Wandering Through Old Quebec City at Christmas

Quebec City

Whether or not you’re a religious person it’s hard to deny a certain warm feeling that walking through a great city during the holidays provides. Some cities do this better than others and my all time favorites tend to be in Europe. But if you’re looking for that Old World holiday charm in North America, fear not because it is alive and well in the Petit Champlain neighborhood of Quebec City.

 

Not the Petit Champlain, but another festive area of Quebec City.

The heart of the city’s old town, the Petit Champlain is a remarkably well preserved area of town that captures the romantic feeling of the city. Its position next to the Saint Lawrence River has guaranteed its popularity throughout the ages, but after falling on hard times in the 1970s and 80s this neighborhood has made a remarkable comeback. Like many other historic neighborhoods around the world, today the Petit Champlain is full of restaurants and shops, catering not only to tourists but curious locals as well. Looming high above is the mighty Chateau Frontenac, the Gilded Age hotel that is a constant companion as you wander through the narrow streets and alleys.

 

 

The Petit Champlain is a great place to explore on an average day, but during the holidays it transforms into a place of Old World beauty. I could have easily been wandering through a village in northern France instead of Canada, the look, the feel and even the smells are the same. We were there on the day they put up the annual Christmas tree in the ancient square, fulfilling a tradition that has been going on for longer than I’ve been alive.

 

 

 

Sure, some of the festive nature of a great European city during the Christmas holidays was lacking, but I didn’t mind. I could do without the hoards of people smelling of mulled wine and crepes. Instead we were able to walk peacefully around the quarter, admiring its beauty and already planning a return visit before we even finished our first.

 

Lobby of Chateau Frontenac featuring tree made from former roof

 

I was in Quebec as the guest of Quebec Tourism.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

12 Responses

  1. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer)

    I’m so glad you liked my capital! As a kid I spent much of my summer and Christmas holidays in the city, and the magic still hasn’t faded with time.

    Reply
  2. Tracy Antonioli

    I somehow knew–before I clicked on the link on Twitter–that this would be a post full of gorgeous photos. And I wasn’t disappointed. This is LOVELY–and makes me want to hop in my car asap and take the (semi-long) trip up. Quebec City has been on my must-visit list for a long, long time, and I’ve never considered going in the winter months (because, well, it’s north. And I can typically only travel in summer, so I usually ‘save’ northern destinations for July and August). I may need to reconsider.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Very kind of you to say Tracy and I say yes! Reconsider!

      Reply
  3. Red Hunt

    My favourite city in North America. Been so many times and always love it….yet I haven’t been in winter yet! Visiting during Carnival is a must on my travel list. Super pictures here….especially the night ones.

    Reply
  4. Michel Jolin

    Beautiful pics, the Beavertails restaurant (2nd from the bottom) was built as a home for my ancestor Jean Demers :) (My paternal Grandmother was a Demers)

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Wow, that’s amazing! You’re lucky to have such a personal connection to this beautiful city.

      Reply
  5. DoreenB.Nelson

    it is looking even more beautiful with the Christmas preparations. photos are gorgeous.
    can anyone tell how to find a good rental car in Quebec?

    Reply
  6. Sofia

    It looks like a really quaint city, a bit European :)

    Reply
  7. Annie@GreenGlobalTravel

    This looks so beautiful, I love the way places glow with Christmas decorations… And this looks even lovelier -because- of the lack of people in the pictures. I do love the festivitites of a European city at Christmas too, but this looks tranquil… Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. brian

    good stuff. my girlfriend are skipping town for Christmas (much to the chagrin of our families) and chose Quebec City based on a recommendation from a co-worker. All it took to convince my girlfriend was to direct her to Google Images and search for “Quebec City, Christmas”…she was sold.

    while we are only going to be in town for a total of 3 nights, I imagine we will make do, haha, I am a little concerned about finding a restaurant open on Christmas day, but if worst comes to worst, I am sure the hotel can make something happen.

    Also, noticed that Quebec City sponsored your trip. Well played…I will take some time and check out the rest of your site.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Thanks, yeah we were there for just a few nights and found that to be fine. As far as restaurants being open I would contact the hotel now and ask them what restaurants have set menus. I bet several will, but you’ll need reservations in advance. We ran into that issue before in other cities. You’ll love it though, it’s a beautiful city, especially at Christmas.

      Reply

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