Pipers Go Quebec: The Honeymoon

Mar 13, 2015

-- Quebec --

Quaint streets with snowscapes so idyllic you almost forget its negative degrees outside whilst you stroll the city.


Bundle it up. 

Then put a layer on top of that. Then add hand warmers. 

Repeat after me: base layer, (warm) clothes, winter gear.  


You will never be cold. I wouldn't lie.

You're welcome.

Fortifications of Quebec


--  Hotel --

Fairytales were made at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.  

I'm sure of it.

Luxury, without being totally over the top (great rates too). Understated elegance. Impeccable service. Two, very enthusiastic thumbs up.

The gym had a treadmill with a touchscreen TV that overlooked a snow covered patio. Happy camper. Plus, the ability to knock out a quick HIIT workout with all the equipment I needed at the ready, was everything.  

There is even a fruit + water station at the entryway to keep you hydrated and your belly happy with healthy snacks.

-- Hotel de Glace -- 

Behind the scenes tour is where its at.

Learn about construction (so much snow), number of rooms (44), suites (17), and how it all works. 

Each suite was themed and decorated differently. 

Hand carved.  All of it. High fives to all the people (ten) who make this happen.

That said, I'm glad we did not stay here.  But, if frigid cold is your cup of tea it'd definitely be worth it to stay the night

Archway mold

Side note: I'm killing it with action photos these days.  Thankfully my subject appeases my incessant "jump now!" requests. 

At tours end you each make your own ice glass then have a drink at one of the bars. 

Twist my arm.

After that, you get free range to explore all the rooms and grounds. 

There was even a wedding while we were there (they have an ice chapel) -- the bride was stunning. 

-- Winter Carnival -- 

Each year the city hosts an EPIC month long party, The Winter Carnival.  Think all the fun things you did as a child, add booze, and spread it across the city.  

Bonhommes Ice Palace

Snow Sculpture

Tubing at the Plains d'Abraham

Snow Sculpture

Canoe Race on the St. Lawrence River

This, is how you "dress up" in the arctic when you're walking to dinner.

Packing was a serious dilemma in my brain -- in the end I dumped all my sweaters, fleece pullovers and jeans in my suitcase and called it great.

Thankfully, most restaurants have entry ways  (like the above photo) where you can de-arctic before you enjoy a meal. Small touches such as those make my day.

Pro tip: pack more bottom base layers than you think you'll need (packed and wore all three), and less  warm middle layers (packed 6, wore 3).


Life, complete.

Sugar packets that reminded me of home

-- Picardie --

The walk from our hotel  to Picardie is not for the faint of heart (over a mile, in the elements) but it was doable and worth it. Chocolate madeleine with my coffee, mandatory.

Ham, Brie and Apple. Toasted. Because that's where dreams come true.

-- Dog Sledding --

Duo dog sledding (one of us drove while the other rode and vice versa).

Best. Experience. Ever. 

Highly recommend it (its kid friendly!).

The dogs were adorable and friendly. I snuggled them all. 

Miles and Rubin would be so jealous if they knew.

I may/not have crashed the sled going downhill because I wasn't heavy enough to slow down the sled/dogs/mark seated after gravity took over.  

I may/not have had major jaw pain (I flew head/face first into a mound of snow), and he may/not have a giant bruise on his thigh (where the sled tipped/flipped over). 

Dog kennel area -- 63 dogs.  So much furry cuteness. 

Then, they treated us to hot cocoa (REAL chocolate, French Canadians live legit) and home made banana bread.  

Drinking chocolate and an everything cookie.  You must.

-- Ciel --

Stopped for a drink on our way to dinner. Genius idea.

-- Bistro B --

The menu at Bistro B depends on what is in season -- we were already happy.

Fantastic service, I cannot stress that enough.  FANTASTIC.

Vodka with home made orange liqueur.

Zero complaints.

Oysters?! When in -- Quebec.

They were delicious.  Check that food off the ole' try list.

Hers. The fish.

His. The steak.

Ours. Creme' Brulee.

Sweater c/o my mother in law, circa 1980's. Not pictured a hot pink snow suit that co-or-dinates.

Outlet in the hotel bathroom. That night light changed my husbands life and upon our return home, he bought and installed one in our hallway.

No idea where I got this, but hello life saver! Perhaps I should skip the pre-trip manicure, without fail two days in its all chipped.

Paillard. The patisserie that make my heart skip a beat.  Those breakfast sandwiches....

The croissants are made and lathered in REAL butter.

