Feel like you have stepped back in time when you walk behind the walls of Old Quebec City. Follow along with our Travelocity Gnational Gnomad Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal as she shares her favorite ways to experience historical Quebec City.
If you’re looking for a vacation that will serve up art, culture, history, beauty and relaxation — all with a healthy spin — head to Old Quebec City. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Old Quebec was once the heart of French civilization in North America.
Today, the Quebec Region is a remarkable vacation destination. While you could spend years in Old Quebec City and never uncover all of the magic behind the city’s walls, you can also get a great taste of Old Quebec City in a single day.
For a holistically healthy adventure that will treat your body, mind and spirit, here’s how to spend 24 hours in Old Quebec City.
Enjoy Healthy Breakfast and Museum at an Old Quebec City Monastery
The most unique place to stay and start your day in Old Québec City is at the Le Monastere Des Augustine, a hotel located in the wings of an old monastery. This is actually where the first North America hospital north of Mexico opened, so it’s only fitting that this resort centers around health and wellness.
All guests who stay here get special “vitality breakfasts” to kick off the day. You also get access to the museum, heritage site and relaxation rooms. You’ll find wellness activities here all day, which make a perfect way to start your day on a positive note. Guests can personalize their wellness experience and services to best meet their unique, holistic needs.
For the full, historical experience, choose one of the 33 Authentic Rooms, which are decorated to look like a monastery cell, with antique furniture (upgraded with modern comforts). Rooms are also equipped with various artifacts from the Augustinian Sisters’ hospitals, which bring the history to life. Get even more Old Quebec City history (nearly 400 years’ worth, in fact) at the on-site museum.
Relax with an Ancient Treatment
Continue the tradition of wellness and cultural richness at the Moment Spa – Le Chateau Frontenac Spa, located in the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. From the moment you arrive in the Fairmont, it’s easy to relax. Valet is included in your spa package, so no need to hunt for a parking spot. You also get access to the indoor pool, indoor whirlpool and steam baths. In the spa itself, you can take in a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and the city.
The list of spa services is long, but a massage and facial will melt away all of the exhaustion of travel. If you’re looking to experience history and culture, opt for the 100-minute Warm and Cold Basalt Stone Massage. This treatment uses an ancient ritual of alternating between warm and cold stones. Quebec spas are also known for amazing hydrotherapy areas, so be sure to include that in your allotted time for relaxation.
While at the Fairmont, check out the Club Frontenac Health Club. This club has all of the standard gym equipment (from weights to Technogyms) for your use during your stay in Old Quebec City.
Have Lunch with a Local
One of the best ways to get to know an area is by getting to know its residents. See who you can meet at the monastery or around town, like other participants in a yoga class, for example, or book lunch with a local, like Isabelle Radford, a wedding planner. Ask the locals what they like to do in their city.
A delicious and healthy place to do lunch is at La Serre. This healthy cafe provides quick bites to eat at great prices. The menu spans coffee, smoothies, salads, fresh-squeezed juice, tea, wraps, kombucha, kefir, muffins, fruit and more. Ingredients here are so fresh that the restaurant grows its own veggies and herbs.
Enjoy the Scenery
As you explore the city, there are many vantage points to grab great photos and enjoy the views. Take a historical bus tour to learn more about the history of the region. One fun and simple way to see the sites is to take the Funiculaire. The experience is a short but memorable ride from lower town to upper town. Rather than taking the steep stairs up, you can hop on this 135-plus-year-old mini ride. This will allow you to rest your feet after a day of exploring. You will also score some incredible views. The Funiculaire is a quick ride, but it’s inexpensive and the views of town and the port are priceless.
Fill Up With a View
You’ll work up an appetite walking around Old Quebec City. Fill up at at a quality, but casual restaurant like Bistro Le Sam at Fairmont. Traveling alone? That doesn’t mean you have to eat alone! Find a friend at the monastery hotel; it’s easy to meet friendly faces there.
Bistro Le Sam is delicious but also reasonably priced and pretty relaxed, which will feel good after a busy day on your feet. Enjoy views of the river while you dine on something special, like grilled salmon served with homemade ravioli; Asian-style bison tartar with shiitake mushrooms; or grilled Canadian lobster. Catch live lounge music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Make sure to try one of the innovative cocktails to finish your day!
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