21 JUN 2017:. I am a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. This year we had our annual convention in Quebec City. North America’s oldest and only walled city (north of Mexico) has lost none of her charms. Imagine being in Europe without having to cross the Atlantic. Designated as a World Heritage City by UNESCO, Quebec boasts a list of awards and accolades as long as its rich 409-year history. In fact, Travel + Leisure magazine named Quebec the best city in Canada. Take that Toronto!

THE “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE” SPLURGE LIST

Up and Away

Quebec Montgolfieres delights clients with a hot air balloon ride over the St. Lawrence River and rooftops of Quebec City. After touch down, guests drink the traditional bubbly toast. The rides are weather dependent and the total experience lasts about four hours. Tickets start at $220. www.quebecmontgolfieres.com

Sweet Dreams

Located in the heart of the Old Port area, the chic Le Germain Hotel Quebec offers guests stylish rooms with bed linens so desirable they now sell them at Simons stores across Canada. Heck, you can even buy the mattress.

Breakfast, included, is a tempting buffet of exotic teas, pastries, fruit and Quebec cheeses. You can also brew your own cappuccino. A few things that set Le Germain apart from other hotels: you can sleep in as there is no check-out time; guests have free use of a Lexus to drive around the city; well-behaved dogs are welcome. www.legermainhotels.com

Le Grand Dame

Probably Quebec City’s most iconic landmark, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac has undergone a 75 million-dollar renovation to celebrate its upcoming 125th anniversary in 2018. The Grand Dame has lost none of her Old World charms while taking on some modern twists. Join the list of the castle’s illustrious guests that includes Queen Elizabeth, Charlie Chaplin, Paul McCartney and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Head to the 1608 bar overlooking the St. Lawrence River for cocktails and then enjoy dinner at the Champlain restaurant. Don’t forget to shake the paw of Daphnie, the hotel’s canine ambassador. www.fairmont.com

All Aboard

Consider a romantic dinner cruise aboard the AML Louis Jolliet. The unique glass walled dining room allows fabulous views of Quebec City’s landmarks including Montmorency Falls. Work off your gourmet meal by dancing under the stars on the top deck. www.croisieresaml.com

THE “CHEAP THRILLS” SAVE LIST

Do the Promenade

Opened in 2008 to celebrate Quebec City’s 400th anniversary, the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain runs from La Station des Cageux to Cote de Sillery along the St. Lawrence. Take a walk, rent a bike, bring a picnic.

Market Days

Open daily, the Farmers’ Market in the Old Port sells locally made cheeses, ice wine and cider, plus all the fixings for an indoor or outdoor picnic.

Simons Says

Savvy shoppers having been flocking to Simons family-owned clothing store since 1840. Why? They stock a great selection of men’s and women’s private labels in all sizes and at great prices. Simons now has branches across Canada. www.simons.caPastry Fix

For a mouth-watering selection of pastries, sandwiches and gelato, join the crowd at Café-boulangerie Paillard on Rue Saint-Jean. Patrons sit elbow to elbow at two long refectory tables while tucking into croissants that have been voted best in town. www.paillard.ca

Bean Scene

The best place for espresso-based coffees is Café Soleil on rue St. Paul. Nothing fancy but the baristas know what they are doing and you can sit outdoors and enjoy the vibe of the Old Port.

Raw Treats

Echaude specializes in tartars. They offer two variations on salmon—one with dill and capers, the other with ginger, curry soya and sesame. The classic beef tartar comes with yummy homemade fries. If you prefer your protein cooked, no problem, there are plenty of delicious options. www.echaude.com

For more information on Quebec City: www.quebecoriginal.com

draycott

 

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Anita Draycott

Quite aside from being an award winning writer, whose travel articles and photography regularly appear in golf and lifestyle publications and websites, Anita Draycott is a self confessed golf fanatic, who has chased dimpled white balls over five continents.  

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