Quebec City is beautiful and romantic in the winter, even if you are alone. I love wandering through on a warm summer day. But for me, winter is the time to visit Quebec City. The Old City especially feels designed for snow, and takes on a special kind of intimacy and warmth when it gets cold.
I always find myself drawn to the Old City and have only once stayed outside the gates. I’ve been lucky that even when staying with friends, they lived just inside the gates. Perhaps drawn like I am to the history and the magic of old Quebec and old Canada. Our roots as a nation run deep here.
Though I must admit there has been at least one winter visit where we spent most of our time curled up under blankets in a tiny room tucked under the eves in an old auberge. We hadn’t packed properly and the wind was so cold, sharp and intense that it literally hurt to go outside. But that’s okay. A quick jaunt to the depannuer around the corner set us up with wine, cheese, pâté and baguette. We had our books and each other, and adventuring out to dinner every evening became a wonderful, albeit cold, act of bravery.
This visit was nothing like that though. My room at the Hotel Chateau Bellevue was lovely and it was warm enough to walk around without gloves, a hat or even a scarf.
Walking the streets of Quebec City on February 13th, alone, however does remind you a bit that you are alone. It’s still beautiful, and intimate, and romantic. But it’s quiet. Most people, even the tourists are saving up for the next night – Valentine’s Day.
After driving all day, I spent a little time decompressing in my room before heading back out for dinner. The restaurant Julie had so highly recommended – Le Lapin Sauté – was just over the cliff in the Quartier Petit Champlain. That meant I got to choose between the stairs and a ride on the funicular.
Obviously I chose the funicular!
I took advantage of the quiet to get a line-free and private ride down on the funicular and a wait-free table at Le Lapin Sauté. Which was impressive since it was the last table in the restaurant.
While I hadn’t known the restaurant when Julie recommended it, I realized that I’ve eaten there often though only in the summer and on their patio. They have an excellent breakfast. This was my first time inside the restaurant and my first time there for dinner.
Even with the full restaurant I couldn’t resist bringing Travel Bunny out for a little photoshoot.
He was not especially impressed with my dinner choices since I had the Rabbit Rillette as an appetizer (Leila chimed in via twitter that she wasn’t impressed with my choice either!)
The rillette was was served with pickles, candied carrot and onion jam which was a great accompaniment since the rillette was mild and wonderfully smooth. But the pickled and candied condiments really didn’t do the house red any favours, leaving it tasting more than a little funky. When I mentioned it to the staff they told it me it was supposed to taste that way. Drinkable but not worthy of a second glass. I told myself this was good for my budget and focused on the food.
For my main, I had the Rabbit Pie which came with a fruit chutney and salad. But it was oh, so very good. And large. I was only able to finish half of it and I really tried.
Okay, I couldn’t have tried that hard because as soon as they told me they had a traditional raspberry pudding, there was no doubt I would be having it.
While I stayed at the table and ate my raspberry pudding and cream! Travel Bunny had a little adventure with one of the waiters. Service had finished and the waiter kindly took him into the kitchen for a tour. (And took my camera too)
Note: the kitchen had stopped serving and was being cleaned when travel bunny when in for his tour so no meals were compromised by him being there. And you have to love a restaurant where they have a sense of humour and play.
Note: this post part of my Lex Go Further – A Ford Escape series sponsored by Ford Canada and Tourism Quebec. If you want to know more about what trouble I get into, you can read my disclosure statement here.