Take a European vacation (in North America)

No, it’s not Europe. It’s Quebec City!

Summer can get away from you if you’re not careful. If you have some PTO left and haven’t booked a plane ticket yet, a roadtrip to Quebec can be the perfect getaway. Visiting the nation to our north is like a European vacation without that pesky flight across the pond.

Montreal
Montreal could be the most vibrant, least intimidating city in North America. And it’s all in how it’s mixed. Residential areas sit in streets just behind main thoroughfares, and mainstream shops sit on the same blocks as secondhand stores, start-up art galleries and decadent nightlife destinations. For these reasons there’s no such thing as a “bad area.” The city is in love with art and its artists and constantly hosts citywide festivals. From now through September, 15 different festivals are scheduled, celebrating such diverse interests as literature, tattoos and pop music.

To see and stay: Though the Old Montreal neighborhood houses more touristy shops than the newer part of the city, the decor of the area is faithful to its heritage and allows for the flourishing of architecture that dates back to the 1600s. Experience this history by staying at Le Petit Hotel (www.petithotelmontreal.com), a cozy 24-room boutique hotel housed in a 19th century building. It’s just blocks away from a gorgeous testimony to Gothic Revival architecture, the Notre-Dame Basilica, built in the 1820s. 

To do and eat: The best way to get around the city and see as much as possible is to use Montreal’s enviably comprehensive Bixi system. With bicycles set up in 411 different locations around the city, you’re able to rent a bike for a half-hour at a time to check out all the shops on the hill. Plus, the city is so bike-friendly in its road design that you can feel relatively safe zooming down St. Urbain. There are too many top-notch restaurants to thoroughly examine here, but we highly recommend Cafe Du Nouveau Monde (www.tnm.qc.ca) and Nora Gray (www.noragray.com).  

Quebec City
To see: If you visit Quebec City before the beginning of September, you’ll have a chance to experience the outdoor cinematic art installation known as the Image Mill. Industrial grain silos become an enormous movie screen (98 feet high and 1,968 feet wide!). The hour-long multimedia presentation abstractly details the history of the region, something its people are well-versed in. The film is even more rewarding if you learn in advance the intriguing details about why the people in this region speak French but have the Queen’s face on their currency. The Image Mill is free, as is the city’s Cirque du Soleil show, “Les Chemins Invisibles,” which is staged beneath a highway overpass.

Another indisputable part of Quebec City’s charm is its location on the St. Lawrence River. To fully appreciate the view, hop aboard any of the boats available from Croisieres AML (www.croisieresaml.com/en). The hour-and-a-half option provides amazing glimpses of the iconic Chateau Frontenac and Montmorency Falls, which at 275 feet high are almost 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls.

To eat: Quebec City has hundreds of restaurants in its Upper Town and Lower Town areas, most of which offer outdoor dining for maximum people-watching and maximum European feel as you sip by the cobblestone streets. However, a restaurant called Le Cercle (www.le-cercle.ca) in the city’s Saint-Roch district is worth a trip off the beaten path. Antique lightbulbs dangle from the ceiling and artsy films are projected on the wall, but the arts it truly excels at are the sommelier and culinary arts. Entrust your tastebuds to the experts and order La Mania; the cooks deliver a multi-course meal based on what’s in season, and the bar staff perfectly pair drinks with it. After your meal, head next door to Le Cercle’s adjoining music venue to take in local and touring talent.

Mont Tremblant
Mont Tremblant is a bit of a detour between Montreal and Quebec City, but it’s worth it just to experience the magical relaxation available at the Scandinave Spa (www.scandinave.com/en/
tremblant
). It’s not just the massages that make a trip here a must after hiking up the mountain or riding the ziplines (www.tremblantactivities.com).

What makes this spa so special is its prescribed hot/cold/cool down program. You spend 15 minutes in a steam room or hot tub, dip in a colder pool or the nearby lake quickly and then chill out in one of the ultra-comfortable double-hammocks hanging between the trees. The village at Mont Tremblant may feel like it was made by the same people who brought you the Christmas Tree Shop, but you’ll forget that as soon as the food arrives at Aux Truffes (www.auxtruffes.com). We recommend the pan-seared scallops or the Quebec Boileau’s red deer fillet.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.