A Museum Hotel | Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City

FoodandWine Recipe

Enormous, copper-turreted Château Frontenac, built in 1893, dominates the Quebec City skyline, but it's not the only hotel in town, or even the most historic. The boutique hotel Auberge Saint-Antoine, in the Old Port, got its start in 1687 on land deeded to fur traders; an 1822 stone warehouse is part of the property. An expansion last year added 64 streamlined, taupe-toned rooms to the original 31, all with enormous feather-top beds and bathtubs big enough to float a barge. Artifacts from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries excavated on the site—clay pipes, porcelain shards, brass thimbles—are now displayed throughout the hotel, providing an intriguing archeological counterpoint to the oversize club chairs and '60s-style plastic stools. And now the Auberge has opened a restaurant, Panache, where young chef François Blais serves elegant New Quebecois dishes—venison with braised short ribs accompanied by morels in cream, for example, or quail with duck bacon and wild spinach. Like the Auberge's owners, this chef looks to the past while saying something new. DETAILS Doubles from $135; 8, rue Saint-Antoine; 888-692-2211 or saint-antoine.com.

PUBLISHED December 2004