Written by LenR on 03 Oct, 2013
While there are several specific sights and activities not to be missed in Old Quebec, for me the most enjoyable thing was to just wander around the old streets with no particular plan. On our way we discovered several places that most tourists seem to…Read More
While there are several specific sights and activities not to be missed in Old Quebec, for me the most enjoyable thing was to just wander around the old streets with no particular plan. On our way we discovered several places that most tourists seem to miss.Just off the Place d’Armes is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. A church has existed here since 1647, but it has been bombarded, burnt to its foundations, rebuilt and finally labelled as a National Historic Place of Canada for its architectural value. Unfortunately, someone has spray-painted a political slogan on the side of the church and someone else has answered back with their own slogan. The inside is more interesting and we were surprised by the over-the-top decoration and the large number of pieces of art. Four governors of New France, and the bishops of the diocese of Québec are buried here so what it may lack in elegance it makes up for in historic interest. We also took a guided tour of the crypt below the church ($5 per person) which we strongly recommend.Behind the cathedral is Park Montmorency which looks like a typical Quebec Park with lots of statues and cannon. There are many plaques and signs explaining the history of this place and we learned that official buildings have been built here for centuries. For instance, this was the site of the first Parliament of the Province of Canada but the buildings kept burning down. Eventually someone decided to make it a park and today it is an enjoyable, quiet location.We continued walking west around the walls and eventually came to the Morrin Centre which could be Quebec City's best-kept secret. It was built over 200 years ago as the city's first prison but it now houses one of Canada’s most beautiful libraries. We did the Discovery Tour with a guide dressed in period costume at a cost of $10 which lasted about an hour. We walked through the foreboding jail cells and browsed the books in the charming Victorian library. The original jail cells really give an idea of how abysmal the conditions were for prisoners. You don’t need to do a tour to visit the library which has a pretty circular staircase to the upper level books and an ironwork railing around the upper level. From here we wandered down the slope to the market in the port area of the city. It is a real market with fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared meals, a good selection of French and Quebec cheese, honey, wine, cider, chocolates, flowers, syrup, and even a cafeteria. The nearby silos provide the screen for an interesting animation/show at about 10 pm every night but learn from us and take warm clothes except during summer. Close
Written by LenR on 22 Sep, 2013
A few days in a city does not make anyone an expert on its restaurants but a short visit can point you in the right direction. That is what I hope to do in this brief piece.Most visitors to Quebec City spend most of their…Read More
A few days in a city does not make anyone an expert on its restaurants but a short visit can point you in the right direction. That is what I hope to do in this brief piece.Most visitors to Quebec City spend most of their time in Old Town so it’s not surprising that many of the city’s better hotels and restaurants are also in this area. Let’s start with something cheap and friendly. Casse Crepe Breton is at 1136 St Jean Street in Upper Town. This warm and friendly restaurant in the heart of the town has savoury or sweet crepes and a cheerful ambience at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late at night. You can select a standard crepe or make your own then add maple syrup, salad or soup to complete a good meal. If you don’t want crepes, there are sandwiches and desserts to satisfy your hunger. We sat at a table with a nice view to the street and had soup, salad and crepes and the meal cost less than $10 each.The Paillard Café-Boulangerie is a nearby alternative at 1097 St Jean Street. It is buzzing at lunch time as customers enjoy soups, tasty gourmet and fresh salads while sitting at a long wooden table. The attached bakery tempted us with its delicious tasting delights. There are several more expensive options in Upper Town but we gravitated to the Lower Town for these.L’Échaudé, at 73, Rue Sault-au-Matelot, is a reasonably expensive classic little bistro in Lower Town. Most French classics are on offer together with a few more unusual options. What we ordered was well presented and quite flavoursome, which perhaps explains why there seemed to be as many locals as tourists. If you go after 9 PM, the entire bistro menu is 20% off, making it a fairly good value considering the quality of the restaurant. The extensive wine list favours bottles from France.Buffet de L’Antiquaire, at 95 Rue Saint Paul, is a convivial little diner with an atmosphere somewhere between a dinner and a pub. Locals and tourists alike crowd in for hearty breakfasts, savoury meat pies and other simple but good comfort fare. Menu items are posted on a chalkboard with the daily specials included. We sat inside at the narrow counter but when the weather is warm there are sidewalk tables out front. There is nothing special about their food but it was cheap and the staff was friendly. Panache, at 10 Rue St-Antoine in Lower Town, is a classy restaurant, inside the museum-like Auberge Saint-Antoine. The decor and ambience, with attractive wooden floors and exposed beams, is superb and the service was friendly and flawless but we were somewhat disappointed with the food. It was not bad but we had expected something special from a restaurant with a good reputation and high prices and we didn’t think it was. They have a big wine list with emphasis on Canadian wines. Close
