Carnival time in Québec, Canada

The author of Chocolat finds fun, folk music and echoes of her past at Québec City’s winter festival and ventures into the province to find its spiritual heart

I arrive on the wind of the carnival. A rather unexpected wind, causing chaos throughout the city, and bringing with it the worst snowstorm of the winter. Over 30 inches of snow has fallen on Québec overnight, and it looks like an etching dating from some more primitive time, when wolves would cross the frozen rivers and prowl between the buildings.

It’s a place that has been calling me for years. Growing up in Yorkshire, the child of a local man and a French woman, I learnt to understand my dual culture by means of songs and folklore. French and English folk songs have more than a little in common and, over centuries, have crossed the sea to the New World, leaving fragments of themselves wherever they have come to land.

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