The Most European City of North America

 

Rue-StLouis

Most Americans (especially those living on the East Coast) are a lot closer to Europe than one would think.  I am, of course, referring to the French Canadian jewel: Québec City.

As one of the oldest European settlements in North America (founded in 1608), it boasts a rich and turbulent history – a hallmark of every European town.  And, while hailing Québec City as the most European City outside of Europe is not going to win me any prizes for ‘Hottest Take of the Year’, it is certainly one worth repeating.

With regular non-stop flights from Newark (United) and JFK (Delta) and seasonal flights from Philadelphia (American) and Chicago (United), if you are ever itching for a quick fix of European magic, you need not look any further (or ‘farther’ – to quote Finding Forrester) than this pearl on the St. Lawrence.

And, while award availability leaves a bit to be desired, the value, often times, is quite unbeatable as you can get flights that are often $400+ for only 7,500-12,500 points.

phl-to-yqb

ewr-to-yqb-ns-aeroplan

And, if you can stomach yourself to suffer through the gruelling hour and a half journey, here is a brief glimpse of what waits you on the other side:

A picturesque city

whose bustling boulevards


and charming architecture

are protected by ramparts, parapets, and CANNONS!

  with its very own massive, spectacular château, The Fairmont Château Frontenac.

 A city where you’re just as likely to see a horse drawn carriage

as a Ferrari 458.

So what the hell are you waiting for?  Go ahead and book your flight!  Seriously, go ahead – I’ll wait.
[JEOPARDY MUSIC PLAYS]

Great.  Now for the hotel.  There are two pieces of advice I can give you in picking a hotel:

  1.  Location Location Location – Pick a hotel close to Vieux (Old) Québec.  You don’t want to walk far to get to the centre of the town.  The Best Western Centre Ville and the highly rated, Auberge Aux Deux Lions, are relatively bad choices for this very reason – they are both more than a half hour walk to the old city.  You want a hotel that’s close to the action, and by close, I mean less than a 5-10 minute walk. And, it isn’t hard as you really are spoilt for choice here.  And, while the Fairmont Frontenac would be a tempting choice if you have the free nights from the [no longer available] credit card bonus, I really wouldn’t bother with this hotel otherwise since it is a fairly dated hotel and the room rates are often quite expensive.  There are also a fair few reasonably priced boutique hotels on offer which have received extremely favourable reviews on TripAdvisor.
  2.  Views – If you’re interested in photography, I recommend a room with the city-view in the Hilton Québec.  This category 6 hotel runs a little more expensive than the other hotels ($150-$200) but it has a great club lounge with panoramic views of Québec City.  Furthermore, the views from the room cannot be beat as you can watch the sunrise over the beautiful Québec cityscape from the comfort of your bed thanks to the large panoramic window.  Here are a few of my shots:

Conclusion:

I’ll see you there!