Written by tvordj on 17 May, 2012
It all went even further downhill from there. My back was very sore this morning and there was nearly no position I could lie or sit in that didn’t make that one spot hurt. We did walk out for breakfast at the Buffet place…Read More
It all went even further downhill from there. My back was very sore this morning and there was nearly no position I could lie or sit in that didn’t make that one spot hurt. We did walk out for breakfast at the Buffet place but I couldn’t eat more than a bagel. I really wasn’t up to anything more than the heating pad and the bed. I know Karine was going to meet us so I thought Graham should at least go rather than be stuck in a hotel room all day with me. She picked him up early afternoon and they went out in the rain to walk around the city and do some souvenir shopping. They saw the oldest part of the city below the cliff where there’s also a funicular to go back to the upper city. They were in the cathedral Notre Dame, and saw some nice shops. Graham said Karine walked his feet off! They came back to the hotel room after and we ordered takeout and had it in the room. They were heading out later to see the band that she promotes do a rehearsal. I wasn’t sure if I would have gone anyway as it really isn’t my kind of music but after the day I’ve had, I wouldn’t get out anyway. My back seems to have improved through the day but the pain has moved to my hip and it’s even more difficult to find a position to lie in or sit in and the heating pad doesn’t seem to be helping it. So today was a write off completely for me. I’m glad at least that Graham got out and about a bit. We’ll see how things are tomorrow. And again, the next day the weather still hasn’t improved though it’s not raining at least. We really slept in. We finally got up and moving late morning and we had to eat. Karine had a migraine so could not come and meet us for a final good bye. I"m moving slowly but I had to go out for food so, taking our time, we walked out of the hotel towards Old Quebec which is really lovely. It’s a very historic part of the city and all the old buildings now have shops and galleries and a few restaurants in them though most are not cheap. There are some lovely murals on the sides of buildings as well and I’m glad I got a chance to see them. Most of the restaurants have very fancy menus and didn’t appeal to us much but we did find one that had appealing food. I don’t know what it was called as the sign outside just said Restaurant and we didn’t look at the receipt. I found out later it’s called Le Casse-Cou.I had French Onion soup that came with coffee and carrot cake and Graham had that plus a plate with lamb sausage, rice, salad and looked really lovely. The carrot cake was very rich with cream on it and drenched in maple syrup. I couldn’t eat it all and in fact it made me feel kind of sick for a bit with all the sweetness. We walked around a bit more and looked in one or two shops but I needed to go back and rest again so we made our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately we weren’t going to get to see the Samurai exhibit after all. I didn’t think I could walk around an hour or two in a museum and Graham didn’t want to go on his own. We stayed in the hotel room the rest of the afternoon watching tv, packing up and getting ready to check out. We did that about 7 and got to the train station in Quebec City, called Gare du Palais, about an hour before the Charny shuttles arrived and thought the restaurants in there would be open. As it happened only two were and one was definitely not our sort of thing, again very posh with things like duck and rabbit and fancy food on the menu but there was a steak house just beside it that was open too. That’ll do. It’s called Charbon and I’d definitely recommend it. Prices are similar to the Keg here in Canada. It’s not budget but it’s very nice and excellent quality. We told the waiter we didn’t have a lot of time to linger and he suggested the prime rib which was already cooked and only had to be sliced. Sounds like a plan!And what a good plan it was! It arrived in due course with a big slab of pink beef in the middle of the plate, a good inch thick and as tender as you could ever want. Oh my god it was good! There was a green veg with it and mashed/whipped turnip and we had fries with it which were also very good. We had been given a basket of lovely bread, sliced baguette, I think and even that was good. It would have been a lovely place for a proper meal with more time to linger. I must look and see if there are other locations. I guess there might be. We waited outside for the shuttles and arrived at the train station in Charny about an hour ahead of the train which was right on time. Our bunks were already down so we unloaded our things and sat