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You know when an experience is almost too breathtaking to put into words? That’s how I feel about my road trip through Quebec in Canada. I mean, they say a picture speaks a thousand words, but so far mine haven’t managed to type a whole post out for me, so for now, you’re going to have to put up with my feeble attempt to express what a once in a lifetime trip Quebec really was.
This is the first of two posts because I drove many many many hours through Canada and covered a lot of ground, so I’ve split the trip in two to *attempt* to do it justice. So, after a lovely flight with the babes at Air Canada.. we embarked on our trip.
After picking up the car – yes I drove on the “wrong” side of the road, where all of the road signs are in french and the max I can say is bonjour – I headed to Gatineau, Outaouis for the night. We stayed in a lovely hotel aptly named The British and enjoyed some live music, a gluten free burger and fries and a very early night because jet lag is a very real thing.
Outaouis is a gorgeous, gorgeous place that I instantly fell in love with. Blessed with sunshine – classic Londoner losing her mind over a bit of sun – we headed for the Canadian Museum of history. The museum, in my (not massively cultured) opinion, is absolutely well worth a visit. Canada has such a rich history and cultural heritage and I really enjoyed learning all about it, so much so that I didn’t even realise I’d been wandering for 3hours before leaving/hunting down lunch. Plus, the view across the river of Parliament Hill is one of the most breathtaking and picturesque landscapes I’ve ever seen.
After a cultural morning we drove on through to Chelsea, a stunning, quiet town in Outaouis that’s full of picture perfect restaurants and colourful houses. We stopped off at Biscotti and Cie because I’d heard good things about their gluten free sandwiches, and my god did they deliver. Sitting outside with a egg, avocado and bacon sandwich on the gorgeous veranda, with an appointment at the spa looming was one of those “pinch me”/”how is this my life?” moments.
And then it was time for the Nordik Spa Nature. The largest spa in North America, and by far the most impressive I have ever seen. With three different areas – the silent zone, quiet zone and social section – the spa has 10 outdoor pools (6 hot tubs, 3 cold pools and 1 temperate), numerous saunas (eucalyptus and lavender scented… dreamy), endless treatments on offer and incredible views for days. It really was like being in a whole different world. Photos are banned – it was verrrrrry amusing trying to get a picture for you all LOL – and it’s quite possibly the most chilled I’d ever felt. Cut off from the world, at one with nature (sorry, who do I even think I am?) at pure peace.
After an afternoon of heaven, it was time to check into somewhere equally as heavenly, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Like a little slice of Harry Potter magical goodness… the Fairmont Montebello is a cosy haven based in between Montreal and Ottawa. It’s the world’s largest log castle (pretty bloody impressive and SO SO SO HOGWARTS-LIKE *INSERT SMILIEST HAPPIEST FACE HERE*) and for me, really represented the true canadian experience. Dinner at Aux Chantignoles was nothing short of bloody sensational. BRB while my mouth waters even thinking about it (would highly recommend the steak for you meat eaters out there, possibly the best I’ve ever eaten). Also their attention to coeliacs/allergies made me feel the safest I’d felt all trip, completely looked after and like they know exactly what gluten is (genuinely mind blowing in comparison to some places… not mentioning any names
The following morning was one of my absolute highlights of the whole trip and something I couldn’t recommend highly enough…. Parc Omega. Parc Omega is a natural and historical reserve in the heart of Canada. From Deer (lots and lots of gorgeous Deer) to Wolves, Mountain goats to Turtles, Bears to Elk… it inhabits 100s of animals. Driving through the paths, feeding the Deer and basically feeling like Dr DolittELLE was one of my fave parts of the whole trip. You also get to take in so much beautiful nature and really switch off from the world.
After Parc Omega we headed to the Laurentians which is coming in part 2 (because girlfriend can waffle for a thousand years and I don’t want you to have to take time off of work/school just to read a post). I really hope you enjoyed this post though and found it helpful if you’re heading to Quebec, it really is the most incredible place!! I’m so excited to share my time from the Laurentians; it includes a once in a lifetime helicopter ride, fat biking and so much more.
Thank you so much to Destination Canada for working with me on this absolute dream trip! xx