Part of Jon's Christmas present was a surprise trip to Quebec City. I have never been, and he hadn't been for years. Since we both love road trips, we rented a car and headed up there for a long weekend. The city was beautiful and I definitely suggest visiting if you ever get the chance.
Old Quebec City is inside the walls of a fort overlooking the St. Lawrence river. You literally drive underneath stone arches to get inside. Once you are in the walls, it is just narrow, winding streets of shops and restaurants. And with everyone speaking French, it does give the illusion of wandering through a small section of Paris. Its one of the oldest cities in North America, and it was originally called New France. The city is pretty touristy (literally tacky gift shop after tacky gift shop) but you can find some cute stores, and regardless its fun to see all the quirky, unpractical gifts you can buy.
The Chateau Frontenac is where we went to get drinks the first night we were there. The hotel is enormous and beautiful. The bar drinks were a bit expensive... but so worth it! They know how to make a good martini, and the menu had a ton of options I wanted to try. Jon even enjoyed his Old Fashioned (which rarely happens when we are out).
We happened to plan the trip on the first weekend of Quebec's Winter Carnival. I have never seen anything like it before in my life, and we were there on what seemed to be a quiet night. The Winter Carnival is like a mix between Mardi Gras and a fair, and goes on for 2 weeks. There are different sections you can visit inside the grounds (like an arctic spa... hot tubs you can sit in outside in the 0 degree weather) and a bunch of vendors to get food and drinks from. There is also entertainment: dj's, parades, fireworks. Unfortunately we left before the first night parade, but we got to see fireworks and go to one of the outdoor dance parties.
Bonhomme, the ambassador of the Winter Carnival.
But probably our favorite thing to do while in Quebec was visit the Morrin Center. It is an old jail that was turned in to a university in the 1800's. We weren't quite sure what to expect, but we took the tour and loved every minute of it. The building library was definitely the best part, but the laboratory and jail cells you visit are very cool too. The history of the building really opened your eyes to how old Quebec is and all the changes it has gone through throughout the years.
We will definitely be going back! I can hear the bartenders at Chateau Frontenac calling my name!