Old Quebec, with its cobblestoned streets and 17th-century slate-roofed buildings, looks like a fairy-tale village, one with a French accent. No need for a car; this town is made for walking—and skating, skiing, and sledding.
WHERE TO STAY
Caped doormen usher you in to the turreted Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The gilded lobby is lined with decorated trees, and on Christmas Eve, cookies and milk (for Santa) are sent to rooms with children.
At the Frontenac, listen to Quebec’s acclaimed boys’ choir in the ballroom. While your kids tuck in to their turkey, you can sample the venison carpaccio.
TO STUFF THOSE STOCKINGS
Stroll over to Benjo, a toy store with a teddy atelier and puppet theater.
TO STUFF THOSE FACES
For breakfast, Chez Temporel serves great bowls of café au lait and hot cocoa. The best bistro meal—steak frites, duck confit, and "sugar pie"—is at Le Café du Monde.
OH, WHAT FUN
Clip-clop by the Citadelle and Parliament in a horse-drawn carriage. There’s excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on free trails at the 270-acre Plains of Abraham. Two city squares—Place d’Youville and Terrasse Dufferin—are given over to skating rinks. At the latter, you can also hurtle down a wooden toboggan run. The view as you plummet—the snowy rooftops, the frozen river—is as breathtaking as the ride.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac 1 Rue des Carrières; 800/441-1414; fairmont.com; doubles from $270; Christmas dinner for four $336.
Benjo 543 Rue St.-Joseph E.; 418/640-0001.
Chez Tempore 25 Rue Couillard; 418/694-1813; breakfast for four $18.
Le Café du Monde 84 Rue Dalhousie; 418/692-4455; dinner for four $90.
Plains of Abraham 418/648-4212; www.ccbn-nbc.gc.ca.
Place d’Youville 418/641-6256.
Terrasse Dufferin 418/694-9487; toboggan rental, $18 per hour for four people.