Le Chateau Frontenac is the most famous landmark in Quebec City. It's a grand old European-style building that holds the record for being the most photographed hotel in the Guiness Book of World Records. During high season (summer and Winter Carnival weekends) room rates can start at $400/night. However, if you go during an off-peak time, you may be able to find a room for as low as $200/night. This place is seriously elegant. Just walking through the lobby made me feel like a movie star!
For those who can't afford to stay at the Chateau Frontenac, the Hotel Vieux Quebec is right around the corner. Hotel Vieux Quebec is a small family-owned hotel with outstanding guest service. The rooms are very spacious and the hotel makes a serious effort to be as eco-friendly as possible. The breakfast - orange juice and pastries, delivered to your door in a picnic basket - isn't the most vegan-friendly, but if you call ahead they may be able to substitute extra rolls instead of croissants (our basket came with a mix of the two). The good news is that the rolls come with a delicious (and entirely vegan) maple "cream" spread.
Restaurant Zen is an all-vegetarian Asian restaurant that features some interesting mock meat dishes. If you make a reservation ahead of time, you can even participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Everything on the menu can be made vegan. The only downside is that Restaurant Zen is a little over two miles away from Vieux Quebec. A $12 taxi ride will get you there.
Le Commensal is a pay-by-weight vegetarian buffet restaurant that is conveniently located two blocks away from the walls of the Old City. The vegan items are plentiful and well-labeled. Le Commensal is one of the few places in Quebec City that has vegan desserts, such as carrot cake and coconut tapioca pudding.
Chez Victor is a burger restaurant that has four types of veggie burgers on the menu - a tofu burger, a veggie pate burger, a wheat burger and a spinach and nut burger. If you are vegan, make sure to tell your waiter to hold the cheese and to serve your fries with Ketchup instead of aoli sauce.
Attractions in Quebec City:
Vieux Quebec or the "Old City" is filled with narrow streets, quaint shops, somewhat less-quaint souvenir shops, street performers and, at times, ice sculptures. It's a nice place just to walk around. You can tell that you're in Vieux Quebec because there are stone walls surrounding it.
Musee de la Civilisation:
The Musee de la Civilisation is a quirky museum that features an interesting assortment of exhibits. While I was at the museum, I saw a display of Egyptian mummies (complete with CAT scans and a model burial chamber that visitors could walk through), an interactive storytelling exhibit on the 7 Deadly Sins, and an exhibit on the aboriginal people of Quebec.
Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec:
The Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec is a large art museum that displays both international and Quebecois art, including some Inuit art. When I was in Quebec, there was a fascinating special exhibit on The Golden Age of Haute Couture.
Cabane a Sucre:
A "Cabane a Sucre" or "sugar shack" is a cabin that sells maple treats. These can be found all over the province and are a good place to stop on your way to/from Quebec City. If you travel to Quebec during the winter, you can enjoy my favorite treat - hot maple syrup poured onto snow, which the customer picks up with a wooden stick. By the time that the syrup has cooled enough to be picked up, the maple has formed a thick, delicious taffy.
Hotel de Glace:
If you're visiting Quebec City during the winter months (January - March), make sure to visit the Hotel de Glace. The Hotel de Glace is a hotel that is made completely out of ice. While the hotel does offer guests a chance to spend the night, many more visitors opt to take a day tour instead. The hotel features a grand lobby, snack bar, drink bar, discotec, chapel, guest rooms and suites. This place has tons of photo opportunities, not to mention a giant ice slide that is available for visitors of all ages. Enjoy a drink at the ice bar, served in a glass made from ice! If you don't have a car at your disposal, the Hotel de Glace runs a shuttle service that picks up visitors from Quebec City.
If you visit Quebec City in the winter, make sure to pack appropriate clothing. Snow boots, winter coats, hats and gloves are a must. Canvas sneakers just won't cut it.
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