The week of Christmas, I went away with my family to the charming little town of Baie-Saint-Paul (henceforth known as BSP), Québec, about an hour and a half north-east of Québec City.  It was the first time all five of us had gone away together in five years, and it was almost surprising how much of a blast we had in that little town.  Our time away taught me that you really don’t have to go that far to take a much-welcomed break from reality–and to experience an entirely different culture and landscape.

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To be fair, though BSP doesn’t seem like it would be that far, it was a huge struggle to get there.  Because of the ice storm, our flight was delayed over and over until it was finally cancelled 8 hours after we arrived at the airport.  From there, our only option was to take the 10-hour train (plus a 90 min drive) the next day.

All totally worth it.

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We stayed at Hôtel La Ferme, a farm-inspired yet completely modern hotel in the heart of BSP.  It has multiple buildings, and each has gorgeous rooms of entirely different layouts and styles.  They really think of everything there – you can tell that every last detail has been carefully planned.

Some highlights of the hotel include delicious food, including a killer breakfast buffet (not pictured):

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(Food was also great in town; shout-out to Mouton Noir for the biggest and best pork roast/pot pie I will ever consume)

$5 skate rentals, plus a rink in the courtyard (side note: this was my first time skating.  I quit my lessons at age 6, telling my parents I only liked going for the fries and poutine I got to eat afterwards…no comment):

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A spa, and a little train to and from the ski hills:

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The main attraction for our trip was the skiing/snowboarding at Le Massif de Charlevoix, just a short drive away.  After all our travelling, we decided just to ease into our winter sports by snowshoeing on our first day.

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On Christmas morning, we woke up bright and early, indulged in the breakfast buffet, and then made our way back over to Le Massif for 8:30am sledding.  The entire adventure took two hours on a 7.5 km trail, and it was SO FUN.  I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.  DO IT if you ever get the chance.

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And one day we actually, y’know, just went skiing.  Jaclyn and I hadn’t attempted it in 12 years, so we took a lesson to begin with.  Our instructor Simon (pronounced the French way, see-MOH) was a little disconcerted after we told him we were beginners, and especially after seeing my attempt to “skate” to the chairlift, but eventually decided we were amusing and cheered us on as we made it down the mountain.  For real, I faced a couple of fears that week in learning to ski and skate – winter sports have never been my forté.

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On our last day, we took the time to explore the town of BSP.  The town is known for its arts and culture, and the streets are literally lined with art galleries and artisans, like this little shop of woolen goods:

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(Soaps coated in wool for washing and exfoliating)

And Fraîcheurs et Saveurs, where my dad was happy as a kid in a candy store:

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Restez fougueux,

Carly

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