Updated: Feb 14
Quebec City in winter feels like a quaint old French City crossed with Siberia. But rather than stay indoors and complain, the hardy Québécois embrace their frigid weather and turn their city into party central. Who else but snow loving Canadians would have thought to build a toboggan run in the heart of the city above the famous Chateau Frontenac Hotel. As sledders descend on the triple icy tracks at speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour, you can hear the screams of joy from as far away as the outdoor bars of the hotel. The city is defined by the toboggan run that has been delighting visitors since 1884, the year after the hotel opened its doors. Modeled on a chateau from the Loire Valley, the hotel was built during the heyday of the Canadian Pacific Railway as one of the posh places where passengers could start or end journeys. Celebrities have stayed at the Frontenac for the past 125 years and Churchill and Roosevelt met there secretly to plan the Normandy Invasion.
Taking a ride on the toboggan run is a great way to get your adrenaline running and prepare to explore the historic old part of Quebec. We chose a charming hotel just up the hill from the Frontenac and within the city gates. The Manoir d'Auteuil is a historic house built by the son of Jonathan Sewell, who was the last of the Crown's Attorney Generals of Massachusetts. He fled to Quebec during the American Revolution, and made a new life for himself among the Quebecois. The hotel has a charming staff and offers a full and delicious breakfast each morning. Wine, drinks and snacks are available in the bar area until 10 p.m. each evening.
The location is perfect since guests can easily walk to all the Old Town shops, museums and restaurants as well as to the attractions in the newer part of the city. We're staying for Carnival week and we're just a 10 minute walk from all the Carnival venues and the Plains of Abraham where you can cross-country ski, snowshoe and ice skate. See upcoming posts to learn how to embrace winter and learn to love the cold like the people of Quebec.