Quebec City: Music Festivals and More by Terry Zinn

All great international cities have a continuous line up of festivals to entice visitors and enthrall their citizens. Quebec City is no exception.
I recently had a sampling of Quebec City’s summer music festival which always features top of the line musicians, and this year it included Kiss, Sting, and the renown, Placido Domingo. The festival venues are held all over the city, some within the old city stone walls and some near by. The main stage is set in the Plains of Abraham, where Placido Domingo and his duet partner Virginia Tola, thrilled the seated audience both near the stage, and those standing and sitting on the gentle sloping hill beyond.
Large video screens with close up views of the performers helped translate the intimate singing to the throngs. The well mannered and appreciative audience was glad Domingo decided not to take an intermission, as the weather was threatening. Other venues around the city offered other musical styles.
While special festivals are an optimum time to visit, Quebec City is a joy when you’re just wandering the upper and lower sections. Dominating the upper section is the historic and monumental Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac,, where rooms offer spectacular views of the city and St Lawrence Seaway, as well as an extensive breakfast buffet and an old world architectural charm.
In lower Quebec the boutique Hotel Priori,, is an example of comfortable and modern accommodations on a more intimate scale. Rooms boast a most comfortable bed, a flat screen TV, a funky, modern, round, free-standing, stainless steel sink, and a decadent shower with multiple shower heads; some high, some low. Priori’s location is near the Museum of Civilization,, and a short walk to the Espace 400e where I was able to see the Bodies Exhibition, and is also within walking distance of the Image Mill.
A carry-over treat from Quebec City’s 400th anniversary is the Image Mill where laser-like animated images are projected on the sides of the Bunge grain terminal of 81 silos of 600 meters long. The 40 minute visual performance art will continue next summer when it will again boggle the senses as the audience interprets the many images which delineate the history of Quebec.

Adjacent to the Hotel Priori is the upscale and surprisingly gourmet dining of Toast. The word has gotten out that the culinary offerings here are something special, as evidenced by the fact that its Sunday night indoor-outdoor seating was at a premium. A good start is their signature fresh mushroom crostini appetizer of roasted shitake, maitake, honey mushroom and paris mushroom, mozzarella De Buffala, truffled emulsion, basil oil, creamy quail egg and baby arugula. With a start like that who needs to continue with more of their delectable entrées? Everyone, of course. And their deep red cosmopolitan martini served in a metal “glass” is a welcome accompaniment.
Attentive and efficient service is epitomized at upper Quebec’s restaurant le Saint Amour. With amuse bouche and an appetizer of Asparagus with Fleur de Monts ewe cheese melt, Serrano ham, quail egg, candied tomato, summer truffle and Banyuls vinaigrette, you can see why this is a favorite for visiting celebrities like Sting and Paul McCartney. As you can tell by this appetizer, Le Saint Amour is a lux dining experience that will not disappoint. Space does not allow me to praise the Lamb Rack or the Angus Beef or the Big Eye Tuna or the Domodimonti Deja 2008 wine of the Offida Passerina grape.
Sight seeing on the Saint Lawrence river with a boat ride on the Croisieres AML may be your pastime option, or simply strolling the quaint streets and art galleries is a delight. One might also wish to drop in the D’Orsay pub across from city hall,, for a chicken Caesar salad and a beverage.
In Quebec City you can have your own personal holiday festival anytime of year.