(insert wide eyed smile emoji)

Dinner at Al Wadi, nothing like a bit of Arabian cuisine to spice up all the French food.

Poutine (appetizer) at St. Patricks Pub.  Because fries topped with gravy and cheese curds make life worth living.

Burger and fry chaser.  Because we were trying to clog all our arteries in one, delightful meal.

Maple Cake at Bistro Sous le Fort

-- Skiing --

Bunny slope
Monte Sainte Anne for the win, again.

Yours truly planned to "wing it" on the slopes, thinking better of rash decisions and signing up for a lesson.  Considering I've skied once, in eighth grade, I made a wise choice.

Instruction size was cozy, two people.  Perfect.

Sadly for me, I crashed into the ski stand (photo above) because I didn't know how to stop...yet.

Embarrassing myself comes so easily.

This guy was in snow heaven. Sadly, for him, his spouse had reached her limit of skiing for a lifetime in the 90 minute lesson, making a solo pass down the bunny slope together before I wiped out.


I was certain I'd snapped my leg and wanted an ambulance, he said I could get myself up just fine.

Do people divorce on their honeymoon

Because I was this.close.

Leg not broken, pride fully erased, Olympic ski team dreams dashed.  

Whatever fantasies he had of us skiing side-by-side holding hands skiing hearts in the snow were crushed. My ski equipment was returned and I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the lodge, reading Big Little Lies on my phone and thanking God they had wifi.

I passed out on the way back to our hotel, and because my meltdown was so epic in nature, he decided against stirring me to go to Montmorency Falls.  Seeing it from the highway would have to do.

To lift my shatter pride, we went to Paillard (again), this time just for dessert.

Wherein I ordered the entire menu like a winner.

Happy wife...

They had tarte tropezienne and I screamed a tiny bit out loud. 

Truth be told it wasn't as decadent and amazing as the original, but got my fix. And, the salesperson couldn't understand my horrific French, so we got two pieces instead of one.  So I had the other for breakfast.  

No complaints.

 -- Panache --

This meal is what I looked most forward to. Brunch at Panache.

The bread basket with home made butter and jams didn't stand a chance. Neither did the mimosas...

He had the eggs benedict.

I had beef cheek (it was the special)  in this velvety cheese sauce with eggs. And toast. 

Moroccan Mint Tea to cap off the meal.  BEST mint tea I've had -- already found it on Amazon. 

That is, until I get to Marrakesh and have proper mint tea...

-- Bistro Le Sam --

Cocktails at Bistro Le Sam, the hotel lounge with Jean Felix as our mixologist. 

Gin and Tonic, replete with juniper berry garnish.

Old Cuban (think mojito meets champagne) -- HEAVEN

French 75 

By drink two we realized, quickly we'd need more food on our bellies.  The craft cocktail experience is unrivaled.  You have to. 

This drink was made solely because I saw the jar of house macerated maraschino cherries and requested my next drink have them.

No idea the name. It was slightly sweet and silly smooth.  But then again when Jean Felix brulees cherries in the bottom of your glass to craft your drink, it will taste like magic. 

Most creative drink.  By now I was four craft cocktails in, and as a two glass (of wine) minimum gal, this was a lot.  

I'm a team player. No regrets.

Nevertheless it resembled punch, equally sweet and sour, with a ice cup of berries atop. This was so awesome a lady down the bar asked to "have what I was having". So I'm practically famous.

PSA: Make the time to have a proper craft cocktail experience (this was our first). Watching the mixologist at work is an art form (it takes 3-5 minutes a drink).  Be sure you sit at the bar to get a real lesson in cocktails and don't be afraid to ask for them to surprise you. You will not be disappointed. Just be sure to call a cab...

The honeymoon was over too soon.

We had six Canadian dollars to spend so I hit up the airport store for snacks.  Eighteen dollars later...

That's ok, we grin from ear to ear when we reminisce on our time in Quebec. 

And, because I'm obsessed with video recaps of trips...

QUEBEC from Marcia Ginger on Vimeo.


  1. The idea of visiting Quebec had never even entered my mind (especially in the winter). Until now. Holy cow, the place is gorgeous. And all the food and drinks? Yes, I'll have one of each (and extra croissants) please and thank you.
    I'll skip the skiing portion. I wouldn't know how to put a ski - or boot, you have to wear those, too, right? - on to save my life.
    Fab trip my friend!

  2. Mark has gotta work on him jumping game. Looks like a fish.


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