Visiting Quaint Quebec

Last year when our parents turned 60, my sister and I were thinking about what we should give them as a present. As my mother dropped several times how she would love it to visit Canada one day to visit our cousin living there, we decided to gift them the plane tickets to Canada and invite ourselves along for the trip. In about one and a half week we made a trip around the cities in central-eastern Canada, visiting Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto.

After arriving on the VIA Rail train from Montreal at Quebec’s wonderful Gare du Palais, we climbed up the mountain towards our hotel, the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, towering above the city.

 

When we finished checking in, freshening up and grabbing something to drink and eat we started out exploration of the city. Quebec is an atypical North American town, as it was established as one of the first European settler towns it is very much modelled after the typical medieval European towns, with narrow winding cobblestone streets and a fortification wall around the city.

As this ensemble is very unique for North America Quebec City received the Unesco World Heritage status.

 

This first afternoon we decided to visit the Citadelle, located just outside of the fortified city walls. As this is still an active military base, you can only visit it during a guided tour. Our very knowledgeable guide Leo took us around the base telling us all about its origins and history as well as that of the regiment stationed here and their mascot goat.

As the Citadelle is located on top of the hill, you get a magnificent view both over the city and the lower lying Saint Lawrence River. The entire visit was very interesting and a must see when you visit this city.

 

The next morning we made optimal use of our remaining jetlag and had an early start, walking over the famous Dufferin Terrace in front of the hotel, looking over the lower city and the river.

 

Afterwards we continued walking down towards the Vieux Port and Quartier Petit-Champlain located at the bottom of the hill on which the city is built, along the Saint-Lawrence river bank. We strolled around the quaint cobble-stoned streets when the area was waking up and before the big herds of tourists took away the peace and calm.

 

By late-morning we went back up the hill using the funicular and took a stroll around the city’s fortified walls, visiting the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site of Canada on the way.

After all the walking up and down the slopes in this hilly city, we grabbed some lunch at a restaurant serving local food and tried out the local meat pie.

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After lunch we visited the Quebec Parliament, a very grand building just outside of the historic city centre. Our guided tour took us along the main hall and stairs and showed us the two chambers of the building.

First the red coloured former Senate, with the red colour signifying the ‘aristocratic’ nature of the senate. As the state of Quebec is no longer using a two-chambers system, the Senate as such does not exist anymore and this room is now used for a variety of other functions.

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Across the hall we find the blue House of Commons, this is still used for the government function as it was originally built for. The only change they made was changing the colour of the room from Green (as most houses of common still are) to blue so the parliamentarians would look less sick on the TV screens (not because blue is the colour of Quebec).

I found the visit to the parliament very interesting and I learned a lot about how the political system in Canada works.

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We concluded our day with a walk over the Plains of Abraham (the battlefield where the French where defeated by the British on 13 September 1759) and down along the Promenade des Gouverneurs taking us along the Citadelle towards the Dufferin Terrace.

 

We loved the city of Quebec as its small winding streets and general ambience reminded us very much of a quaint medieval European town.

Two days are more than sufficient to visit the city and see the most important things. Especially for North-American people the city is a must-see because it is so vastly different from anything else you tend to find on the North American continent.

Have you visited Quebec-City, and what did you think about it? Let us know in the comments below!

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