Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Review: Hotel La Ferme

Friday January 2, 2015 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

It’s called “The Farm” but this upscale four star hotel, tucked in the charming village of Baie-Saint-Paul, is anything but rustic. With clean, straight lines and five ultra modern pavilions situated within the hotel grounds, Hotel La Ferme is a time traveler’s delight while still rooted in old world charm.

You won’t find farm animals wondering about, but, depending on the time of year you visit, you will see cows grazing in pastures, surrounded by tall sunflower stalks waving in the breeze. That’s the vision I have etched in my mind when I reflect back to my two hour scenic train ride from Québec City on Le Train du Massif. The train actually pulls right up next to the hotel to let passengers disembark – a fabulous and deceptively convenient way to capture hotel guests and welcome them to the upscale property.
 

"Hotel La Ferme" Quebec, Canada

Hotel La Ferme. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Even if you are not staying at the 147 room resort, you’ll want to come inside to admire the architecture, with its sliding barn doors, or pull up a stool and have a slice of pizza from the wood fired oven of Les Labours restaurant.
 

pizza, Les Labours, Le Massif, Canada

Mushroom pizza at Les Labours restaurant. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

 

My superior room with queen bed #120, rented for $229 Canadian during an early October weekend, check the website for current pricing. I loved the back-to-nature farm theme that appeared throughout the hotel and on the wall above my bed. Better yet, the heated tile flooring in the bathroom reminded me that I was in for a luxurious and relaxing overnight.

Spa du Verger

Make sure to save time for a visit to Spa du Verger with its Nordic baths of hot and cold plunge pools, Finnish sauna and eucalyptus steam room. Remember to pack your swimsuit and flip flops to wear during this thermal experience or the spa will sell you a pair of rubber sandals. Spa experience, $20 Canadian for hotel guests or $35 Canadian for visitors to the hotel. Check website for current prices.

 

"Spa Du Verger", "Baie-Saint-Paul", Canada

Spa Du Verger. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Insider Tips
I took the 2 hour Le Train de Massif de Charelvoix ride from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul in the Charlevoix region of Quebec – a scenic and relaxing way to travel. If you happen to be visiting the area on a Sunday, be sure and stop by the farmers’ market.
 

"Hotel La Ferme", hotel room

Superior queen room. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @leMassif on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

 
If You Go:

Hôtel La Ferme – Le Massif de Charlevoix +1 418-240-4100
50 Rue de la Ferme,
Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec G3Z 0G2, Canada

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Tourism Quebec. All opinions are my own.

Charlevoix, Canada: Things to Do

Friday November 21, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Are you visiting Charlevoix for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada. Situated within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the Charlevoix region is a unique nature area including parts of the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains region of the Canadian Shield.
 

"Baie Saint Paul", Quebec, Canada

Charming town of Baie-Saint-Paul. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

When I have a visitor from out of the region, the first place they want to see is the town of Baie-Saint-Paul, but I also take them to Isle-aux-Coudres – for a more local, authentic experience. With only 7,500 people, Baie-Saint-Paul is the cultural capital of Charlevoix.
 

When I want to escape the crowds and tourists, my favorite place to visit is the little village of Port-au-Persil.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend the Bay of Baie-Saint-Paul for kissing with a view.
 

"Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu", Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada

Take a walk along Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu’s trail. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 

The best place to walk the dog is the solar system 3Km trail by the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Alpaga farm or the maritime museum where kids can climb on boats.
 

 
Charlevoix regional cuisine

If you are looking for typical Quebec cuisine in the region of Charlevoix, I recommend Le Mouton Noir. For an authentic farm to table experience, be sure to tour the Baie-Saint-Paul Flavor Trail. With over 40 local growers, producers and restaurateurs opening their doors to visitors, you will have your fill of breads, ciders, beers, cheeses, foie gras and chocolate!

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Le Pain d’exclamation in La Malbaie.

Looking for affordable food in Baie-Saint-Paul? Go to the restaurant within the microbrewery, le Saint-Pub.

Les Labours in the hotel La Ferme (Baie-Saint-Paul) is the spot for late night dining.
 

veal "Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu"

Prosciutto wrapped veal, Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. If you truly want a one-of-a-kind experience, try the Chef’s Table for a day with the Chef on the Flavor Trail and a private dinner in the Castle on the Cliff!

Seeing a lot of beluga whales? Baie-Sainte-Catherine is best known for whale watching.

When you come to Charlevoix, get your picture taken on a boat with AML or Dufour during a whale watching excursion.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Acropole des Draveurs in the National Park Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie.

Le Massif de Charlevoix offers great views and the “Chalet” at the summit of the ski hills is the best place to watch or experience music shows and competitions in the winter time.

In the Charlevoix region, outdoor lovers will want to hike the Acropole des Draveurs, bike on Isle-aux-Coudres (23 km island) or in the big hills of the region. Travelers may also horseback ride on the beach of Saint-Irénée or walk in Les Grands-Jardins.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the trails of the Les Palissades de Charlevoix.

