We arrived! Our day had gone incredibly smooth: we caught an earlier flight, got upgraded to a minivan at the rental car counter and now at the Chateau Bellevue Hotel, we got upgraded to a king room/suite with complementary breakfast. We were one block from the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, the iconic grand hotel in the region. Much like the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, I read that it is the most photographed hotel in Canada. That was our first stop.
My recollections of Quebec City centered on this hotel back in 1984. We had stayed in Montreal 1-2 days and drove through Quebec City. I remember we parked at the Chateau Frontenac, walked through the lobby and walked around the town. I remember lots of stone structures and hills. I knew I wanted to come back here and spend more time. It seems we were getting ready to leave Quebec City and my father had to put something in the trunk of the rental car. In the process he dropped the keys inside and shut the trunk. This was before the buttons in the interior of the car that pop the trunk. There were no fold down seats to access the trunk either. We were stuck. Since the car had been rented in Montreal, there was not readily accessible second set of keys. After talking to the rental car agency via pay phones in the hotel, the solution was simple. Call a locksmith. We had to wait and it seemed that the entire process took several hours.
My mother had a different recollection of the hotel. She and my father stayed at the Chateau Frontenac on a Jaycees Convention. My father got sick, which was really rare, and my mother was scared to be in a foreign country with him being so ill. She probably was only 30 at the time and had barely been out of Mississippi, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
First things first – a celebratory cocktail at the 1608 bar inside the Chateau Frontenac. We had a perfect couch area in front of a picture window.
Afterwards we wallked around the Upper City to get our bearings passing the City Hall, the Price Edifice and eating dinner.
We eventually settled on dinner at Entrecort St Jean and then walked back to the hotel.
The second night, we ate at Bello – an amazing Italian yet FRench Canadian inspired restaurant with a wood fire oven. We were seated in a floor to ceiling window that had been opened. From here we could watch residents and visitors carrying coolers, walking strollers, waving Quebec blue and white flags as they headed towards the Plains of Abraham for the St. Jean Baptiste concert and fireworks.
Completely satisfied from our meal, we walked to City Hall where volunteers passed out small plastic flags. And after going through several handbag searches, we found a great spot for the concert. The only thing was that it didn’t start for another hour an a half. The plan was to walk back to the hotel where I would stay, but DH would get a sweater since it was getting cooler now the sun was going down. He ended up staying in the room as well. We could hear the fireworks a bit later.
On our last night in Quebec City, we went back to the 1608 bar at Chateau Frontenac. It was prom! As limos pulled into the courtyard, the young people clad in tuxedos and long dresses clapped when the riders got out. Inside the hotel, groups of girls giggling and boys nervously hanging out filled the lobby.
From there, we walked back to the lower city to Bistro Sous le Fort and had an enjoyable meal.