in the lounge car for awhile rather than face those beds. My hip is improving a bit but it still aggravates me to sit too long, depending on the seat and angle I have to sit. They were playing a movie in the lounge so we watched that and messed around on our iPods. We saw a couple there that we’d spoken to while waiting for the train. They’re British and this was their first overnight train ride. They were excited. I couldn’t really find the enthusiasm but I hoped it wouldn’t put them off. Finally back to the closet, we get ready for bed. For the most part my body was in perpetual motion all night seeking a comfortable position which was not to be found. I might have drifted off a little bit now and then nearer the morning. We’d set the alarm for 8 so we would be up for the breakfast in the dining car. Graham did sleep most of the night and wasn’t stiff in the morning so that was one success at least. We had our breakfast and then came back to the cabin for a few hours. I tried to nap a little because I was really tired, while Graham listened to music and played games on his ipod. We went back for lunch about the time the train got to Moncton, the last leg of the ride ahead of us. We ended up sharing with that same British couple. We had a lovely chat with them and it passed the time. Weather today? Overcast most of the way though it looks as if it might be trying to clear up the closer to Halifax we get. The sun came out brilliantly late afternoon in Quebec yesterday, flipping typical as well. Every time we go on a trip like that we only ever manage to get one or maybe two nice days. I hope we get a few more sunny days before Graham goes back next weekend at least. It’s unfortunate how this week turned out with my aching back and hip, the weather and the uncomfortable train journey. But we did see some interesting things and spent time with lovely people so it wasn’t a total disaster. But it could have been better! I think we’ll appeal to the Travel Gods that our visit to Rome in November isn’t as disappointing. I won’t expect the Weather Gods to cooperate, seeing as it’ll be November but you never know… Close
The weather sucks today. Overcast and light rain. We slept well last night and had a slow morning since I was having back aches and the weather wasn’t very conducive to walking around anyway. Katherine and Keith were busy this morning so we lounged…Read More
The weather sucks today. Overcast and light rain. We slept well last night and had a slow morning since I was having back aches and the weather wasn’t very conducive to walking around anyway. Katherine and Keith were busy this morning so we lounged around and relaxed. Later when they got back, we had lunch and then went to see her church next door. This part of Quebec City is traditionally the Scottish quarter which dates back to the 18th century when the first Fraser Highland regiment was here, they fought with General Wolfe during the battle of the Plains of Abraham. They decided they didn’t want to return to Scotland. This would have been in the years after the Rising in 1746 so they may have figured they were considered traitors even though they fought for the British in North America. They applied to George III to be decommissioned. It was granted by a charter and land awarded to them here in QC. Katherine’s church is on that land. She said that if there comes a time when the parish has no minister, the land reverts back to the British. In the little museum in the back of the church is the original charter from George III to the Fraser Regiment. The church, St. Andrews, was built in the early 19th century but the parish is much older. The church is lovely, with sections of pews on either side angled in facing towards the lectern as well as rows of pews directly facing it. There’s a large pipe organ upstairs and some really nice stained glass windows. The museum in back has lots of old documents, books, silver, photos and photos. There’s an old Fraser regiment uniform and portraits of all the ministers including my friend Katherine, the only female to date to hold the position. We also visited the Morrin Centre, which is next to the manse. The Morrin centre was the first English jail, starting off as a military prison and later as a general jail. Later it became the Morrin College and was the first college in Canada to award degrees to women. It also contains the only English library in Quebec City. There is a hall where special events can be held and we saw the Victorian library as well. There are old wooden chairs and shelves and there are some very rare books as well. I believe the part used for the jail can be visited in summer and they do tours but we didn’t see it as Katherine only had access to the library and the tours only go on during the summer months.From there we drove down into the lower town and it was like going back even further in time. If the old city inside the walls on the upper level looked old, the lower town was even older, with narrow cobbled streets and old stone buildings. We will be staying in a hotel in this section later in the week. Even though the weather isn’t going to be sunny, hopefully it will be a bit dryer and we can walk around a bit more and see it. My camera trigger finger was getting itchy just driving through!We then drove out along the river, the St. Lawrence a little way because I wanted to see the area that the battle of the Plains of