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Auberge Saint-Antoine offered an excellent value in a stunning Relais & Chateaux property in the 400-year-old walled city, the oldest fortified city in North America. The Quebec hotel itself is built on the original foundations. As the entire city (with the exception of one house that is now a restaurant) was destroyed by cannonball fire in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, there are no other original buildings, aside from the walls of the city.
In fact, when they built the parking garage for the hotel they did an archeological dig and recovered thousands of artifacts from the city’s original inhabitants, from weapons to pottery and utensils. These artifacts are displayed throughout the hotel in bedside table display cases, in small cases beside each room number, in the hallways of the hotel, literally everywhere. It is like a local museum.
For the 10th year in a row, the hotel has been named to the esteemed Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List. As I was taking my husband and son with me, we booked the upgraded suite.
At the on-site Panache restaurant, brunch was out of this world, and the service was phenomenal regardless of the time of day. The New York Times called the food here "superb." The second night, my family and I had dinner at Café du Monde, a huge and popular restaurant on the waterfront, and the second morning we picked up pain au chocolat to munch on while we walked around.
What to do: This area is very walkable, but remember to bring your map and ask for directions before taking off for the day. The Museum of Civilization is across the street from the Auberge Saint-Antoine and is well worth visiting (especially if you have a rainy day as we did). The Musee du Fort offers a model of the region and an excellent reenactment of the various attacks on Quebec City including the 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Even my pre-teen son was riveted by the presentation. Another good way to see the city is by horse-drawn carriage, which takes you all around and lasts about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes out of the city, on the way to the airport, there is an aquarium that has a great patio restaurant and view, and features enough polar bears, walruses, seals and fish tanks that you can walk through to keep all ages entertained if you are looking for a break from all of the historical attractions.
Getting there: The Jean Lesage International Airport is about 30 minutes away from Old Town. Find cheap flights to Quebec City on Fly.com.