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Trip Report - Quebec City during Winter Carnival

Trip Report - Quebec City during Winter Carnival

Feb 4th, 2005, 11:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,785
Trip Report - Quebec City during Winter Carnival

In case anyone is interested, here is my brief trip report from 5 days in Quebec City, for the start of winter carnival.

The travelers were myself (35, female, single) and my aunt (62, active, left husband at home).

We flew up Friday morning (me from DC, her from Hartford, CT) and met up in Montreal for the flight to Quebec City. Flights on Air Canada were fine.

Cab to hotel was CAD$27. The driver was very nice and offered to come back on Tuesday to take us to the airport. He did, right on schedule! He got a big tip.

Hotel: Mostly based on the review from Al_LaCarte on this board, we stayed at the Hotel Des Coutellier. THANKS AL! The hotel was wonderful. We had a big room with comfortable bed, a towel-warming rack, bathrobes, and a lovely continental breakfast-in-a-basket every morning. Staff was friendly, and we loved the street it is on - lower town, right outside the wall, the street has cute cafes (with quite good food) and antique shops. It's about a 7 minute uphill walk rue-St Jean, and maybe 12 minutes up to Chateau Frontenac. We did this walk usually 2 times a day, and it was fine. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

Food - we had good food everywhere we went. La Peche Veniel, across the street from the hotel, was fabulous. Dinner for 2 including a bottle of wine and tip: CAN$100.

We ate at Les Mesculun (sp?) which has been recommended on this board, and had a great lunch. Cafe St Malo is on the same street as the hotel (rue St. Paul), and it was good for a reasonable meal. We also ate at the bistro next to Cafe St Malo (the name escapes me at the moment), which again was wonderful. Highly recommend (I'll get the name when I go home and post later). We ate crepes one day that were fabulous.

kaudrey is offline  
Feb 4th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,785
So, on to carnival. Carnival started Friday night, so during the day we walked around the old part of town (we loved it). It is very quaint. It is fun to see the St. Lawrence River covered in moving snow. We watched people tobogganing down the hill next to the Chateau Frontenac, got our barings on where things were (quite easy, the old part of town is really not that big).

The opening ceremony for carnival was wonderful. Music, acrobats, fireworks, lots of people dancing in the plaza. It was very festive, but Friday was also the coldest day we were there. We were glad this only lasted about 45 minutes, even though we were layered-up!

Over the next few days of carnival, we watched the dog sled races, and the horses-pulling-sleighs obstacle course races. We watched people work on their snow sculptures. We really enjoyed this - some of them were very intricate and quite amazing when they were done. We went on rafting rides down the big hill, visited the old-fashioned market they had set up, watched ice skating shows and musical performances etc. It was a unique experience for us, and we had a great time.

We also did a tour of the Frontenac (which I recommend), visited the Cathedral, and went out to the Ice Hotel (about 1/2 hour outside Quebec). This was also a highlight, and if you go in the winter, I'd recommend making the trip.

Overall, we had a great time. The people were wonderfully friendly (even as we practiced our child-level French), the city is lovely, carnival was great fun. It was very cold (teens or colder as the highs each day), but that just gave us excuses to stop in cafes or antique shops!

I'll put my pictures on the web over the weekend. If anyone is interested, I will post a link to them here.

Thanks to those who have posted recommendations on this board - you helped in my planning!

kaudrey is offline  
Feb 9th, 2005, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 357

Thanks for the trip report. I have been curious about Winter Carnival for awhile and it's nice to see a first-hand report on it. Glad you liked the Hotel des Coutellier as well, isn't it a charming property with an equally charming staff?

I'm seriously thinking of returning there this winter for during the carnival--any other tips you might give?

Thanks and sorry about misspelling your name on another post!

Al_LaCarte is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,785
Hi Al,

Hmmm...other tips...let's see. Since you've been to Quebec City, you know the layout of the town. The carnival has 3 sites, the main one is on the Plains of Abraham, the other one is across the street from that (both of these up near the Citadel), and the other is down at the Place D'Youville.

Despite my fears that restaurants would be packed because of the carnival, this was not the case. We never made reservations and always found somewhere good to eat.

We went the first weekend of the carnival, and although there were a lot of people, I never felt like it was "mobbed". You can see the schedule of events on their website - http://www.carnaval.qc.ca/english/index_corpo.asp

I think there is more going on the second and third weekends, but we enjoyed watching people doing their snow sculptures (most were done by the time we left - except for one section, which started the day we left and probably went through the second weekend).

My only other thought is that this vacation had a bit of "downtime" in it. I like to always be on the go, but with the weather being so cold, after spending a few hours at the carnival, taking a break for lunch, and doing more carnival things or touring around, we were pretty much ready to spend some quality indoor time by early evening. We just needed time to get really warmed up - to get the chill out of our bones. We would buy a bottle of wine at a grocery store, go back to our room, and drink wine and talk or read or watch TV for a few hours, and then venture out again for dinner.

Hope this helps. Again, thanks for the hotel recommendation, and Winter Carnival was really a unique experience for me.

kaudrey is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 357

Thanks again for all the information. I think I will definitely return this winter.

Glad you enjoyed the hotel!

Al_LaCarte is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 978
Hi Karen,

Welcome back! Thank you for posting a trip report. Does the term 'winter wonderland' fit for a description of the snow scultures? The snow sculptures seem like such a wonderful idea for 'winter carnival'.

SharonNRayMc is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2005, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 991
Great trip report, Kaudrey. You've got me thinking further about Quebec City. Would you mind sharing what your hotel cost?

BowenLinda is online now  
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