French Charm and Fall Foliage are the Perfect Beginning to Your Journey
Cathedral spires rise high above the St. Lawrence River, presiding over the stately UNESCO-listed Old Town like a regal guardian. Below, cobbled streets are lined with classic French bistros, quaint shops and walkways lit by lamplight. At the center of this spectacle Français is the Château Frontenac hotel, an icon of nobility and elegance. This is Québec City, and its beauty runs much deeper than this picture-perfect façade. In the summer, it pulses with entertainment – one art or music festival after another – and its Winter Festival is one of the world’s greatest, a wonderland of sparkling snow and festivities.
But in the fall, human creativity steps aside and lets Mother Nature put on the show.
North America’s oldest French city comes alive in autumn, when Crystal voyages embark through the northeast. One of the “musts” for any traveler exploring in Autumn is to venture outside of the city on one of the many hiking trails. It’s common to spot moose, red squirrels, groundhogs, white-tailed deer and other critters enjoying this playground, but it’s the foliage itself that is the real spectacle. Local peaks like Mont-Sainte-Anne are painted in orange, red and yellow; and top attractions like the 272-foot Montmorency Falls (that’s nearly 100 feet higher than Niagara, for those keeping score) are uncrowded in the fall, framed in the colors of the season.
Within the city center, magnificent sites of a different kind are everywhere. Exploring the Vieux-Québec, or Old Town, it’s easy to be swept away in the 17th– and 18th-century charm of the place, given the authentic and proud heritage encountered in every window. But venture beyond this district and you’ll be treated to decidedly cosmopolitan delights of today.
The cuisine, for instance. Thanks to the abundant local agriculture of nearby Île d’Orléans and Côte de Beaupré, Québec is a foodie haven. Restaurants specializing in rich French comfort foods like poutine, tourtiére and fois gras complement the traditional sweetness of Canadian maple treats, and neighborhood markets are packed with fresh bites from local cooks.
Québec City’s heart beats in French and the joie de vivre here is contagious. You’ll find that while most Québécois are bilingual, French is the first and preferred language of everyday life. Not to worry if your college French has worn off though, most public areas of the city and hospitality establishments offer English. As Québec City calms after the summer crowds have gone, it offers no less character and enthusiastic welcome for visitors.
Travelers spending autumn in Québec are in for an enchanting journey of culture and nature. Crystal Serenity’s October 14, 2020 “Autumn in the Maritimes” voyage begins with two days in this French-Canadian gem, with the option to extend your exploration early with a pre-cruise hotel stay at Le Germain Hotel Quebec.