After a day of adventure, Hôtel La Ferme is the best place to go for a spa treatment.
 

"Hotel La Ferme" spa

I could have spent my entire day in Baie-Saint-Paul here. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
If you are a museum lover, the best museums are Musée de Charlevoix or the Contemporary Art Museum in Baie-Saint-Paul.

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at l’hôtel La Ferme during the weekends for live music.

The Hebdo Charlevoisien will keep you posted on what’s happening in Charlevoix, but unless you read French you are out of luck!
 

"Le Train Massif de Charlevoix"

Le Train Massif de Charlevoix. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.

 
Charlevoix seasonal activities

In the spring you should attend Les Grands prix cyclistes de Charlevoix  – bike competitions for the non-French speakers.

In the summer or fall, take a two hour trip with Le Massif train  – meals are served on board and it’s a great way to explore the scenery.

Did you know that Baie-Saint-Paul is known for the arts? Plan a visit to watch the painting Festival called Rêves d’automne (Dreams of Fall) in the fall.

Come to Le Massif in the winter for skiing or sledding.

 

"Jacques Boisvert ", "Baie Saint Paul"

Jacques Boisvert paints Baie Saint Paul. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked beach of Saint-Irénée.

Just outside of La Malbaie you can visit La Maison du Bootlegger and have lunch there, too.

Have you traveled to Quebec, Canada? What are your favorite things to do in the region of Charlevoix?

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown, follow @tourismQuebec on Twitter and if you speak French @gocharlevoix.

If You Go:

Charlevoix Tourism

495, de Comporté Boulevard
La Malbaie (Québec) Canada G5A 3G3
 

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Quebec Tourism. All opinions from my visit to Charlevoix are my own.

Québec City: Things to Do

Friday November 14, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 1 Comment

Are you visiting Québec City for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Québec, Canada.
 

"Tourney Fountain", "Quebec", Canada

When you come to Quebec City, get your picture takes at Tourney Fountain. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is Place Royale, but I also take them to Ile d’Orléans – for a more local, authentic experience.
 

 
When I want to escape the crowds and tourists, my favorite place to visit is Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Dufferin Terrace for kissing with a view.

The best place to walk the dog is Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site.
 

"Panache" "Auberge Saint-Antoine", rabbit

Regional food of Quebec. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
"Café-boulangerie Paillard", baguettes

Café-boulangerie Paillard baguettes. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
"Marché du Vieux Port", Quebec, Canada

Marché du Vieux Port. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Regional foods of Québec City

If you are looking for typical Québec cuisine, I recommend Toast! restaurant.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Café-boulangerie Paillard. They bake wonderful baguettes and have huge, flaky croissants.

Looking for the best inexpensive restaurants? Try Ashton or Buffet de l’Antiquaire. Also try Marché du Vieux Port on the Saint-André Quai, an indoor, year-round farmers’ market in Quebec City, Canada.

Ristorante Il Teatro is the spot for late night dining.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Le Saint-Amour, Chez Boulay or Panache at Auberge Saint-Antoine.
 

"St. John's Gate", Quebec, Canada

St. John’s Gate, Quebec City. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Seeing a lot of bricks in Québec City? This Canadian city is best known for being a fortified  or walled city.

When you come to Québec City, get your picture taken by Fontaine Tourney and the Parliament building. Within walking distance is the Plains of Abraham.

In Québec City, outdoor lovers will want to walk, hike, bike, ski or snowshoe…it depends on the season. One of the best vantage points is taken by walking to the top of Montmorency Waterfalls. Insider Tip – these falls are higher than Niagara Falls, but not as wide.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along Dufferin Terrace, the walls of the city and if you’re fit, go up and down the many stairways that link Upper to Lower town.

After a day of adventure, Le Nordique Spa Stoneham is the best place to go for a spa treatment.

If you are a museum lover, Québec City’s  best museum is Musée de la civilisation.

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at Chez Maurice or L’Emprise in the Clarendon Hotel for live music.

Québec Scope Magazine will keep you posted on what’s happening in Québec City.

Québec City by season

You can tell a lot about Québec City from watching the seasonal events. In the spring you should go to a Maple Sugar Shack.

In the summer you might like Québec City Summer Festival.

Did you know that Québec City is known for Fall foliage: plan a visit to the back country in the fall. My favorite regions are Lanaudiere and Mauricie – the Nordic baths are a must do and I loved my time horseback riding through fall colors in St. Paulin.
 

"Bonhomme", "Quebec", Canada

Meet Bonhomme at Carnaval de Québec. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Come to Québec City for Carnaval de Québec!

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Ferry across the St. Lawrence river.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that just outside of Québec City you can visit Island of Orléans and have lunch at one of the many vineyards or cider-making orchards.

Have you traveled to Québec? What are your favorite things to do in Québec City, Canada?

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @tourismQuebec on Twitter.

If You Go:

Québec City

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Quebec Tourism. All opinions are my own.