Trip To Quebec City’s Winter Carnival–Almost France

Quebec City's Winter Carnival
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Can’t make it to France in January or February? Then head to Quebec City in the province of Quebec in Canada and get immersed in Quebecois culture and the fun of Quebec City’s Winter Carnival, which takes place every year for three weeks in January and February. This year’s event takes place January 30-February 15. I hopped on a plane and in just over an hour arrived in Quebec City for a long weekend stay. I got a taste of France without travelling overseas.

I was prepared for the cold (-24 degrees Celsius) and dressed accordingly. Fortunately, the sun was out all day on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, when I arrived it snow but it was mild out. I actually didn’t need to wear my down-filled mitts or wear my dorky-looking hat (my niece said it looked cool).

I stayed at the iconic Chateau Frontenac Hotel on the top floor, overlooking Terrace Dufferin (boardwalk) and the St. Lawrence River and the according to Wikipedia, the hotel is the most photographed hotel in the world. Who can argue with Wikipedia! It first opened in 1893 and in the past few years they have renovated many of the rooms.

Here are some highlights:

Le Chateau Frontenac

Website: http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec/

Chateau Frontenac Quebec City.
Chateau Frontenac Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

 

Afternoon Tea (Saturdays only)

Afternoon tea at Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.
Afternoon tea at Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

1608 Wine and Cheese Bar

staff really know their wines and cheeses.

1608 Wine and Cheese Bar, Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.
1608 Wine and Cheese Bar, Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.
1608 Wine and Cheese Bar, Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.
1608 Wine and Cheese Bar, Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec)

Quebec Winter Carnival Effigy
Quebec Winter Carnival Effigy. Photo: J. Chung

Website: http://carnaval.qc.ca/en/

January 30 was the opening day and at 8:00 pm had it’s opening ceremonies and a fireworks display. To attend all the events and see all the snow sculptures and shows, one must purchase an Effigy, a battery-operated pin that glows at night. It is well worth the $15. The event is very family-oriented; however, Carnival is great for adults too with DJ nights and bars serving liquor in glasses made of ice.

Ice Palace

Ice Palace, Quebec Winter Carnival.
Ice Palace, Quebec Winter Carnival. Photo: J. Chung
Ice Palace, Quebec Winter Carnival.
Ice Palace, Quebec Winter Carnival. J. Chung

Winter Carnival with Le Bonhomme:

at the Plains of Abraham, which is a large park area and famous for the battle of 1759 between the French and English

Quebec Winter Carnival Le Bonhomme.
Quebec Winter Carnival Le Bonhomme. Photo: J. Chung
Quebec Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture
Quebec Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture. Photo: J. Chung
Quebec Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture
Quebec Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture. Photo: J. Chung
Quebec Winter Carnival Reindeer
Quebec Winter Carnival Reindeer. Photo: J. Chung
Quebec Winter Carnival Dog Sledding
Quebec Winter Carnival Dog Sledding. Photo: J. Chung

 

Quebec Winter Carnival Bumper Cars
Quebec Winter Carnival Bumper Cars. Photo: J. Chung
Maple Taffy On Snow, Quebec Winter Carnival
Maple Taffy On Snow. Photo: J. Chung
Maple Taffy On Snow. Quebec Winter Carnival
Maple Taffy On Snow. Photo: J. Chung

Ice Hotel (“Hotel de Glace”)

Website: http://www.hoteldeglace-canada.com

Is open January 3-March 22, 2015 and while you can stay the night you can also visit it for a couple of hours and have a cocktail. I had a Crème d’erable (Maple Cream liqueur) in a glass made of ice. Sorry for the pun, but it was cool.

Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung
Maple Cream Liqueur, Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Maple Cream Liqueur, Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very impressed with the hotel due to the numerous themed rooms which had unique sculptures such as the hockey room, or the disco room. After climbing the ice staircase, you took a slide down to the bottom. It was fun being a kid again.

Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

 

Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec City. Photo: J. Chung

 

 

 

 

 

Getting there: took a shuttle from the Chateau Frontenac. Much cheaper than taking a cab. Cost: $20 return

Old Quebec

I love architecture so I loved the buildings in Quebec City, particularly in Old Quebec. Lots of cute shops and restaurants reminiscent of France and old Europe. Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant is the oldest house in Quebec (1675).

Aux Anciens Canadiens Restaurant, Quebec City,
Aux Anciens Canadiens Restaurant, Quebec City, Photo: J Chung

If you go, try to speak French. If you just can’t manage, don’t worry, everyone speaks English too. I found the people in Quebec City extremely friendly. I felt like I was back in France….a cold France! If you can’t fight the cold, join in! Try tobogganing alongside the Terrace Dufferin!

Quebec City Tobogganing
Quebec City Tobogganing. Photo: J. Chung

 

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