quebec city

© Jen Murphy
Marche du Vieux-Port, Quebec City

A travel writing conference recently took me to Quebec City, which I’ve decided may be the perfect long weekend getaway from Manhattan. Just a 90-minute flight and you feel very much like you’re in France (ok, maybe a slightly Disneyfied France). Here, my hit list of what to do:

Book a room at the castle-like Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac which overlooks the Saint Lawrence river. Windows on the sixth floor look out on the chef’s rooftop garden and its four beehives. Each hive contains about 70,000 bees that supply the hotel with a year-round supply of honey.

Start the day with cheese, strawberries and sausages from the Marché du Vieux-Port, the city’s farmers market. Then rent a bike from Cyclo Services, just across the street, and explore the nearly 250 miles of paths that go to Beauport Beach, the Montmorency waterfalls and gorgeous parks. Post-ride, stop for lunch and a beer tasting at Brasserie Artisanale la Korrigane, a new microbrew pub that opened in June in the Saint-Roch neighborhood.

When the sun goes down, check out the Image Mill, an artsy film of Quebec City’s history projected on towering grain silos (the equivalent of 25 IMAX screens) or a Cirque du Soleil performance that’s held at sunset under the Dufferin-Montmorency highway overpass. Both are free!

Call ahead and book a table for dinner at Panache, in L’Auberge Saint-Antoine and splurge on chef Francois Blais's extraordinary wine-paired tasting menu that might include Cote-Nord scallops on the half shell with candied lemon and Champagne granité and Appalachian red venison with pine sprigs.