The second part of my trip to Quebec was as equally memorable and beautiful as the first. We left the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac very early in the morning and drove back to Montmorency Falls to catch a train to Charlevoix. The Charlevoix region is located North East of Quebec City, along the St. Lawrence River, and is known for rolling hills, agriculture and scenic views. This renowned region has also been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere, an internationally recognized area of ecological importance. During our one hour train ride, we passed centuries old, quaint villages along the river from Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre to Baie-Saint-Paul where the train dropped us off directly at our hotel at the Baie-Saint-Paul station. Our stay for this night was at the Le Germain Charlevoix Hotel and Spa. This 4-star hotel is set on a working farm, complete with grazing cows and sheep, and was once home to a large wooden barn complex. When an accident caused the barns to burn down in 2007, the hotel was constructed on its footprint and the result is one of historic rustic elegance with chic modern amenities. Looking out the window of my room onto the farm and hills, I was captivated by the beauty of the Canadian countryside and could easily imagine being in France. Baie-Saint-Paul is a small charming 16th Century village and after lunch at Le Mouton Noir, we wandered the afternoon away through it’s narrow streets, browsing the shops and many art galleries. Returning to the hotel, we all enjoyed the pool, jacuzzi and steam room before dinner. This was exactly what was needed after an early morning train ride and a full afternoon of exploring. Dinner was at the hotel, at Les Labours Restaurant. Being on location at a farm, you can just imagine how fresh and seasonal the food was. Our dining experience was unique in that the kitchen was open on all four sides, so the food was truly the star of the show. I enjoyed a glass of red wine, a vegetarian Beet Foie Gras and Magdalen Island’s Scallops. After a long and happy day, I welcomed the luxurious comforts of my room that made it easy to unwind and refresh for our next day of adventure.
Day 4 started with a sumptuous breakfast before we headed to our final destination of La Malbaie and the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Only 90 minutes from Quebec City, this stunning 5-star hotel sits above the St. Lawrence River and was built in 1929 to resemble a French castle. In part because of its natural beauty, it was most recently the host of the newsworthy 44th G7 Summit this past June. Area activities include snowshoeing, dog sledding and skiing in the winter and golf, hiking and whale watching in the summer. For our last night in Canada we had dinner outside on the patio at Le Table Terroir. Most memorable was my perfectly grilled steak and the variety of amazing caramels and chocolates we enjoyed at the end of the meal. On our final day, we drove back to Quebec City in a luxury bus and headed to the airport (and back to reality). My trip was just outstanding, went by far too quickly and I was sorry to see it end. Our days were filled with local food and drink, art, architecture, history and culture, amazing scenery, outdoor activities and superb accommodations. Quebec is such an easy flight from New York but mentally it’s a world away, so there’s no excuse to not visit again (and again). I can’t thank Quebec Tourism enough for the opportunity to experience this very historic and beautiful Canadian province and the for the lasting memories that it brought. It was a great, great trip.