I’ve always wanted to visit Quebec, and mostly Montreal. People talk of the city as a “little Paris” and the European vibe it offers. If you drive there, even renting a car from the airport, you’ll have a quick lesson in French. The signs for compass points are in French, as are the stop signs and other navigation signs.
It is the law in the province of Quebec to speak French first, so most will greet you with a bonjour, and then a hello if you give them a puzzled look. We only ran into one gentlemen who was appalled that we did not speak French. When I told him I had taken Spanish in school, he said he thought maybe that was a good choice for living in the U.S.
The plane ride from Detroit was short, just over an hour. Our first stop was the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal. We had a tour of the city, old and new, stopping by the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica and wandering through the Just for Laughs festival, which was taking place that week. We were treated to a Montreal bagel hot out of the oven and were taken up to the top of a hill to view the city below. Bikers are everywhere in the city and you can rent bikes at several stations throughout the city.
Montreal has an underground city, but we found it a bit difficult to navigate and directions were not clearly marked. We tried to walk through it from our hotel to another section of the city but came up to ground level a few times and back down in our attempts. We ended up giving up and walking at street level. However, I can see how that would be a huge bonus in the cold winter months.
Our next part of the trip took us to the Fairmont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains. A beautiful ski village, Tremblant is also bustling in the summer with many visitors, shops and outdoor activities. Activity passes are available for gondola rides, mountain cart rides and countless kids’ activities. I took a gondola ride to the top and opted for the birds of prey show. In addition to the hawks, owl and eagle, we were treated to Mother Nature’s own show when a deer wandered near us. The views to the village are gorgeous.
The resort has several small pools – a regular pool, therapy pool (a little warmer) a cold pool and a hot tub. I had a Swedish massage at the spa, which took away my knots from traveling. Down the mountain, the resort has a beach area, which you can pay to enter or access with an activity card. No transportation is provided and it is a good yet healthy walk, especially up part of the mountain on the way back.
We used the resort’s complimentary bikes to take a ride through the many paved trails. Living in a very flat part of Michigan, the hills were a welcome yet challenging pace but we were rewarded with fantastic views of the river and several deer.
Our last stop in Quebec was the Fairmont Chateau Montebello, a huge log cabin structure that used to be a private club. The walking paths are along the water’s edge, the outdoor pool is clean and warm and the indoor pool is huge. I did not go for a ride but the horses looked happy and healthy as they were readied for the days’ activities.
The breakfast buffet at all three resorts were similar, and I had my fill of maple crepes at each. Alas, we didn’t leave any time for the famous Canadian poutine, but we’ll have to venture back again for that experience. Also, the hotels have a dog on staff! At most locations, you can sign out the dog for a walk or just give him or her some pets in the lobby.
Disclosure: This was a work trip for my husband and I was along for the ride. These opinions are my own and are in no way compensated.