By Michelangelo DeSantis
We boarded the VIA Rail Canada train for our family trip to the Québec City Christmas Market, Marché de Noël allemande. Three hours later, we arrived at Québec City Station, just a short cab ride from Old Québec and the heart of the Christmas Market.
Handmade crafts—traditional food
The organizers designed the market to emulate the classic German Christmas markets. There are booths lining streets in the central area located in the center of Old Québec at Jardin de Hotel-de-Ville. Handmade crafts and local food dominate the selections at the booths. The 2019 market runs from November 22nd through December 23rd.
While the market is open in Old Québec, the entire city captures the spirit. There are planned and unplanned activities throughout the city, including outdoor ice skating, sledding, and caroling.
Decorations adorn the buildings and streetlights. Tourists walk on hard-packed snow to visit other areas of the UNESCO World Heritage City. From Chateau Frontenac, the Old Port, views of a frozen St. Lawrence River, and Notre Dame Cathedral are very popular. A walking tour of the old city is an inexpensive and informative way to become acquainted with the area and its rich history.
Eat – Sleep – Play
Moderately priced restaurants are easy to find, and higher-end eateries are common. Restaurants, cafes, and pubs stay open late. You can find all manner of food and drink. Local specialties include smoked meat that is a cross between pastrami and corned beef. Homemade frozen maple syrup on a stick of packed snow is called tire sur la neige. Poutine, french-fried potatoes covered in gravy and cheese curds are a don’t-miss local treat.
Despite the cold and snow, the streets are crowded with shoppers and sightseers. Old Québec is easy to walk, however, pay attention to the warning signs saying Chute de Glace (ice fall in English). The signs warn of snow and ice falling off roofs that can injure an unsuspecting pedestrian. Workers can often be seen harnessed to the roofs cleaning the snow and ice in a controlled man-made avalanche, but the unexpected falls are most dangerous.
There are newer boutique hotels such as Hotel Sainte-Anne that offer reasonable prices in the heart of the city. Sainte-Anne is a short half block from the main market.
Residents of Québec City speak French first, but almost everyone speaks English. If you want a little touch of Europe, the Christmas Market in Québec City is the right choice. ~TPM
About Michelangelo DeSantis —Michael is an ITWPA member and a regular contributor to TPM. He is also a photographer covering a wide range of subjects. See his stories and photos HERE.