As this TravelingMom sat down to write about the perfect Valentine’s weekend… a romantic getaway to Quebec City during Carnaval, her thoughts were interrupted by the tragic news of a mass shooting there. Quebec City, a destination not known for violence, just clean streets, and warm hospitality, had six people killed last night in a shooting at a mosque. After spending three days there, she is heartbroken for all the friendly French Canadians who made my visit so memorable. Here are her reflections on this beautiful city.

Quebec City's rich history and French flair make for a romantic weekend.

Quebec City’s historic architecture and European vibe make it a popular tourist destination. photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann/Midwest TravelingMom

With its beautiful architecture, European vibe and rich history, Quebec City is a fabulous choice for a quick romantic getaway. Only 20 miles from the U.S.A., it’s a lot easier than crossing the Atlantic Ocean for a European vacation. Although Quebec City’s beautiful year round, it becomes a winter wonderland each February with its Winter Carnaval, two weeks of games and gatherings for locals and visitors alike. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy Canada’s French-speaking walled city. No parle Francais? No problem! Most Quebecois speak some English as well!

French Influences

As the birthplace of French Canada, Quebec City has a European vibe that makes it especially romantic. Quebecois (natives of Quebec) don’t let winter keep them from enjoying the charming cobblestone streets of Old Quebec or the beautiful parks. For $2.50, take the funicular from the iconic Fairmont Chateau Frontenac right into the heart of Old Quebec, where French cafes and patisseries have you feeling like you’re in Paris.

The Quebec Parliament offers free daily tours in English.

Take a free guided tour of the Quebec Parliament to learn more about Canadian politics and history. photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann/Midwest Traveling Mom

Parliament Tour

A great start to a Quebec City visit is a tour of the Quebec Parliament. Not only is the historic building of interest, but the free guided tour in English will give you a much better understanding of Canadian politics and history. Ask your concierge for tour times.

Carriage rides are a romantic way to experience Old Quebec.

Take a romantic carriage ride through the walled city, known as Old Quebec. photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann/Midwest Traveling Mom

Old Quebec

The Parliament Building is just a five-minute walk from Old Quebec, the only North American walled city outside of Mexico. Consider taking a carriage ride with your sweetheart through the cobblestone streets. Admire the picturesque window boxes that decorate the 17th- and 18th-century buildings.

Charming window boxes dot the historic houses in Quebec City.

Elaborate window boxes of Old Quebec add to its European charm. photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann

Culinary Offerings

Looking for a French inspired restaurant that’s tres chic, while also tres romantique? Book a table at Restaurant le Louis Herbert on the pedestrian-friendly street, Grand-Allee Est. The original stone walls of this 18th century building transport you to a different time, but the exposed glass atrium roof mean they’re not stuck in the past. I recommend their classic French bouillabaisse. Bon appetit!

Quebec City's French cuisine is simply magnifique!

The French-inspired cuisine of Quebec City is magnifique. photo courtesy: Andrea Guthmann/Midwest Traveling Mom