Quick Recap - Our Québec Trip
When we had Judah in October 2018, one of our goals for his first year of life was to take an international vacation just the 3 of us. For a number of reasons that we’ll discuss in a future “traveling with a 9-month-old” blog post, we decided that Québec would be a great spot to spend a few days, specifically in Quebec City and Montreal. An added bonus was that even with as well-traveled as Chandler is, she had NEVER been to Canada! So we set off as a family of 3 into a new country (for Chandler and Judah) to spend a week exploring a new place, relaxing, and dreaming about the future of our family and our business. Traveling with a baby was definitely a bit slower pace than some of our previous trips, but we had an incredible time.
Here is the quick summary of our itinerary in Quebec City! Feel free to jump to an individual day by clicking or read through the entire itinerary! Links to specific spots can be found at the bottom of the page.
Day 1: Travel (Nashville - NYC - Montreal, Drive to Quebec City)
Day 2: Resort Day, Boulangerie Du Lac, Chateau Fairmont Le Chatea Frontenac, Dinner at Le Chic Shack (amazing burgers)
Day 3: Driving around Île d'Orléans - Vignoble Ste-Pétronille (winery), Café Boutique La Maison Smith (lunch), Les Fromages de l'isle d'Orléans (famous cheeses), Érablière Richard Boily: Sugar Shack (Maple Syrup Farm…a hidden gym and our favorite part of the day!)
Day 4: Resort Day, Golf at Club de golf Mont Tourbillon,
Day 5: Resort Morning, Quebec City for lunch/exploring - Bistro L'Orygine (lunch - AMAZING), walking around Old Town Quebec and exploring,
Day 6: Morning at the resort packing and kayaking, lunch in the city
Day 1 - Travel Day from Nashville to Québec
We started the trip off with a bang - a 12-hour travel day! 12 hours of travel will weary even the most seasoned of travelers, so we were pretty tuckered out by the time we got in. We decided to fly from Nashville to Montreal, and then drive to Quebec City (a 3 hour drive). We did this for a couple of reasons:
Flights were less expensive to Montreal
We wanted to spend time in both Quebec City and Montreal, and thus…
Renting a car and returning it to the same location is WAY less expensive than a one-way rental, which is what we would have had to do had we flown into Quebec City and then out of Montreal.
Even though this resulted in a little bit of a lengthier travel day, it’s also really fun to see the country as you drive between towns, especially in a new place! We arrived at our hotel - Entourage sur-le-lac - around 6pm, just enough time to let J crawl his wiggles out, put him to bed, pour a glass of wine and watch the season finale of the Bachelorette. All in all, as smooth of a travel day as you can ask for.
Also a quick shoutout (not at all sponsored) to Hotels.com and Expedia (who own hotels.com) - because I am an Expedia VIP (a story for another time), they hooked us up with an upgraded room at our resort. The resort is already awesome by itself, but this upgrade was such a surprise and a huge blessing to our family and our trip. We are very thankful to get to experience Quebec City in style.
Day 2 - Resort Day
Because of the long travel day, we wanted to take things pretty easy on our first full day in Quebec City. We spent the morning mostly hanging in our room looking out over the lake and getting work done. It was a rainy morning, so it was the perfect time to relax and play a little catch up from the travel day.
Once the weather cleared up a little, we grabbed some lunch and coffee at an AMAZING boulangerie (link below) near the resort, and headed out to the lake for a few minutes. Judah is still gettin used to being in the water, but he seemed to like it more this time than ever before. At nap time, Chandler headed out to the lake to do a little exploring of her own. The resort has kayaks, paddle boards, etc. for guests to use, so she headed out to the lake to spend a little time on the water.
In the evening we headed into Quebec City. We were welcomed with some INSANE traffic, as apparently it was the first night of a month-long festival called Grands Feux Loto-Québec. But traffic aside, once we found a parking spot, we were able to walk around the old city and it was quite charming. Even though it was a little more crowded than maybe is normal, we still had a wonderful time walking around the city, eating a burger at Le Chic Shack, and checking out the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
Day 3: Île d'Orléans
Located just outside of downtown Quebec City, the Île d'Orléans is a small island in the St. Lawrence River and is home to a lot of farming and agriculture. There is SO MUCH charm on this island - driving around it feels as if this little island has resisted jumping into the modern age, and I mean that in the best way. It’s not a step back in time - it’s a place where times seems to have simply slowed down.
All in all, it takes about an hour or so to drive all the way around the island (there is one major road that goes all the way around). Naturally as you stop at different places along the way, your trip will extend, but all that to say - it’s not a big island. When we entered the island, we headed southward. We started out by grabbing lunch at Café Boutique La Maison Smith. It’s a great little coffee shop and cafe! Low key and very charming. The cafe is directly across the street from a couple wineries, so naturally we walked over and checked that out after lunch.
From there, it’s pretty much just driving around and exploring through the different little towns. There are antique shops, bakeries, old churches, pretty much anything that has old-world charm. We love exploring this stuff, so we just took our time driving around the island and it was lovely.
