Quebec City is often called the heart of French Canada, and some say the historic and luxurious Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is the heart of Quebec City. Located in Old Quebec's Upper Town, Château Frontenac is the epitome of modern-day romantic elegance in an old-world setting.
That it sits atop a promontory straddling the mighty St. Lawrence River makes it all the more inviting to couples looking for a special getaway in a unique location. Opened in 1893, the Château Frontenac was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a stopover for well-heeled vacationers traversing Canada by train.
Today it is considered an iconic landmark of French Canada. With a design based on the romantic chateaux architecture of the Loire Valley, Château Frontenac's ornate and fortress-like appearance, with multiple towers, turrets, gables, dormers, and chimneys, gives it a grand ambiance. Couples vacationing here can easily imagine that they have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and are checking into a French castle.
A Grand Suite And A Romance Package
With just over 600 rooms and suites on 18 floors, the imposing chateau is part brick and part stone and has Gothic design elements. Standing at an elevation of some 170 feet, Château Frontenac offers many guestrooms with great views of the city and the St. Lawrence River. In keeping with its impressive exterior, the inside of the hotel boasts marble stairways, mahogany paneling, and spacious public areas furnished with period-style seating areas.
Indeed, its swanky atmosphere has attracted celebrities such as Celine Dion, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Paul McCartney, among many others, plus heads of state, including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
A wide variety of rooms and suites is available, including the ultra-luxury Frontenac Suite. Its 670-square-foot space includes a large parlor that can seat up to 10 people, with a connecting master bedroom and expansive river views. Signature rooms provide up to 350 square feet, with a king bed, while a deluxe river view room is 225 square feet. Signature room rates range from about $670 per night, while a deluxe river view costs about $560. The hotel's variety of suite accommodations ranges from about $1,300 to $2,600 per night.
The hotel offers visitors two restaurants, the elegant Champlain serving regional cuisine and the Place Dufferin, where couples can enjoy an intimate Afternoon Tea service, along with sandwiches and lighter fare throughout the day. In-room service also is available.
Château Frontenac offers a weekend romance package that features an overnight stay, breakfast for two at Place Dufferin restaurant or in the room, a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries with a half-bottle of champagne, and two engraved crystal champagne flutes with the Château Frontenac logo. (Rates are available by calling the hotel.)
Other bonuses that Château Frontenac provides for romantic couples are found in the Fitness and Aquatic Center, where steam baths, a pool, and a whirlpool are open daily. Also, the hotel offers private cabana rentals in summer, located on the outdoor terrace with river views. The rental fee ($545 for a full day in the summer high season) includes bathrobes, slippers, and towels, plus bowls of fruit and bottles of water. Couples also can order snacks such as smoothies, nuts, and chips.
Guests who are curious about the Château Frontenac's past and present can book a guided tour of the hotel and learn about the people and events that have shaped the property over the years, along with details about its French architecture.
The Romantic Vibe Continues Across Old Quebec
While the Château Frontenac is a destination in itself, its Old Quebec environs add to its romantic appeal and charm.
Quebec has been called the “most European” North American city, and for a good reason. The city dates back some 400 years, but some of its cobblestone streets and building are older than that. The old town atmosphere is both romantic and old world, with horse-drawn carriages a common sight. Couples can stroll along the fortifications of the walled city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Along Petit-Champlain, the main street in the old town, artists sell their works while high-end restaurants offer intimate dinners for two.
On Rue Saint-Paul, which runs adjacent to the old port, couples will find scores of outdoor dining venues, and this region is famous for having the best antique shops in the city. Many art galleries are located in the port neighborhood, too.
Couples in search of more outdoor adventures can visit the nearby Jacques-Cartier National Park, where activities include hiking, biking, kayaking, and, in winter, skiing, or the Montmorency Falls, a huge waterfall located about a 15-minute drive from the old town. Visitors can view the falls from a series of staircases and from a suspension bridge over the crest of the falls.
Location And How To Get To Château Frontenac
The Château Frontenac is located at 1 rue des Carrières, Québec City. It is situated in the Historic District of Old Québec, which comprises the Upper Town, including the fortified ramparts, and the Lower Town, near the port.
Vacationers can fly to Quebec City from New York in under two hours, and from Washington, D.C., in less than four hours. The Château Frontenac is a three-hour drive from Montreal.