Two weeks ago I snuck away for a mini-holiday with my partner to Quebec City.
We went for the Quebec Winter Carnival or the Carnaval de Québec a festival held in Quebec City every winter beginning end of January and ending mid-February. I have always wanted to go. Not only is it a quintessential Canadian festival where one can get experience the unique French-Canadian culture in a stunning city. But because over 30 years ago, my mom and dad, in their early twenties met for the first time at Carnival on a college field trip.
Carnaval de Québec first began in 1894, however it was not until 1955 that Carnaval was held uninterruptedly. That year Bonhomme, the mascot of the festival, made his first appearance. Up to one million people attended the Carnaval de Québec in 2006 making it one of the largest winter festivals in the world
The most famous attractions of this winter festival are the night-time and daytime parades led by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval. The parades wind through the upper city, decorated for the occasion with lights and ice sculptures.
Numerous public and private parties, shows and balls are held across the city, some of them outside in the bitter cold, testimony to the Québécois’ fabled joie de vivre. For me I was most excited to try dog sledding, eat lots of maple and poutine, and see the magnificent ice sculptures.
Overall we had an amazing time. Even though it was freezing if you dress warm you’re in for a great weekend you won’t forget. The city is unbelievably romantic. It’s certainly delivers on those essential elements of Europe that we love – charming shops, historic architecture, beautiful language, delicious gastronomy and vibrant night-life- without crossing the ocean. I definitely plan to return in the summer where I heard its even more parisien with artists lining the streets painting and the patios of cafes and bistros are full of people and music fills the streets! Sounds so enchanting….