There are two places of note that we stopped - firstly, Les Fromages de l'isle d'Orléans. This cheese factory is home to the oldest cheese in North America and is a staple of the Île d'Orléans. We wanted to get some cheese and didn’t really know what, but we saw everyone else coming in and grabbing the same thing, so we grabbed one to! Come to find out, this is their signature cheese - the 1608 cheese recipe that is the oldest cheese in North America. It is a round cheese patty requires grilling actually, so we have saved it to eat when we get home to Nashville.
The second place of note (and possibly our favorite spot of the trip) was the Cabane A Sucre (Sugar Shack) - a maple syrup farm. As a family who loves to eat pancakes, we also LOVE maple syrup. We totally would have missed this place is Chandler hadn’t read about it previously because it is tucked away in a forest of, what else, maple trees. When we drove in, we were surrounded by a forest of maple trees with green rubber tubing going from tree to tree. We would later learn that this is how they harvest the sugar water to turn into syrup. This syrup factory is a family owned operation - the family’s main business is actually trout farming, but the syrup farm has been in their family for many years and is now used as supplemental income.
The owner gave us a really informative tour of the facility, explained to us the syrup-making process, showed us their equipment, and let us taste their products (yum!). This was SUCH a fun experience and I feel like it’s a little hidden gym on the Île d'Orléans.
Day 4: City for Chandler, Golf for Jeremy
Day 4 was mostly another relaxing day at the resort. Chandler started the day early and went into Quebec City to explore, drink a cup of coffee, and get some pictures of the still-sleeping city. It’s one of her favorite things to do in our travels.
When she got back to the resort, the 3 of us grabbed breakfast and hung out for a bit. It was a BEAUTIFUL day so we were able to spend time on our deck overlooking the water, hanging out, and getting work done. In the afternoon, I went and played golf at Club de golf Mont Tourbillon, which is right across the lake from the Entourage. This is one of MY favorite things to do in our travels. It was a really beautiful course nestled in the mountains, and although I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, it was very fun.
Day 5: Afternoon in Quebec City
We spent the morning of day 5 hanging at the resort and getting some work done. Judah had a little trouble sleeping the night before, so we were all moving a little slow. After Judah’s first nap, we loaded up and went into Quebec City for lunch and some rainy day exploring. We ate at an AMAZING spot called Bistro L'Orygine. Very cool design, VERY tasty food. It’s a farm to table restaurant that sources all its ingredients locally. We each got the chef’s sample meal so that we could try a variety of menu items. They did not disappoint in the least.
After lunch, we spent a little time exploring old town QC. We love just walking around and taking in the culture. It was pretty busy in this area when we were there, so we didn’t stick around for a really long time. I do feel like we got a good glimpse of the neighborhood and very much enjoyed walking around to check it out!
We ended the afternoon at the resort, getting a little work done, hanging by the lake, and Judah was working on his mountain climbing.
We spent the morning at the resort getting packed up and ready to head to Montreal. Once we were all packed, Chandler headed out to the water one last time to get a little kayaking in while I hung out on the porch soaking up the mountain air and doing a little reading. I love relaxing mornings, especially in a place like this!
Once Judah woke up from his nap, we packed the car and headed into QC one more time. We went to a different part of the city than we had explored before - the Rue Saint-Jean, which is a hip neighborhood to the west of old town. We got lunch at Bols Et Poke, which was a GREAT poke bowl spot. So fresh and tasty - just what we were wanting. We walked around a little more and found a great coffee shop (the first good coffee we found in QC, although admittedly we didn’t try very hard before this) called Cantook. Judah made some new friends on the street while we sat outside enjoying a nice cup of coffee, and then we headed out to Montreal.
This was a different kind of trip for us. If you’ve read any of our previous travel blogs (some highlights being Seattle, Israel, France, Iceland, Grand Canyon, Italy, England), you might know that we generally do vacations at breakneck pace. We see and do A LOT in the time that we have, often because our trips are generally 5-7 days and we want to make the most of where we are. That’s a great way to do it, BUT when you have a 9-month old in tow things just look a little different. And honestly, I loved it.
This vacation was a more relaxed pace. Yes we could have done more and seen more in QC. Yes we could have eaten at a few more cool spots. Yes we could have spent more time exploring different parts of the city. But that’s not what this trip was about. We spent every morning leisurely at the resort, eating breakfast at the restaurant, hanging out on the porch or at the lake, simply being together and enjoying each other and the beautiful surroundings. Then after first nap, we would go into town or do whatever it was that we were doing for the day. We went at it hard for a few hours, then came back to the resort to finish out the day at the lake. It’s different, but I loved the pace. It’s a lot easier to take it slow when the place you are is so beautiful, and that is exactly what we needed.
Hotels.com - great for booking travel and killer rewards. Might even do a full blog on this at some point.
Expedia - owns hotels.com, also helpful for booking travel
Boulangerie Du Lac - amazing local place for sandwiches and pastries
Le Chic Shack - one of the best burgers I’ve ever had
RICHARD BOILY FARMHOUSE (Sugar Shack) - Maple Syrup farmer, so off the beaten path and hidden that their website only addresses their trout farming and not even their syrup making! SO much fun and they gave an awesome tour of the farm and the syrup making process!