Arriving in Quebec was a shock to the system. We took the train into Quebec and I could see the thongs were probably NOT the smartest footwear choice I could have made. It was freezing cold, windy and we made a pact right then and there that we would never travel to Canada in winter again.
A two-minute taxi ride and we were at our hotel. Our hotel was located in the Old town, right in the heart of Quebec. The hotel was great, plush, big room with WiFi and very modern – definitely not what it looked like from the outside. A short stroll in 3 degree weather and we were done for the day, luckily that this (and the last day) were our only bad days in this beautiful town.
The Old Town: The Old town was our favourite place to explore. Lots of old architecture, castles, boutiques, restaurants and bars. There is a staircase called “Breakneck” that takes you to the lower level of the Old Town, where you can see a cute little chapel that starred in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Catch Me If You Can. Unfortunately, it only opens on Sundays from 9am to 11am – so we missed out on going inside, but you get the general vibe from the outside.
I found it was similar to Banff, in that it felt like a Christmas village with it’s own Christmas shop, old lamp posts and different coloured buildings. One of the displays projected the Aurora Borealis onto one of the government buildings at night. Just so you can feel close to the action!
A good tip we later found out, is that you can take a Funicular to get to both the lower and upper levels of the old town for $2, as opposed to taking “Breakneck” staircase. It’s not a hard walk, but just slippery when it rains or snows! The old town is great to enjoy a leisurely stroll and to immerse yourself in some culture!
Montmorency falls: We took a tour to see Montmorency Falls – it’s a waterfall that boasts about being 30m higher than it’s neighbouring Niagara Falls and didn’t fail to impress! What we didn’t really know was that it was a 10 minute bus ride from the centre of Quebec and we could have probably driven there ourselves. It is in fact right on the freeway and people can see it as they drive in and out of the old town. So, we’d probably recommend getting a bus or hiring a car out there next time.
Isle d’Orleans: The next stop on our tour took us to an area where most ‘Quebecers’ spend their summer holidays. It’s a little island about 5km off the coast of Quebec called “Isle d’Orleans” – the isle has many beautiful houses with coloured rooves that made this area especially unique. Apparently, people used the colours of their roofs in the olden days to locate their homes. It’s a heritage listed area, which means no buildings may be built and any restoration or modification to an existing home needs to be approved by a whole panel of people.
It was here that we stopped off at a chocolate factory and stocked up on some Milk chocolate & Almond treats and indulged in some hot chocolate. The second food stop took us to ”Maries’s Bakery” where we sampled some Maple butter on toast, one of the things Quebec is particularly renowned for and we milked it for all it was worth! It tastes like sweet condensed milk and from that point on, anywhere we went for dinner we made sure Maple butter was on the dessert menu…probably not the best for you, but hey…when in Quebec!
The last stop was at a Copper factory -another one of Quebec’s proud legacies to the world…but that was quite boring so we’ll skip that bit.
Fort: We spent our last day cruising around the main part of the city. There is a wall that separates the old town from the new part of town and you are able to walk along the walls of the fort. It hovers over the centre of the city and it’s main road called “Rue xxx “. There is a huge park within the walls of the fort that you can explore or just use to lounge in some sun.
Quebec was a lovely town, again like Montreal I think it would be different in summer, as it thrived when we had just a little bit of sun! But even when it rained, it definitely has some charm to it. I loved that it gave us a chance to practise our French before hitting Paris and although people probably prefer to speak French, once they hear you stutter your way through the basics – they’ll break out into English for you. Very kind! Definitely rate it and would love to come back here…