Founded in the 17th century and terraced down the side of a promontory overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Québec City, the province’s picturesque capital, is the oldest metropolis in Canada. The exquisitely preserved Vieux-Québec, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, is divided into the Upper Town and Lower Town. The two are connected by a funicular, a narrow street with hairpin curves and, for energetic walkers, a network of stairways appropriately named Escalier Casse-cou (“Breakneck Staircase”). The Upper Town is home to Québec City’s two most popular sites: the turreted Château Frontenac, a grand hotel built by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1893, now owned by Fairmont, and La Citadelle fortress, the cornerstone of what remains of the city’s historic ramparts. The calmer Lower Town is a place of narrow cobblestone streets and restored warehouses.
Hôtel Le Germain Québec
We were looking forward to revisiting our only recommendation in the city, Hôtel Le Germain Québec, the sister property to Hôtel Le Germain in Montréal. This contemporary boutique property, located in the Lower Town, unites a former stock exchange building with the stately nine-floor former headquarters of Dominion Fish & Fruit Limited, dating to 1912. Vibrant flower boxes and colorful metal artwork enliven the stone façades.
There was no indication where to park on arrival, so we called. The woman who answered told us it was “across from the subway.” It took a second call to understand that she meant the sandwich chain, not a (nonexistent) metro stop. We pulled into a lot behind the building as a staff attendant waved us in. Though he neither parked our car nor helped with our bags, he made it clear that he expected a tip.