Old World Style in the New World:  Family travels through Montreal, Quebec City, and Lake Placid!

Our family took a one week vacation this fall through Montreal, Quebec City, and Lake Placid.  This is an ideal road trip itinerary for families, especially when driving from the New York City area.  The scenery is breathtaking in each location.  Each area offers unique experiences.  We began our introduction to French Canada in Montreal.  Montreal is a modern City with a French Quarter devoted to preserving European Old World charm.  We stayed in the heart of the French Quarter near Rue St. Denis. The architecture here is striking.
The French Quarter of Montreal can be seen over a few days.  One of the top attractions is the light show inside of the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.  Book tickets online a few days in advance as they sell out often.  The architecture along Rue St. Denis reminded us of Paris. This resemblance to Paris is especially striking at sunset when the lamp lighted area comes alive.  The only noticeable differences were the moose and bear signs everywhere.  One of the highlights that I tried was an exhilarating ride on The Montreal Zipline. This is one of the longest ziplines in the world that is inside of a City. The zipline offers fantastic overviews of the the old City and River.  Montreal’s French Cuisine is out of this world.  When in French Canada, trying Poutine, a combination of gravy, cheese, and french fries, is a must.  Families will also find the evening light show in the Center of the French area very entertaining.

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We loved Montreal, but Old Quebec City was our favorite.  Quebec City’s French Quarter is larger than Montreal’s. It’s striking architecture is reminiscent of medieval France. The surrounding forest views and river cruises are definitely worth writing about.  Overlooking the French Quarter is the famous historic hotel, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. The surrounding scenery looks wild and untamed and this charming Old World City has sprung up in the center of it.  The cuisine and dinning atmosphere is incredible in every restaurant and cafe.  Quebec City offers exquisite French cuisine, local fanfare, Italian, and fresh sea food.  All restaurants that we visited had children’s menu and were welcoming to families.

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Quebec City offers some unforgettable activities. Take a river cruise along the St. Lawrence River.  A river cruise offers lovely views of the Montmorency Falls. A charming bilingual presentation is presented on Quebec City’s history.  Next, drive to the base of Montmorency Falls and take the gondola ride to the top of the falls.  You’ll find kid friendly parks at a couple of locations on the way down.  Lunch at the lovely restaurant at the top of the mountain is highly recommended.  The food is great and prices reasonable.  The views over the Falls can’t be beat.  Zipling, mountain climbing, and horseback riding are available on the mountain.  There is a family friendly hike down.
The fort, La Citadelle de Quebec, encircling Old Quebec City is worth visiting.  There are also many museums and art galleries to explore.  The streets and outdoor charm are where we mad most of our memories.  Don’t miss Umbrella Street in Quebec City!  There are many charming walks through the narrow streets of this medieval style City!
A short drive from Old Quebec is Ilse DE ‘Orleans.  This is an amazing island. It offers wineries, local fresh produce, charming restaurants, and gorgeous scenery!  We visited the famous chocolate shop of Chocolatier de I’lle d’Orleans.  The lovely small houses dotted along the roadway provide for lovely photo ops and back drops.  Local artists also create outdoor art for the public to enjoy.  Most of this island is still forest and farmland.  Thankfully, it hasn’t changed much since the 1950’s.

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We spent three days exploring Old Quebec City. We then checked out of our charming Bed and Breakfast, Hotel Terrasse Dufferin. We next drove toward Lake Placid.  Exploring the area around Lake Placid is a great way to break up the drive back to the New York City area.  About a half hour before Lake Placid is the High Falls Gorge hiking trail.  This trail is very picturesque and the hike is very family friendly.
After arriving in Lake Placid, we were stunned by the natural beauty of the town and surroundings.  It’s surrounded by the mountain peaks of the Adirondacks.  Lake Placid is known for it’s amazing Olympic Park and that is definitely worth exploring.  The town is built around both Mirror Lake and Lake Placid. These lakes are incredibly picturesque. They are surrounded by charming restaurants, cafes, and local shop.  Many dining options are five star, yet we felt like were in a small town.  We enjoyed sunset as a family at Mirror Lake and then a swim in the Olympic Size Pool.  The next morning, I took my four year old paddle boarding on Mirror Lake.  It was so peaceful and the Lake was so very placid!  The views were lovely and it was so fun to share this experience with my young daughter.  After Paddle boarding, my husband took me to the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience! Here I actually got to ride in an Olympic bob sled ride at 55 miles per hour.  I loved Lake Placid and I could see taking my family back there for longer.  It’s so relaxing!

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We spent two and a half days in Montreal, three days and four nights in Quebec and one night in Lake Placid.  This is a family friendly itinerary for families with children of any age.  Ours children were one year old and four years old at this time.  Lots of great playgrounds and parks for families in each area as well.  Happy travels!
Umbrella Street in the French Quarter of Quebec City!

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