North America, travel

The Family Fairytale That Is Quebec City

August 1, 2017
The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Chateau Frontenac ballroom - on the hill

The Family Fairytale That Is Quebec City

To celebrate Canada 150, my husband, son and I wanted to explore areas that we had never been to and Quebec City was one of these places. This romantic city holds much Canadian history, charm and beauty-. It is almost as if you have landed in a small country in Europe but a mere 1.5 hour flight from Toronto. It was like stepping into a fairy tale – as though the hunchback of Notre Dame would swing down from a clock tower and serenade us. The streets are cobbled, the buildings tell a story of French Canada, English Canada and the journey that they both took to unite and become Canada today.  It was a relaxing and happy place to be as a family, especially during a warm Quebec summer and especially during the famous Festival d’ete de Quebec. The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City 1

I want to begin with the ultimate piece of advice for visiting this city with little ones: Do not bring a stroller. When Quebec City was built all those years ago, our forefathers did not have strollers in mind. And that’s fair. They were focused on protecting their land and not how many steps or hills I would have to walk up while wearing my baby. If you hate walking, you can taxi or take the Funicular but even then, a stroller will just be a nuisance. The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Walking Up the Stairs

Second piece of advice: Unlike me, don’t be afraid to speak French….or at least try. Not everyone speaks English and Quebec City residents really appreciate you trying to speak French, even if you butcher it. It’s the thought that counts…Or rather the poorly pronounced French word you tried to just say.

Street Performer Quebec City

We stayed at  Hotel Palace Royal, a Jaro Group hotel. Jaro Group is known for their family friendly getaways in both summer and more popular, winter weekends and March Break. Jaro has movie nights, turns their conference rooms into family game rooms with ping pong and pool, throws ‘Princess Parties’ and dances for kids, and offers Carie Candy Factory tours where kids feel like they are in charge.

hotel palace royal_exterieur_avant

The location of Hotel Palace Royal was perfect: just outside of the wall that contains Old Quebec City so we could walk everywhere easily. This was ideal during Festival d’ete de Quebec which had a major stage right near our hotel. The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - View from Hotel

Side note: A few days before we arrived, our hotel threw an after party for Backstreet Boys. I seem to always be one step behind them.  

Festival d’ete de Quebec is the largest outdoor festival in North America with over 75,000 people. I’ll admit, I had never heard of it but was beyond impressed with the line up. Some of the acts included: Muse, Kendrick Lamar, Backstreet Boys, Pink and The Who.

Festival d'ete d e Quebec 2012

Despite the number of people at the festival, the city never felt crowded. If anything, it had a buzz that was accentuated by groups enjoying a beer on the patio, families navigating the crowds, more street performers and the low hum of a band always tuning up.  There was a specific children’s area of the festival as well with performers, face paint, balloons and activities to keep many kiddos entertained.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Kids

We strolled through Quartier Petite Champlain where many different artists had their pieces on display. This non paper paper airplane was one of our favourites.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Art

We ate at Le Cochon Dingue where we enjoyed Quebec locally sourced poutine. My husband said it may have been the best he ever had. We also grabbed lunch at Le Chic Shack, delicious locally sourced burgers and fries paired with Quebec cider and brews. We sat in the window and we all loved it.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Chic Shack

The three of us also enjoyed an Italian meal at Portofino, a restaurant with beautiful wine and a fantastic menu. I shared my pasta with C and much to my surprise, my picky eater couldn’t eat it fast enough. He loved it! Well done, Portifino, well done.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Portifino

There is lots to learn, lots of see and lots to enjoy when in Quebec City. We took Le Bus Rouge, a hop on, hop off tour of the city. While I’ve tended to stay away from these tours in the past, I’m finding that they are a great way to see a city, digest a few tidbits of information and explore the places that you really want to explore. It’s also a good way to keep little ones entertained. C loved watching the horse and buggies, street performers and boats from his chair on the top deck of the bus.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Le Bus Rouge

Mark, Charlie and I walked through the Citadel and caught a changing of the guards before sitting on a hill overlooking the St. Lawrence and the famous Chateau Frontenac.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Citadel

We took time took time to relax and play in the grass, repeating the words we had learned today in both English and French and reciting them to C. He just wanted to play with my shoe. Other people on the grass were enjoying picnics with wine from wicker baskets- Here, even a picnic looks romantic.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - On a hill

We stopped at the Musée de la Civilisation. They had lots of interactive exhibits and workshops for children. They had an escape style room with clues and they a big exhibit on TinTin. The Quebecois really like TinTin.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - TinTin

Throughout the weekend, we enjoyed relaxing strolls, watching street performers while eating ice cream and stopping to enjoy a local beverage on a patio.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City -Petite Champlain

On our last day, we visited the glorious Chateau Frontenac where numerous of movie stars, politicians, soldiers, singers and more has graced before us.

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Chateau Frontenac

C and I enjoyed brunch overlooking the St. Lawrence before touring through the hotel. This building holds so much historical significance that I could write a book on that alone. We visited the red room where Mackenzie King, Churchill and Roosevelt created their plans for D-Day during the second world war.

Chateau Frontenac- DDay

We visited the restaurant and the ballroom where including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco, Chiang-Kai-Shek, Charles de Gaulle, Ronald Reagan, François Mitterrand, Prince Andrew, Lady Sarah Ferguson, Charles Lindberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Montgomery Clift had all danced over the years. The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City

The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City - Chateau Frontenac ballroom

We weaved through what felt like a maze of beautiful rooms, memories, love stories and tales from Canada’s past. The hotel sparkled and whispered all her secrets. It was an amazing experience.

Chateau Frontenac Pool and View

We learned so much about Canada on this trip. Mark, C and I explored, played and relaxed. We ate local as often as we could, enjoying strictly French cheese, meat, ciders and beer. C played in new places, and took in new sites, sounds, smells and tastes.

Water Play in City Hall Quebec City

We met people from all over the world on this trip, especially from the USA. Old, young, couples, families- Everyone seemed to be entranced with the charm that is Quebec City. The Family Fairytale that is Quebec City

Chateau Frontenac Pool and View

The Zammers included.

We can’t wait to go back.

The Family Fairytale That Is Quebec City



*This trip was sponsored by Quebec Original but they did not read or approve this article prior to publication

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1 Comment

  • Reply Russell August 5, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Such good coverage and good writing

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