NEW YORK (Money magazine) -
In Québec City, one finds all the fine things we associate with France: the language, imposing buildings fronting stone streets too narrow for cars, a propensity to linger over extraordinary cuisine and wine.
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|Where to stay ||Le Chateau Frontenac |
|Where to eat ||A la Bastille chez Bahuaud |
|Don't miss ||A stroll along Terrasse Dufferin |
Better still, all this costs a fraction of a vacation in the States, let alone a trip to Europe.
Perched mostly on a cliff above the St. Lawrence River and hemmed in by high walls, Old Québec seems almost medieval. The walls enclose a star-shaped citadel designed to repel enemy attack.
Down along the river lies the port and the oldest part of one of the oldest cities in North America, an artisanal neighborhood clustered around pedestrian lanes. There is simply no other place like it on our continent.
Of course, there is no escaping that it's cold here now -- better to embrace it. Take a few turns at Carré d'Youville, a square just outside the old city that does winter duty as a skating rink. Or shoot the ice-slicked toboggan runs along the Terrasse Dufferin at cliff's edge.
SLEEP, EAT Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1893, Fairmont's Le Château Frontenac is one of Canada's most luxurious and deservedly famous hotels -- it appears in nearly every photo of the city, towering over the town like a castle on steroids (double rooms from $147; 800-441-1414; fairmont.com).
Nearby, Hôtel Cap Diamant is really more of a B&B, in a house built in 1826. The nine rooms are uniquely appointed, six with old stone fireplaces; some have city views (doubles, about $80 to $110; 418-694-0313; hcapdiamant.qc.ca).
À la Bastille chez Bahüaud serves sumptuous French food with fresh Québecois ingredients in a sweet old Victorian house. A three-course, prix fixe menu costs just $23 per person (418-692-2544).