Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 06/29/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
It's easy to be seduced by the allure of dining in France, hiking in the Rockies or paddling the Amazon, but experiences closer to home are among the most thrilling anywhere.
Quebec produces enviable cheese, chocolate, foie gras, wine and beer. It has mountains and forests, rivers and lakes -- with the Orford Express and the Train du Charlevoix rolling through those splendid landscapes. There is terrific food, from the folksy m©choui at the Festival du Cochon in Ste-Perp©tue to the handful of Relais & Ch¢teaux. If you like the sea -- and seafood -- can you possibly do better than Gasp© or éles-de-la-Madeleine?
Here are some of Quebec's most accessible and affordable summer highlights.
I'm in awe of the majestic, 405-room Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, which overlooks the St-Lawrence River and the Charlevoix mountains. It has 27 holes of picturesque golf, a full spa and an outstanding indoor-outdoor pool system. A battery of charging stations for electric vehicles is new. Divine delicacy: General manager Jean-Jacques Etcheberrigaray owns a duck farm, so expect the finest foie gras in Le Manoir's gastronomic dining room, Le Charlevoix.
Choosing the best beer in Quebec is difficult, so I'm voting for an exceptional beer encounter. The lively Les Brasseurs du Temps in Gatineau embraces a microbrewery, a brasserie and a first-rate mini-museum exploring the history of brewing. The menu features bison sausage, filet mignon and lamb stew, each delicately and deliciously flavoured with beer. Carb alert: The double-decadent chocolate cake is made with stout.
Sea kayaking has both thrills and chills. Mer et Monde âcotours organizes whale-watching excursions in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, where the water temperature dips to 4 C, the waves and currents are capricious and the occasional 50-ton whale splashes by. Kayakers start with a lesson on whale habits, safety measures and paddling techniques. Close encounters: Whales have been spotted as close as two metres.
La Traite restaurant near Quebec City blends First Nations inspiration and ingredients from farms, lakes, forests and hunts. Chef Martin Gagn© uses rare herbs, roots and edible flowers to spice dishes such as wapiti with hand-foraged mushrooms, rabbit confit with apple cider, pheasant with haskap berries, lobster and scallops in sorrel soup and trout perfumed with essence of black spruce. Lodging news: The stylish, contemporary H¥tel-Mus©e Premi®res Nations is opening a new long house.
BALNEA spa + thermal reserve, one of more than 40 Nordic spas in Quebec, is bliss in Bromont-sur-le-Lac. BALNEA -- it uses capital letters to stand out -- is a striking getaway with a splendid hillside setting tucked into a forest and overlooking a tiny lake. In addition to steam rooms, saunas and bubbling baths, BALNEA adds paddle-boarding yoga and air mattresses that float among lily pads. Among the 55 spa treatments are the new ayurvedic series and the Abenaki ritual.
The Aquarium du Quebec in Quebec City presents a rare chance to see polar bears, walruses and seals without paddling to their natural habitat.
The aquarium is home to 10,000 marine animals -- fish both large and small, snakes, turtles, frogs, invertebrates such as octopus or jellyfish and the big sea mammals, all living in super-sized tanks or watery outdoor environments. The aquarium is a sprawling park with picnic areas and water games for the children -- a blessing in sweltering weather.
Jacques Cartier was seduced by the beauty of éle d'Orl©ans and you will be, too. You can drive or cycle along the St. Lawrence River and through historic villages. éle d'Orl©ans is 90 per cent agricultural land so there are many farm stands selling products made from berries, apples, grapes and vegetables. The ultimate summer lunch is a lobster "guedille" at Panache Mobile, a gourmet truck stop run by Auberge Saint-Antoine, a Relais & Ch¢teaux. It's nestled in the Ste-P©tronille vineyard with a spectacular view of Montmorency Falls.
The Festival International du Blues de Tremblant will rock the Laurentians with 150 shows July 5-14, starring headliners like James Cotton, Buckwheat Zydeco and Jonas & the Massive Attraction. And Les Rythmes de Tremblant will present free concerts every weekend until Aug. 25
Summer in the city is like a candy store of entertainment. Heavyweights Celine Dion (July 27) and Paul McCartney (July 23) will light up the Plains of Abraham. On the rainbow beat, there is the F�te Arc-en-ciel in Quebec City on Labour "Gay" Weekend? Arc-en-ciel will continue the shindig with outdoor shows, parties in bars and a community fair, mostly in the Old Port and along rue Saint-Jean. You don't have to be queer; the scene is LGBTA, with "A" standing for "allies."
-- Postmedia News
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2013 E3
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Trump says DC hotel will be among world's best
Group tours: How to pick the right 1 for you
Atlanta Cyclorama painting to move across town
Clemson students rebuild SC Botanical Gardens
Northern Utah wildfires close off some recreation
Kayak.com reveals cheapest days to fly in Canada
Trump: Hotel in capital to be among world's best
Eastern Ky. touted in culinary tourism promotion
Shipwrecked Concordia making final voyage off isle
European carriers suspend more Tel Aviv flights
In international flight, volatile conflicts abound
Alaska sets record for number of visitors
Man dies in California after beach hole collapses
Air France, Lufthansa suspend flights to Tel Aviv
European agency urges airlines to avoid Tel Aviv
Flight bans show skittishness over trouble spots
JetBlue pilot among 6 arrested in Boston drug bust
National WWII Museum welcomes 4 millionth visitor
Military exercises delay flights throughout China
Wright brothers' mechanic honoured at Ohio museum
Legal marijuana milestone heads for Seattle museum
Twain to wrap Las Vegas residency in December
Reindeer dogs from Alaska's cranky hot dog vendor
Report: Higher seas mean extreme floods in SC, NC
Shark sightings off US state a boon for tourism
Boy also injured fingers on Disney World ride
Simulated service begins on Metro's Silver Line
Nunavut offers lots for Arctic adventure-seekers
Finding elephants and fancy food on Namibia safari
New Hampshire's fair season gets underway
As numbers of grey seals rise, so do conflicts
Graceland Too tours, MacLeod memorial to be Aug 12
Southwest jet to Dallas safely returns to Austin
Graceland Too to reopen; MacLeod memorial planned
As numbers of grey seals rise, so do conflicts
Creating own travel itinerary a growing trend
TSA screener: Man had 'artfully concealed knife'
Terrorist database continues to grow at rapid rate
Construction begins on new Salt Lake City airport