Do you know what happens once the calendar flips to October in Canada every year? Nope, not Halloween and all that craziness that comes with it (because that craziness starts right after the Labor Day in September). What happens is the advertisement to get yourself a flu shot frenzy. You can find it at every drugstore, school, kindergarten, and even at the mall. You will also hear the audio version of it relentlessly played on the radio.
I have been told that the strain of influenza virus is different from year to year and the government produces a different type of flu shot to counter this flu before it becomes an epidemic. Each and every year I got told to get the shot, but I've never listened. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not an anti-vaccines kind of person, I am more like treating my body like a temple kind of person, and this temple doesn’t appreciate being injected with a dose of weakened microbes much, this temple likes donuts better.
Fast forward to last week, we both caught a flu and fell violently ill. Nico said the word violent is too much to describe a flu. Well, excuuuuuse me mister-who-spent-a-full-day-dying-from-flu-on-the-bed-the-whole-Thursday, each of us took a sick day dedicated only to not-dying from the flu, I think it was pretty violent.
On Friday night, we had a date-night like any other (temporary) childless and petless couple, but octogenarian style; instead of going for a fancy dinner, we stayed at home in our PJs, complained about how cold this winter is, then we had a movie-marathon watching I Love Lucy show and we insisted that 9 PM is an appropriate bedtime.
On Saturday morning, I felt better and Nico felt betterer. We decided to stop nursing this flu symptoms and go out (and inevitably spread our germs to the innocent on the way). Luckily, the Quebec City’s German Christmas Market is open to entertain us all. Yeay!!
Le Marché de Noël Allemand de Québec
Le marché Noël Allemand de Quebec or Quebec City’s German Christmas market is an annual event that has been held in Quebec City for the last 10 years around Christmas time. The market itself was first initiated by the German community in QC. Therefore, most of the food and products offered in the market are German-themed. The market starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on December 24. It's anyway based on the German Advent tradition! However, since this year is the 10th anniversary of the event, the market opens every Thursday to Sunday, for a full month, starting from November 23 to December 23.
Quebec City is known for its vintage European charms, so creating an atmosphere with European feels during Christmas is not that complicated. In fact, it makes the heart of the Old City (where the market is held) effortlessly German (and magical). The kiosks are made from wood, decorated with twinkling Christmas lights, crackling fireplaces, the air filled with the smell of cinnamon and fresh bretzel.
Every year the market is held at the Upper town of QC, or also known as the Vieux Quebec/Quebec Old City. You won’t miss it, it’s the hub of Quebec social events. You can get here easily by bus, all the express bus pass by this area from every corner of the town. You can also get here by car if you will, underground and roadside parking are available.
The market itself divided into two locations, yet near from one another. One part by the Basilica Notre-Dame the Quebec, one by the Hotel de Ville de Quebec (Quebec’s town hall).
Altho the main activity of this market is all about shopping, well it is anyway a market, d’oh, there are also a lot of activities to entertain you. There are indoor and outdoor performances, choral singing, shows, and even meet and greet with Santa (oh wait, is that how you call it? Meet and greet? Or it is only for boybands?). There is even an area for the kids, the Kindermarkt where there are the puppet show, storytelling, arts, and crafts. The performance schedule is neatly written here.
The forté of this market is the unique handmade gifts, crafted by local talented artisans. Craft vendors are hand-picked by the organizer, making sure they are bringing only the best in the market. The products range from fine Christmas decorations, handmade winter accessories to delicious terroir products. It is a great place to do Christmas shopping. Price-wise, you are guaranteed to get a good price for artisanal products.
Essen und trinken
Great selection of German treats like bratwurst, gingerbread, and huge pretzel (bretzel??) are for sure be there to grab. Standing food-court is available in one of the two location of the market, decorated with fire pits to keep you warm. Oh, and of course; Glühwein (mulled wine) which
is good for flu makes braving the cold worthwhile.
Is that it? Of course not! there is so much more; there is the highly anticipated Lufthansa group WinterBar, where you can get your supply of the said mulled wine and directly imported from Germany liquors. If you are hungry for a real dish, head to the restaurant BMW Alpine Chalet for authentic German specialties, you can see the menu for the day by the door. Unfortunately, the day we went there, most of the menu was made of pork and its by-products, which is a no-go for me.
You can also found piping hot churros. Errr… Churros? That doesn’t sound like German does it? Well, it doesn’t, but churros vendor in QC is like Le vendor on every event. You have no choice but to have them in every event, and unconsciously lining up for your share of hot churros.
Oh by the way, before you go;
- Don’t forget to dress like an onion, I mean with layers and layers, because by this time of the year, Quebec is turning back into its truly self: winteristan, where the wind gust can freeze your snot and the cold could turn you into a human-icicle in a minute. Bundle up in your best winter gear because you will be spending time out door.
- Bring cash! A lot of them! But in the smaller bills tho
- Although it’s a folks market, don’t expect that your exquisite haggling talent might get you a better price. Unfortunately everything is fixed price.
Keep warm and enjoy the festive market, tchuss!