One of the least expensive and quickest ways to get a truly foreign travel experience is to visit Quebec City. And what better time than as it celebrates its 400th birthday in grand style? The look of this walled city is distinctly European, with a French accent, and with the U.S. and Canadian dollars close to each other in value, there is no euro shock. Here are some summer packages for enjoying the splendid city that Samuel de Champlain founded:
This romantic city becomes even more so with the Madly in Love package from Loews le Concorde Hotel. Included are a night in an oversize room with a view of the Plains of Abraham; a half-bottle of champagne; chocolate-covered strawberries; dinner at L'Astral, the hotel's revolving rooftop restaurant; breakfast in your room; and gratuities, for about $269 a night. Visit loewshotels.com, click on "Destination," and then "Special Offers," or call 800-463-5256.
For lovers of the arts, the Hotel Manoir Victoria has a Cultural Package, with two tickets to either the Musee National des Beaux-arts du Quebec or the Musee de la Civilisation, a night's lodging, full American breakfast for two and meal gratuities. Through Oct. 18, rates begin at about $209 a night. Visit manoir-victoria.com/english/packages.html or call 800-463-6283.
The Hotel Chateau Laurier Quebec offers a Family Adventure package, starting at about $239. Included are two nights for two adults and two children, breakfast each morning, dinner for four at the hotel restaurant, meal gratuities, admission for four to the Musee de la Civilisation and use of the indoor swimming pool. Visit hotelchateaulaurier.com or call 800-463-4453.
The three-night Enchanting River Package at Le Moulin de St-Laurent begins at about $325 per person and features two gourmet dinners per person with gratuities, plus lodging, continental breakfasts, island products and an audio guide. Le Moulin is a riverfront chalet on Orleans Island, 20 minutes from Old Quebec City. Visit moulinstlaurent.qc.ca or call 888-629-3888.
The Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac, said to be the world's most photographed hotel, offers a unique package called It's a Dog's Life. Participants get to walk Santol, a guide dog who has become the hotel's canine ambassador. For every package sold, the Frontenac will donate $25 to the Mira Foundation, which trains and gives more than 150 people guide dogs every year. Also part of the package are a night's lodging, buffet breakfast and a welcome amenity. Visit fairmont.com/frontenac or call 866-540-4460.
Two Web sites for information and more offers are quebecregion.com and myquebec 2008.com.