Best of the Best of Winter in Quebec

Little fact about me: If you ever searched my google history around the holiday season, you will most likely find that a majority of the searches fall into two categories, “seasonal drinks” and “Christmas towns”.  It’s a secret goal of mine to spend the holiday season in every popular holiday town from Darby Montana, to Strasbourg, France.

That being said, Quebec City and Montreal easily became two of my favorite winter locations for a variety of reasons. Without further ado: my personal 2016 picks for the Best of the Best of Winter in Quebec.

  1. Best Historic Location or Attraction
    • Montreal Pick – Notre-Dame Basilica

The number one item on my must see list when I went to Paris was Notre Dame de Paris. Standing in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, while a bit smaller in dimensions (197′ compared to the 226’) felt as if I was reliving the moment when the cathedral first came into my eye sight during my walk along the Île de la Cité. But Notre-Dame in Montreal is beautiful in its own right, and similar to Paris, I just enjoyed being in it’s presence. Across the street from Notre-Dame is the Centaur Company Theater which at the time was decked out with star-shaped lanterns for the holiday season.

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  • Quebec City Pick – La Citadelle de Quebec

Being that I am a self-proclaimed history buff, the minute that I heard the words “museum”, “fortress” and “active military installation” in the same sentence, I knew I had to visit the Citadelle. Despite the fact that it was less than 20 degrees and we were told a large portion of the tour would be outdoors, we decided to brave it. I may have lost a few toes and shed some frozen tears, because WOW Canada can be a whole new type of cold, but I am so glad we didn’t miss out on this experience. FYI, if you’re from the United States, be prepared. The guides love cracking jokes at our expense, but the humor definitely added to the tour. The tour ends off with one of the most spectacular views of Quebec City, with a view of the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac.


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  1. Best Outdoor Location
    • Montreal Pick – Mount-Royal

I am a sucker for views, so you best believe I spent some time researching “the best view in Montreal”, but physically finding the exact location in photos I had seen was an adventure within itself. Once, we got through the traffic congested area surrounding Mount Royal we drove in a loop until we reached the local visitor center, located most of the way up the mountain. While we were able to find pretty cool birds-eye views of Montreal, we had more than a difficult time finding the exact observation deck I was looking for. Big props to my fellow travelers, because we were not leaving this mountain, despite the freezing temperatures until I found this view. This made for a pretty unexpected but worthwhile adventure, up frozen stairs on where we feared breaking our backs, down long trails of snow…before realizing, once we finally found the observation area, that there was actually a MUCH easier route there. Despite the unnecessary trek, totally worth it.

  • Quebec City Pick – Chute Montmorency

If ever in Quebec City, I recommend taking trip over to Chute Montmorency, about a 20 minute drive from Vieux Quebec. There is a bit of a short hike through the surrounding areas to the actual falls, but the walk was an easier hike. Considerinf the season we were also only one of three groups in the area at the time. The best view of the falls come via. bridge which allows you to walk right above the attraction.

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  1. Best Dining Location

We ended up at La Cartet for breakfast entirely due to a friend saying, “Well, this place looks nice” as we strolled around Montreal. ANd I have to say it was one of the best breakfast spots I have ever been to. Easily up there in the top three as far as waitstaff who made us feel more than welcome from the second we walked in. The menu provides a multitude of options from eggs to crepes to salmon bagels. Meanwhile I was just excited that a couple of their menu items had yogurt and granola as part of an entree as opposed to it’s own option, usually seen in most places. The food was delicious, fresh, and not one person in our party failed to clear their plates.

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As everyone knows, the only thing better than brunch is brunch with a spectacular view. ‘Ciel’ means ‘sky’ in French and it’s the perfect name for this spot located on the top floor of the Hôtel Le Concorde Québec. Not only does this restaurant provide each table with a beautiful view of the Grande-Allée, Le Concorde Québec but it actually moves! So slowly, of course, that you’re unable to feel the entire deck rotating, but by the end of the meal, you should have enjoyed a complete 360 view of the Quebec City skyline. Naturally, I assumed this spot had to be on the more expensive end. However, the most expensive brunch item is 24 Canadian dollars AND includes your appetizer, as well as your coffee, hot chocolate, or freshly squeezed juice. I cannot think of one reason why this spot shouldn’t be on everyone’s list when visiting.

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  1. Best Christmastime Activity
    • Montreal Pick – Centre de Commerce Mondial                                                            The Centre de Commerce Mondial is actually a shopping mall in Quebec, but during our short time in Montreal we still managed to enjoy a bit of Christmas magic here. Throughout the main level of the Centre de Commerce, during the Christmas season, you’ll find the eight different Santas figures, representing the various depictions of Santa Clause from different parts of the world.
      • Quebec City Pick – Marche de Noel allemande de Quebec

Of course the pièce de résistance was the Christmas markets of Quebec. As someone who roams both the Bryant Park Christmas Shops and Union Square shops a minimum of three times each every Christmas season, I naturally had pretty high expectations. The Quebec markets, fortunately, were just festive and fun, a large part due to the amazing Christmas-themed alcoholic beverages. Between the variety of shops and the close proximity to the beautifully decorated streets of Vieux Quebec and La Boutique de Noël de Québec, you can easily plan an entire day strolling the shops and streets in the area.

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It’s easy to see why Quebec has been called one of the most amazing Christmas cities, but I fell in love with Canada in itself. Easy to say, I’ll definitely plan a warmer trip back! As far as holiday towns ago, Quebec definitley recieves as 4/5.

 

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3 thoughts on “Best of the Best of Winter in Quebec

  1. I would like to see the Montmorency falls In winter time, when the place becomes a haven for novice and avid ice-climbers alike 🙂 I would also love to see Old Québec transformed into a real Christmas village. Lights, decorations, and snow which create an enchanting setting like no other. I also read that the Quebec Winter Carnival is the biggest in the world, a must see ?

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    • The Winter Carnival is definitely on my future must-see list! Unfortunately, had to make a choice on seeing the Quebec Christmas Markets OR the carnival as they are so far apart. 🙂 Highly recommend seeing Montmorency in the winter as it’s such a beautiful site.

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  2. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Quebec yet. I do have some family over there, but we’ve never been able to coordinate a time to go! After seeing all of your photos and this guide about Quebec in the winter, I will have to plan a trip there in the future!

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