Driving the back roads to Quebec City, I am on the lookout for the signs warning of the snow mobile crossings. The paths zig-zag along the highway and at intervals swoop across the road. I daydream about going to grandma’s for Thanksgiving in a snowmobile. The trees would zip by, the air is filled with the scent of pine and wood smoke, and the wind puts roses on my cheeks! I’d get to grandma’s ready to sit by the fire with the aroma of the Thanksgiving meal surrounding me! Heaven! I get that comfortable and at home feeling when I go to my favorite hotel in Quebec City, the Hotel Le Germain-Dominion in the old town of Quebec City. The hotel is easy to find, has an attendant parking lot that is located behind the hotel and is in a perfect location for exploring Quebec City. The hotel itself is in a section of bank buildings. With the first bonjour you are in for a very special stay.
I’m not talking Bank of America here, I mean when banks were banks with grand entry ways, fresco ceilings and huge draped crystal chandeliers. It looks more like a ballroom. THAT bank is still here on the corner. Can you imagine? Just walking in you would hope for a line to wait in, so you could enjoy the surroundings! It takes up the entire block and one section on the opposite end corner has been converted into Le Germain-Dominion Hotel. When one walks into the lobby of the hotel, it is a small part of a larger room.
A room with a huge fireplace and comfy squashy sofas and chairs surrounding the fireplace. In the center of the room is an extensive coffee station with a massive brewer to make cafes, au laits, mochas, and more, to serve in china cups and bowls. You know already how I like the bowls (bols) of au lait!
There are also large tables, I’m talking wide, wide, wide dining room size tables and chairs to sit and spread your favorite newspaper out before you as you eat a healthy delicious breakfast in the morning. Or you can just relax and have coffee, tea, wine or liqueur at any time of day. In the mornings I love to come down here and see everyone spread out at the tables. Eating like this also makes it easy to join in conversation with other guests as we sit, eat and enjoy our spread out newspapers. I love the Globe and Mail Newspaper! The paper is thin, shiny and in color, with the best articles ever on what is happening in Quebec. I can really enjoy the morning breakfasts. No one seems rushed, although there is an additional section where the business men tend to gather for early or late meetings. In the evenings the guests linger by the fireplace drinking coffee or wine and discussing their day, politics, where they are from or where they are going. Great conversations, and just as comfortable and hospitable as being at grandma’s for the holiday. Taking the elevator to the rooms, stepping off the elevator you enter a bank vault door (an original) which tells you which section of the hotel you are in.
The rooms are very large, modern, boutique style with HUGE walk in, glassed, rain showers that offer every amenity possible.
Returning downstairs, after my bol de au lait, I am out the door to walk the 17th Century neighborhoods of Vieux Quebec /Old Town Quebec City.
As night begins to fall, our destination is the La Piazzetta, on the corner of rue Saint-Paul, right across from the hotel. The restaurant offers a tiny cozy atmosphere and friendly knowledgeable staff helping us with our french, and serving home made pizzas with farm fresh ingredients. The pizzas are so large the pizza tin in perched on a side extension of the table, so it looks like it is floating in the air. We started off with an appetizer of Canadian cheese and warm fruit and an assortment of bread and sticks. The cafe was a buzz of guests enjoying their meals.
For more information about Le Hotel Germain-Dominion see: http://www.germaindominion.com, 126 rue Saint-Pierre, Quebec City, Canada
La Piazzetta is located at 63 rue Saint-Paul, Vieux-Port, Quebec Canada
Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica, 16 rue Buade, is free and open to the public. There are also tours of the crypt available. See: http://www.patrimoine-religieux.com