Quebec City has one of the most picturesque historic centers that I have ever visited in North America. There is something incredibly charming about all the flagstone facades, the cobblestone streets, the dated historic buildings, the division of upper and lower cities each with their own interesting sights, and the inherently French provincial vibe that the old town exudes. AA, his cousin GDA, and I just returned from a brief visit there (after a couple of days in Montreal). The temperature was unseasonably, frigidly cold, and there was about a foot of snow on the ground with flurries continuing our entire visit. You can see below the picture of AA and me outside the Chateau Frontenac (now a Fairmount Hotel) and witness our winter-like experience! But the overall icy-cold experience helped open up the holiday season for me, so it was all worth it.
Even more intriguing was the hotel where we stayed this time: Auberge Saint-Antoine. This was an incredibly relaxing, luxurious hotel/spa experience; when you leave for the evening for dinner, you come back to your room and discover turn-down service, herbal tea, subdued lighting, and a CD with Diana Krall singing soft jazz. What fascinated me about the hotel most, however, was how they incorporated archaeological artifacts as part of the decor and history of the site. The hotel was originally a fort and merchant house in the 17th century, and over time the grounds and buildings changed. When the hotel underwent renovations about 15 years ago, they excavated hundreds of cultural artifacts, like fragments of ceramic dishes, glassware, knives and forks, leather shoes, cannonballs, pipes, ... the list goes on and on. All of the artifacts have been beautifully displayed in vitrines embedded in the walls (as you in the above image). Even the rooms are themed and named around a particular ceramic fragment. Most of the artifacts date from the late 18th/early 19th centuries, but it is fascinating to discover some objects dating back to the late 1600s.
The personal service, the comfortable room, the delicious food and cocktails, and the archaeology-as-decor all make for a wonderful experience in one of the most picturesque cities I know. I look forward to another visit in the near future!