Quebec, Canada’s second-most populated province, is a lovely travel destination with no shortage of interesting attractions. The colorful French-speaking destination has a four-season climate, and with snowy winters giving way to hot summers, there is something for everyone.
Le Monastère des Augustines
Anyone visiting Quebec would be sorry to miss out on a stay at the Le Monastère des Augustines. A non-profit charitable organization nestled into the historic Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery, Le Monastère des Augustines provides guests with a comfortable and relaxing stay. Le Monastère has a long and impressive history of attention to health and wellbeing, promoted by its resident nuns. In fact, the site was the first hospital in North America and to this day continues to provide care to those seeking wellness.
Today, the nuns provide women with mental illness both a home and a job. Women harvest and pick natural items from the Boreal Forest, and make craft goods such as oils and vinaigrettes, cotton and silk flowers, and other products sold in the site’s boutique. Local teas are also developed on-site which possess the same natural recipes used by the sisters in the seventeenth and eighteenth century for healing and curing purposes. Now, essential oils and natural ingredients such as chamomile, cedar, and citrus are used in the production of a lovely array of teas.
In addition, the site offers a wide array of cultural and health-related activities designed to promote wellness, serenity, and happiness. Packages range from a simple Monastic Stay, including accommodation in an original cloister with a silent vitality breakfast and access to the on-site museum, to a range of stays designed to promote anything from culture and heritage to discovery and balance to renewal and regeneration. Specialized services can include message therapy, reflexology, posture workshops, holistic health consultations, and much more.
The morning Awakening Activity within the site’s Monastery, including breathing techniques, gentle movements, and meditation, rouses the body and allows participants to connect with their inner being. A stay here is guaranteed to leave you rested and rejuvenated.
The hotel boasts two styles of accommodations in the remodeled cloisters, the authentic rooms and the contemporary rooms. The contemporary rooms are private rooms with full, attached bathrooms with a modern flair.
The authentic rooms are the original rooms of the nuns featuring some of their original furniture like desks and chairs. Each room has either a single or double bed with a sink. There are 6 shared bathrooms with a toilet and shower and it can be locked so you have privacy. There was a spirit of wellness and peace in these rooms that I thoroughly enjoyed. And here is the second best part; It is incredibly affordable. Le Monastère Packages that include a variety of meals, activites, massages etc start at just $75.
On my first day I saw a nun walking the grounds. She was my lucky sighting to let me know I was in the right place at the right time
Wellness Through Mindful Eating
For a further treat, Le Monastère’s on-site restaurant is delicious, healthy, and offers food full of flavor in every bite. With a focus on mindfulness and balance, a silent breakfast allows diners a few moments of contemplation, introspection, and calm before the start of the day. The restaurant embodies a slow-cooking, non-micro style of food preparation that strives to be as harmonious and in line with sustainable development as possible. Recipes are inspired from ancient traditions, and each new food concept is reviewed by a doctor and nutrition specialist, so meals are guaranteed to keep you feeling great. The culinary team will take any dietary restriction, allergy, or food preference into account, so a customized dining experience is available for you if needed.
In addition, the restaurant recently launched a food co-op called Le Creuset Restaurant and Eco Sustainability, the first of its kind in the province, which includes six local restaurants and 45 farmers throughout the Quebec region. This partnership allows these restaurants to purchase local, organic products at an affordable price. While some herbs and products are grown on-site, some ingredients are hand delivered– like the fresh sprouts, which are replaced every two days by a local professor.
Extra profits are reinvested into research and development – this year, the co-op will build a greenhouse and experiment with new cultivation methods to keep produce growing despite the winter conditions and experiment with the production of new foods. The eatery is open to the general public, so even if you are not an on-site guest, you can partake in this tasty array of organic cuisine.
Quebec’s Culinary Delights & Ile D’Orleans
Quebec has a diverse range of culinary attractions. Those seeking fine alcohol or craft goods should certainly visit Cassis Monna & Filles, a famous family-owned winery that has been in operation for five generations.
The wine cellar/boutique are open daily, offering tastings of a range of alcoholic beverages and artisanal black currant products. Hungrier visitors should make their way to the La Monnaguette restaurant for an upscale dining experience. Those with a sweet tooth will not want to miss out on the Dairy Bar, offering 18 gelato and sorbet varieties.
For another culinary treat, visitors should check out the Tigidou Jam Factory, whose use of natural and organic ingredients lend themselves to incredibly flavorful, rich jams. A visit to the jam factory makes for a fun afternoon outing, where visitors can taste the season’s freshest berry jams.
Looking for interesting restaurants for your evening excursions? For an innovative combination of French and Italian cuisine, visit Restaurant Graffiti, whose menu includes dishes such as Penne with Polpettes and Camembert. For a more unique meal, consider Chez Boulay. This elegant establishment serves Nordic Cuisine, a style based upon the cycle of the seasons that seeks to incorporate essential nutrients, high quality proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants. Discover new tastes and flavors at this healthy and interesting spot.
Finally, for a truly fun dining experience, visit CIEL Bistro Bar, the only revolving restaurant in Quebec City. Located on the 28th floor of Hotel le Concorde, the bar and restaurant offer visitors exquisite and ever-changing views of the city. Delicious food and reasonable prices make CIEL well worth a visit.
If you’ve soaked up enough relaxation and rejuvenation and are ready for some excitement, don’t miss out on the new zip-line at Montmorency Falls. The 300-meter double-seat zip line will have you flying over incredible scenery including the park’s famous 83-meter high waterfall, jagged cliffs, and a flowing river below–a thrilling way to appreciate some of nature’s finest views.
With a gourmet food selection, a range of exciting attractions, and no shortage of a restful, rejuvenating escape, Quebec is a lovely place for a short or longer-term stay.
Special thanks to the Quebec Tourism and Le Monastère des Augustines for facilitating this trip.
All opinions are my own. – Yoli Ouiya | Founder of YolisGreenLiving.com
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