It’s difficult to get the true essence of any city in just one day, let alone be able to soak in the grandeur of Quebec City.
Quebec City has a regal air, a European flair with cobblestone streets that are perfect for a stroll back in time.
I arrived via the St. Lawrence River on the Viking Sky, which docked in the Port of Quebec, the number one cruise destination on the St. Lawrence. Cruising is an excellent way to sample this part of the world.
Viewfinder Tip: Quebec City is very walkable, but flat, comfortable shoes are recommended before you hit those cobblestones streets running.
What should be on your Quebec City “Sampler Platter”? Here are my highlights.
A touch of class: The first thing you see as your ship pulls into port is the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, a luxury hotel that looks like more like a palace and is the grand dame, the jewel in the crown of Quebec City. Here, enjoy a signature cocktail at Le Sam Bistro Evolutif. I loved the Jam Le Sam, which is a perfect blend of vodka, pink pepper and cranberry jam, lime, and bespoke maple syrup over a ball of crushed ice.
An unique read: Once St. Matthews Anglican Church, is today the Biblioteque du Claire Martin, named in honor of novelist Claire Martin, who lived in the St. Jean Baptiste neighborhood until she died in 2014 at the age of 100. This library has welcoming and inviting nooks and crannies. Where pews once stood, there are now rows and rows of books, framed by pillars and posts, mood lighting provided by stained glass windows that flank the walls. It is truly unique and worth a stop.
Food for thought: As a self-proclaimed foodie, I had to see J.A. Moisan for myself. This gourmet food store was established in 1871 and is the oldest grocery store in North America. The shelves and showcases house everything your palate desires and more. Pâté, sausage, cheese, cakes, cookies, jellies, jams, and syrups, local and delectable had me wishing I were staying longer. I wanted to try everything but decided on maple cream cookies and cheese curds, regional specialties.
Food for the soul: La Buche serves traditional Quebec cuisine that has a unique and modern spin and lunching here is a must. The menu features dishes like Rabbit Wings, First Nation Bison Skirt Steak, Deer Tartar and Poutine, which originated in Quebec. Poutine is French fries and cheese curds smothered with brown gravy. But, nothing is basic at La Buche, and they kick their Poutine up a notch topping it with ham cooked in home-brewed beer. It’s worth the calorie count. No matter what you choose, finish your meal with a pure sugar rush of Pouding du Chômeur or Poor Man’s Pudding.
History meets healing: Le Monastere des Augustines is a lovingly restored sanctuary that includes a hotel with retreats and holistic wellness getaways, a restaurant and a museum that encompasses 400 years of history and the evolution of the Augustinian Sisters of Quebec. The restaurant menu offers nothing but healthy options, dishes with proven health benefits from ancestral traditions combined with the latest nutritional research. It is a peaceful and restorative way to spend a few hours of your day.
I absolutely fell in love with the romance of Quebec City, and while my day in port just skimmed the surface, I look forward to returning and immersing myself in this beautiful city.
Have you fallen in love with a destination while in port?