Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quebec City

I'm back! Quebec City was fantastic -- if you've never been, you should plan a trip. We had a great time, and I'm glad it's only three hours away, because I want to go back. Aside from the fact that we were only there for 24 hours, it's still the low season, so certain things are not open on Mondays (e.g., afternoon tea at Le Champlain, the Musée de la Civilisation). But there are plenty of buildings, statues, monuments, cannons, cobblestone streets, and views of the river, and then there's the Château Frontenac. It's actually more impressive than it looks in photographs, I think, and you can see it from almost everywhere. It's gigantic! The photo above was taken from about halfway down Côte de la Montagne; below is a view from the lower town -- I think I was on Rue du Cul-de-Sac.

We arrived early Sunday afternoon, checked into our auberge on Rue Ste-Anne, and then attempted to follow a walking tour I'd found online, but the directions were totally confusing, so we just wandered up and down the narrow streets. Unfortunately, many of the plaques explaining the history of a given seminary/monastery/residence/etc. are in French only, so we missed out on lots of the details of what we were looking at. We went into the Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec, which was as spectacular inside as many of the Buddhist temples we visited in Thailand (with tons of gold leaf, etc.). We rode the funiculaire down to the lower town, to see the Quartier Petit-Champlain, the Batterie Royale, and Place-Royale.

Place-Royale is where it all began, they say: the site was always a site of trade among First Nations, and after the arrival of Champlain in the 17th century, this square (then known as Market Square) was the centre of trade in New France. It is also the site of possibly the oldest existing church in North America, called Notre-Dame des Victoires. (I was going to show you a better shot of the church -- like, one where the steeple isn't cut off -- but the photo above shows the square a little better, including the bust of Louis XIV.) We went into the church, where an enthusiastic tour guide covered 1,500 years worth of history in less than 10 minutes. The altar was lovely.

On Monday, we continued wandering. Once we found that the Musée de la Civilisation was closed, we decided to head out of the walled city and visit the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham. Is it ironic that we couldn't for the life of us figure out how to actually get into the Citadel? We approached it from a few different angles, and we honestly couldn't figure it out. (I'd like to point out that we weren't the only ones. Lots of people were wandering around with maps, scratching their heads.) By then we were hungry, so we decided we'd do the Citadel next time, and we headed to Chez Victor for lunch. Oh my. Not only were there four different kinds of veggie burger to choose from (as well as meat, of course), but this was one of the best burger-and-fries meals I've ever had. (How I love fries with mayo!)

We headed home after lunch, taking the 40 along the north side of the river -- we took the 20 on the way up, but the 40 was a little more scenic. We'll probably go back sometime this summer. You know, for the burgers. Now I'm going to put I Confess on my DVD-rental list, so I can see how Hitchcock saw the city in 1953.

11 comments:

carolyn said...

looks & sounds like a megafun little trip! :) yay!

chris said...

Lovely snaps! Now I wanna to to Quebec City, BAD!

Chris said...

Sounds like it was a lovely and fun getaway!

Stacey said...

wow. that looks truly amazing. I remember the first time I went to Montreal - I felt like I was in Europe!!!

Nadia said...

I always love hearing about / seeing the Brainylady weekend getaways. Almost feel like I'm there!

Veronique said...

Wow, sounds like you really checked out the whole town! Any yarn stores? :)

nicole said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I never put together my photos from my trip to Canada two years back, so it was nice to see it all again. BTW, we took the craziest route to the Citadel--up an embankment, down, then around, finally to the entrance. If we were the marauding hordes, they would have been plenty safe!

Dr. Steph said...

I spent two weeks in Quebec City when I was 13 and I loved it all. Seeing those pictures brings back (awkward teenage) memories, and I would love to see the place again with more adult sensibilities.

djb said...

Wow! It's amazing. Completely NOT my picture of Canada.

Lolly said...

Breathtaking views! I read an article on Quebec City last year and I would love to make that trip! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Mia said...

Now I really have to visit there. The photos remind me of Europe. It looks like you had fun too.