This has been a summer of driving to various provinces in Canada…NB, PEI, Ontario and, most recently, Quebec. We spent a night at Manoir Hovey, a charming Inn in North Hatley QC on our way to Quebec City a few weeks ago.
It was peaceful and beautiful, despite the fact that Hillary and Bill (and the very discreet secret service) were also staying there, as guests of the author Louise Penny.
The Inn is on the shores of Lake Massawippi, a clear, deep lake that was perfect for swimming and kayaking on the August day we visited.
We enjoyed lunch on the porch at Manoir Hovey before heading out for the 3 hour drive to Quebec City. After settling into our room at Hotel le Germaine, a boutique hotel in the Old Port, we headed up the hill to wander the streets. The Chateau Frontenac dominates the city and is the start of the Dufferin Terrace, a boardwalk with beautiful views of the St Lawrence River that links the hotel to the Citadelle, a national historic fortress.
The city is so charming, it almost feels unreal. Cobblestone streets, cafes, museums, history…and tourists! I did most of my exploring of the city in the early morning and escaped the busiest part of the day by heading back to the hotel or heading to a museum. The Musee de la Civilisation was a 5 minute walk from our hotel and was a perfect place to spend a few hours on a rainy day. The Plains of Abraham museum was another great place to spend a rainy morning.
The fresh produce at Le Marche du Vieux Port was amazing and I returned every day for strawberries and raspberries. On the map it looked like a long walk but it was really only 10 minutes from the hotel and included walking by this canoe art in front of a working grain elevator, which was lit up at night to look like the Northern Lights!
The staff at Le Hotel Germaine were incredibly helpful, providing us with a list of restaurants prior to our arrival and then responding to our requests to change our reservations when we changed our minds! Every meal we had was delicious. Il Matto was 2 minutes from the hotel and served great Italian. Le Clocher Penche was in the up and coming neighbourhood of Saint-Roch and served innovative, unpretentious cuisine. Chez Victor served really good gourmet burgers and La La was a rustic, cozy restaurant serving traditional Quebecois meals.
With the Quebec City Tourism website as my guide and my own two feet, I saw a great deal of the Old City and walked 34 miles in three days while my husband attended a conference. I had planned to spend a day driving around Ile d’Orleans, an agricultural island just 15 minutes from downtown Quebec City but between the traffic and the rain, I decided to save it for another visit!