Trip Report-Quebec at Christmas

Old Jan 10th, 2008, 06:30 AM
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Trip Report-Quebec at Christmas

Quebec at Christmas- its really quite wonderful. This may become an annual thing for us.

We started out coming up through the states over the Vermont border. Our goal was to get to the Abbe St Benoit in time for one of the two public services that they do each day. For anyone- Christian or not, its a beautiful way to start a visit in Quebec. The monks sing Gregorian chants in the services, and its clear that the service means a lot to them. Afterwards we bought wonderful cheese and apple juice in the shop for lunch.
http://www.st-benoit-du-lac.com/.

We headed on to Quebec City to where we had booked a room at Manoir Sur le Cap. http://www.manoir-sur-le-cap.com/. When we pulled up with all our bags (including sportsgear) the owner looked at us and upgraded us from the smallest room in the hotel to a much larger one for very little extra. We were incredibly grateful and loved our room. The staff were pleasant and you could not beat the location. The hotel is on a small park across from the Frontenac views of which were amazing in the morning light. The hotel does not include breakfast but we found a nice patisserie for early morning baked goods on Rue Ste Jean.
Since we arrived in the city several days before Christmas we invested in the museum pass thinking it would pay off because we wanted to see all the museums. Funny thing- we got to the first- the Fine Arts museum, and found it so wonderful that we spent an entire day there, blowing our plans from the beginning. The Inuit collection is not to be rushed through! We had a very nice lunch in the restaurant (the pass gives discounts for the café- but the restaurant has a better menu) and lingered in the bookstore also. We were on vacation- allowed ourselves to relax.
The old market was a long cold walk but what a treat that was. We found out it was open in the evening, so we got there just as most of the other tourists were leaving for dinner. All the sellers wanted to chat and we learned a lot about farming and crafts in the region. Folks were so incredibly friendly. Then we had a delicious buckwheat crepe meal with fresh cider and listened to one of the artists play Christmas music on the guitar. It was a warming experience for us. We left laden with apples which we ate for days.

The next day our plans for seeing it all were once again pleasantly derailed. We came out of the back door of the Musee de la Civilisation and wandered into an Inuit art store at 5, Sault-au-Matelot. We ended up staying hours! The owner, Jean Robert Wilhemy left us alone at first to admire the collection, then starting talking about the different artists he knew, the northern areas, and explaining to us the various styles. It was like being back in the museum only we were allowed to touch! That evening we went back and researched the art and prices (I was able to get wireless at the Manoir) and returned and bought some small pieces over the next couple days. Jean Robert has a really nice website. www.inuitartzone.com . Even if his prices had not been better than the other stores, we would have bought from Jean-Robert just because he was so gracious and clearly in love with the art and culture. Dinner was at le Commensal on Tue St Jean outside the gate. Cafeteria style vegetarian- healthy and inexpensive. And very tasty.

Christmas Eve we found that the museums were mostly closed so we took our car out to the suburbs to check out the Wendake/Huron area and the Trait-Carre. They were both disappointing- not because of the buildings, but because, as in the USA, historical, beautiful areas have been swallowed up by suburbia. It was hard to get in the spirit of Trait Carre when all you could see was traffic and fast food restaurants. We did have a nice meal at the Sagamite restaurant in Wendake. That evening we wandered into the cathedral and stayed for one of the many services. If you plan to go- go early because they get packed! It was lively.

A high point of the trip was snow shoeing on Christmas at Camp Mercier. While technically closed we were allowed to use the trails because we brought our own equipment. (The rental was closed.) We spent the day chasing animal tracks in the snow and climbing hills for views. And were very thankful for the warming huts. Burrrr.

It was a wonderful trip, and now we have to go back to see the rest of the museums. There is so much to do- we did not even get to see all the old quarter of the city. But the best part is going slow, and meeting the people. There is no place quite like it.


WorriedMomof2 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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What a great report! Thanks for taking the time to post. I really enjoyed reading it. I'm always looking for great ideas on where to spend Christmas and your report is making me think of Quebec.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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thanks for the report....I was in QC last november and it's such a cute city with a great vibe. you should come to Montreal next time, i'm sure you'd love it here if you enjoyed QC.

Layla
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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Great report. I will be in QC in a month and can't wait for the museums especially. It all sounds wonderful!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:41 PM
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