By Linda Fasteson Sep. 21st, 2022Linda FastesonFor a relaxing getaway in a place known for the quality of its gastronomy, accommodations, spas, and authentic cultural experiences you need look no farther than Canada’s French-speaking province of Quebec. Its official language is French, but since both French and English are national languages, there’s the charm of its European flair along with the convenience of the province’s proximity and dual fluency. The favorable exchange rate is the icing on the cake. Quebec City is the capital and crown jewel of Canada’s largest province and is the oldest city in Canada. In the 1970s the government bought and restored the buildings of Vieux-Québec, the Old Town, the only fortified city north of Mexico. The Historic District of Old Quebec became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Here, in addition to enjoying the architecture, festivals, performances, shops, galleries and museums visitors can enjoy some of the best the province has to offer by immersing themselves in two powerful aspects of Quebec’s authentic cultural and religious heritage. The First Nations and the Catholic Church. Both form the foundation of what the province is today and can be better understood in a most delightful way.. First Nations: WendakeThe Huron-Wendat Nation was here long before French explorer Jacques Cartier “founded” Quebec in 1608. The Nations’ traditional territory at Wendake, which means “a land apart,” is an ideal place to begin a visit to the area. The 4-star Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations includes accommodations, fine dining, a unique museum and First Nations hospitality, all under one roof. Indigenous art and artifacts are displayed throughout. The fur trade legacy is clear from the abundance of wild animal pelts found throughout the public areas and guest rooms. Take a guided tour to best appreciate the Huron-Wendat history, art and traditions revealed through the interactive museum’s rare collections. Step outside to the longhouse to learn about myths and legends. Find a treasure in the museum’s gift shop, then explore the craft shops in the Old Wendake Historic Village. Explore Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church, established by the Jesuits and a National Historic Site of Canada. Cross the street to animal figures that represent the legend of creation and view the fresco of the Nation. Descend the stairs to view the 92’ high waterfall that plunges into a 138’ deep canyon.The Huron-Wendat were the only Amerindian group granted land by the French king. An archaeological excavation by the falls in 2009 revealed artifacts from the Jesuit-run 18th and 19th century water-powered flour mill, required under the seigneurial system, as well as saw and paper mills here.Continue your cultural immersion at the hotel’s restaurant, La Traite. For the best view of the outdoors and the artifacts within, reserve a table overlooking the Akiawenrahk River. Enjoy a menu created by internationally-renowned two-star Michelin chef Marc de Passorio. The award-winning natural and seasonal cuisine reflects the flavors of the native land and is inspired by the Aboriginal people who hunted, fished and gathered here. Linger over the three or four-course Table de Saison that includes traditional bannock bread and seasonal options like scallops with smoked corn powder, the signature deer medallion, and maple mousse with maple fudge, and lemon balm jelly. À La carte and vegetarian options are also available.Complete your day under the stars as you walk the forest pathway at Onhwa Lumina. Feel the spirit of the ancestral rhythm and song and video projections that celebrate the Wendat Nation and way of life.Quebec City: where the history of healing lives onContinue your First Nation cultural experience with lunch at Sagamité Old Quebec, named for the First Nations stew made with venison and the “Three Sisters,” corn, squash and red beans. Surround yourself with indigenous art while enjoying traditions through gastronomy.The 4-star Hilton Quebec is conveniently located in the Upper Town next to the elegant Second Empire style Parliament building.  Each of the hotel’s guest rooms has sweeping views of the city, but for the best view book ahead for a room overlooking the St. Lawrence River and Old Quebec or Parliament. Executive floor rooms include VIP lounge access and its panoramic floor-to-ceiling city view, deluxe continental breakfast, refreshments all day and a light buffet in the evening. Top it all off with a dip in the heated rooftop pool. Quebec City’s Augustinian Monastery has served those in need of care since Augustinian nuns arrived in what was then known as New France in 1639 to found the first hospital north of Mexico. With the government taking over health care since the 1960s and the nuns advancing in age and declining in number, the monastery’s original mission of holistic health care has been reinvented to meet current needs. The monastery provided respite care to first responders and caretakers during the pandemic and its serene accommodations and special programs are open to all.   For the full experience, book either an authentic former nun’s chamber with a shared bathroom or a larger contemporary room with a private bathroom. Three healthy meals a day are available along with green juices, a holistic health consultation, specialized services, private massage, reflexology, breathing and posture sessions, access to movement and wellness sessions, and a consultation at the end. Day passes include the opportunity to experience the relaxing tranquility of the facility, access to the four centuries of art in the monastery and artifacts in the museum, a gentle movement and wellness activity, and the healthy food in Le Vivoir restaurant. The thermal experience at Old Quebec’s Strøm Nordic Spa is another outstanding way to refresh the body and mind. The array of therapeutic hot and cold waters is enhanced by the view of the ferries and ships that pass along the St. Lawrence River. Book ahead for this as well as the massotherapy and beauty treatments. Dinner at the highly acclaimed Restaurant Le Clan is a grand and fitting finale to a Quebec City adventure. Chef Stephane Modat, who is from southern France, honed his skills in many prestigious restaurants in France and was the Executive Chef at the Château Frontenac’s Champlain Restaurant. His cuisine at Le Clan is elegant and authentic, utilizing local Quebec products and incorporating techniques he studied with the First Nations people.Prepare to be pampered by the knowledgeable staff’s friendly and watchful service. The sommelier’s expert descriptions ensure that the subtleties of the wines do not go unnoticed. The superb attention to detail includes serving pieces created by Wendat ceramist Line Gros-Louis, whose works appear in several museums. Make reservations as early as possible so as not to miss this exceptional experience.Linda FastesonThe 4-star Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations includes accommodations, fine dining, a unique museum and First Nations hospitality all under one roof. Linda FastesonIndigenous art and artifacts are displayed throughout the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations.Linda FastesonThe legacy of the fur trade is clear from the abundance of wild animal hides found in the public areas and guest rooms at the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations.Linda FastesonAmuse bouche, La Traite.Linda FastesonScallops with smoked corn powder, crunchy three sister vegetables, parsnip puree, La TraiteLinda FastesonHee-Hee-Tel-Kin wine, La TraiteLinda FastesonDeer medallion, vegetables with cedar salt, mushrooms and gremolata with carrot stem and candied lemon. La TraiteLinda FastesonMaple mousse with maple fudge, and lemon balm jelly, La TraiteLinda FastesonRestaurant Sagamité, Quebec CityLinda FastesonRestaurant Sagamité, Quebec CityLinda FastesonWapiti burger, Restaurant Sagamité, Quebec CityLinda FastesonAugustinian Monastery, Quebec CityLinda FastesonChapel, Augustinian Monastery, Quebec CityLinda FastesonNun’s chamber, Augustinian Monastery, Quebec CityLinda Fastesoncontemporary guest room, Augustinian Monastery, Quebec CityLinda FastesonThe view of the Old Town from the Hilton Quebec is the best in the cityLinda FastesonHilton Quebec overlooks Tourney Fountain, which is as beautiful by night as during the day.Linda FastesonAugustinian Monastery Museum, Quebec CityLinda FastesonStrøm Nordic Spa, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonSee the action in the ground floor kitchen when entering Le Clan, Quebec City.Linda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec CityLinda FastesonLe Clan, Quebec City