note on our trip:
Hotel des Coutellier, Quebec City (they hang a delicious continental breakfast by your door each morning!)
Chez Victor – our first Poutine, and it was excellent. They make their own gravy which makes all the difference, I think.
Épicerie J.A. Moisan – a multi room gourmet food store that we happened to stumble upon while trying to escape the cold and rain. But what a find! So fun to browse through.
Cafe St-Malo – we had dinner here on our last night – great food in a cozy setting.
Café Félin Ma Langue Aux Chats – a cat cafe!