December 20 - 26, 2018
About This Tour
The Christmas season is one of the most picturesque times of the year, and the most visually stunning places to celebrate are those which are covered in snow and brightly lit, dressed up in festive holiday attire. Europe is especially known for its open-air markets, public festivities, lovely music, and the general gayety of the season. Christmas in Europe can make you feel like a kid again, and that is where we have gone for our past three Christmas tours. This year we’ve decided to stay closer to home and go somewhere with dazzling Christmas traditions that is just a couple of hours away—French Canada!
A French colony for almost two hundred years, Canada was originally known as New France. Even today, the province of Quebec retains the language of its earliest European settlers, along with many of its customs including French Christmas traditions. The magical cities of Montreal and Québec will be dressed up in colorful lights, welcoming us to join in their holiday celebrations. Enjoy three nights in each city, a guided tour of both, train travel between them, and a special welcome dinner and farewell Christmas feast. Escape the American hysteria surrounding the Holidays and surround yourself with classic, old-world Christmas spirit.
- Old Montreal Quarter
- Notre Dame Basilica
- VIA Rail train ride from Montreal to Québec City
- Québec City
- Old Québec Quarter *
- The Citadel
- Plains of Abraham, French-Indian War site
- Christmas Markets * UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Arrive in Montreal
Arrange your international flight to leave your home city early today, arriving in Montreal by this afternoon. (Search for flights using the airport code: YUL). Let us know on your reservation form if you wish to arrive a day early, on December 19. Upon arrival, collect your luggage and take a taxi to our downtown hotel. Our group will meet for the first time this evening for drinks and introductions in our hotel bar. We walk to a nearby restaurant for a Welcome Dinner in Old Montreal, just a leisure half-mile stroll from our hotel. Overnight in Montreal. (Welcome Dinner included).
After a full American-style breakfast at our hotel, we depart on a guided city tour of Montreal. It is the world’s second largest French speaking city, after Paris, France. Discover the Old Montreal Quarter, the Notre-Dame Basilica (from outside), the Mount-Royal, the business quarter with its Skyscrapers, the underground city and Ste-Catherine street. We return to our hotel by lunch time and the rest of the day is at your leisure to explore on your own. Overnight in Montreal. (Breakfast)
Montreal Free Day
Today is an entirely free day to dive into the various holiday festivities the city plans every year. Your tour leader will suggest optional activities. In addition to the colorful lights on trees, lamppost and storefront, the city here has so much to do for every kind of budget, from shopping to concerts to ice-skating and parades (with many activities free), that you will have the winter holiday vacation of your dreams. Our recommendations: check out the Jacques-Cartier Square which becomes La Place Nordique for fun musical performances, outdoor bars offering artisanal beers, hot chocolate and other warm drinks, holiday mascots, photo-booths, and much more. Overnight in Montreal. (Breakfast)
Train to Québec City
After breakfast, we depart our hotel and travel by taxi (included) to the train station. Our VIA Rail train (Escape Class) takes about 3 hours. We are met upon arrival and transferred to our hotel. After check-in and free time for lunch, we enjoy an afternoon guided tour of Québec City. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only fortified city in North America. Our sightseeing will take us to the Plains of Abraham, the Citadel, the Ramparts, the Château Frontenac, the picturesque streets of Old Quebec, the Dufferin terrace, the Petit Champlain quarter and Place Royale. (Breakfast)
Free Day in Québec City
Today is entirely free to revel in the holiday spirt. Experience the authentic European charm of a German Christmas Market in Old Québec, or stroll through the Christmas Village on Rue du Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale, or go ice skating along the city’s fortification at Place D’Youville. Overnight in Québec City. (Breakfast)
Christmas in Québec City
Christmas Day begins with breakfast at our hotel. You have the morning and afternoon free to attend a church service (if so inclined) or stroll along the Grande Allée to the Parliament Building with its beautiful decorations and buildings all aglow. We gather together in the early evening for a special Christmas Dinner in a restaurant near to our hotel. Overnight in Québec. (Breakfast / Christmas Dinner)
The tour officially ends after breakfast this morning. Book your return flight for any convenient time today. The Quebec City airport code is YQB. We will organize small group transfers to the airport by public taxis (optional). If you wish to extend your stay in Québec City, please let us know on your reservation form so that we can keep your room available for another night. (Breakfast)