Québec was founded by the French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century. It is the only North American city to ... More
Historic District of Québec
Québec was founded by the French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century. It is the only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, together with the numerous bastions, gates and defensive works which still surround Old Québec. The Upper Town, built on the cliff, has remained the religious and administrative centre, with its churches, convents and other monuments like the Dauphine Redoubt, the Citadel and Château Frontenac. Together with the Lower Town and its ancient districts, it forms an urban ensemble which is one of the best examples of a fortified colonial city.
Dump the car. You can spend days wandering the historic district. Great dining experiences. The street entertainment was wonderful. You feel safe. Everyone was so friendly. Never met a so-called "French" snob.
Old Quebec City is a piece of old, romantic Europe right on our door step. The history is incredible, since some of the buildings are older than the USA. Street performers help create a welcoming, romantic atmosphere from daylight to dark. Beautiful views from the city's high points inspire artists, poets, thinkers and daydreamers. Natural beauty, historic settings and an international flavor meld into a delightful experience for anyone who breaths.
Our French Canadian hosts were one of the best parts of our experience, welcoming us into their Bed and Breakfast (Gite), and sharing helpful tips on what to see and where to eat.
We left our car at home in the States, and fully relied on the superb public transportation system, supplementing with our feet. Walking through the Old City -- though pleasant -- can be a challenge if one is not used to climbing stairs or hills. This city is perched atop a sheer bluff. Lifts are available, as are taxis and buses. But most of us can't resist the urge to just walk up when we see yet another place to explore, so good walking shoes are an absolute must.
Restaurants of all types abound. Most include the option of an outdoor terrace. At the very least, windows are large, grated, and wide open to allow for a picnic feel even when dining inside. A thriving farmers' market down on the marina offers fresh and delicious produce locally produced, plus the opportunity to hob-nob with the locals. A fresh-food cafe is located on the marina side of the market, and provides picnic tables for on-site eating. This was the only place where knowing French was a very good thing. But, pointing and holding up fingers works, too. (Don't forget to smile. Americans in general need to smile more when in foreign places.)
Just a funny observation: If you fly in, watch the ground as you approach the international airport. We found it strange and amazing how many yard pools there are in this city. Even the US Deep South doesn't sport so many per neighborhood. We wondered if they let them freeze over in the winter and use them for back yard curling or hockey? Someone must have been a very good pool salesman!
We have traveled throughout the US, Canada, and Central America. Though we have enjoyed everywhere we have been, Old Quebec City remains our all-time favorite vacation experience, and we hope to return there many more times. Keep an eye on the exchange rate, as travel into Quebec becomes even more of a delight with a good exchange.
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