Abraham was fought. It’s not just a field that was a battle ground now, it’s parkland and there’s a big museum, Beaux Arts on the end of one large area that’s set up for playing sports. It’s still got large green space areas and is on the edge leading to the cliffs that the English had to scale to attack the French. We drove down Le Grande Allee, a wider street lined with larger beautiful buildings, both public and private, lots of restaurants and nightclubs and shopping, too. We drove through the city and out to a mall where we went to a coffee shop for a break. I’m sitting on a heating pad for my back which is still bothering me and we are going to get fast food later on. Graham and I are meeting up with our friend Karine tomorrow and hope to see a bit more of the city, probably on foot. We’ll check into our hotel later in the day and see where we go from there. And the next day, again, sucky weather. We had a cooked breakfast this morning courtesy of Katherine. My back seems to feel a bit better so the heat is helping I think. When Karine arrives, we have a cup of coffee/tea and a chat. We leave there, bags packed in her car and park in an underground parking garage close to the Citadel.First we had to climb up a hill to get to it. Wish we had driven, there was some parking up at the fort. Anyway, I went slowly and made it up eventually. We joined an English tour and there were only 8 of us so it was nice, almost like a private tour. Our guide, Charles, was very good and took us around all the areas. There are two museums to look at. We were up on the bastions with great views over the river that the fort defended and over the city. The 22nd Regiment is based there in a small way with the rest of the battalion based in Val Cartier, a half dozen km or so away. There’s a small chapel that we couldn’t go in and many barracks buildings as well. The citadel has never been fired on or attacked and the current fort was built between 1820 and 1850 though there were defences on this spot before that. There’s at least one building, the old magazine battery, that dates from the French occupation. The Citadel’s situated at the top of the cliffs and next to the area where the Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place. It’s a star shaped citadel like Halifax’s but is far larger. We walked around there for a couple of hours even though it was damp and overcast. It managed not to rain though there was a bit of a mist from time to time and it wasn’t overly cold. We finally left there close to 3 p.m. and trudged back down the hill to the car. Down to the lower town to a small restaurant called Buffet d’Antiquaire which features traditional Quebec dishes. With Karine guiding us, we tried one of her favourites, something they only usually have over the Christmas holidays, cipaille, We also all shared another one with pork "balls" with gravy and whipped potato which was also really good. Naturally, we all ate too much and rolled out of there. My back is starting to ache again damnit. There’s a drugstore just across the road and I was able to find a heating pad there. We picked up some snacks for the hotel room at a small supermarket and got to the hotel to check in. Wow, what an awesome room! Hotel 71 is in an old National Bank building but has been renovated inside. The room we got is on the top floor with a great view of Chateau Frontenac, the landmark hotel in Quebec City that overlooks the cliffs and lower city and river. It’s lit up at night and is gorgeous. The bathroom is beautiful with a large shower area glassed off on one end. The bed feels really nice, a thick mattress on a platform with lovely linens. We got a great rate using an email offer through Travelzoo. Another winner I think. Our rate doesn’t come with breakfast so we’ll have to go looking for somewhere in the morning but that shouldn’t be a problem. My back however, is a problem tonight and I was really starting to hurt. I think Karine could tell and excused herself. I spent some time on the heater and took another Robax and a half. I hope it’s just a temporary thing because it was feeling a bit better earlier and I thought the walking around was helping as well. I’m feeling very sorry for myself and disappointed. It’s frustrating. Anyway, hopefully this too shall pass. Tomorrow I think is going to be iffy weather again so I think we might go to the museum in the morning, which is right across from the hotel. They have a new exhibit on Samurai that we both want to see. I expect we’ll meet up with Karine again and tomorrow evening we’re supposed to go see the band that she manages rehearse. Close
The lonesome whistle blows. The train passes through another small town in northern New Brunswick. You can hear the wheels scrape a little now and then as the motion of the train sways as it heads into another bend. We’re on our way to Quebec…Read More
The lonesome whistle blows. The train passes through another small town in northern New Brunswick. You can hear the wheels scrape a little now and then as the motion of the train sways as it heads into another bend. We’re on our way to Quebec City from the east coast city of Halifax, my home town. The Ocean, the train that connects Halifax to Montreal pulled out at 12:15 exactly on Sunday afternoon. We booked a sleeper cabin on a Via Rail half price sale since the journey by train takes about 18 hours. You can drive to Quebec City in about 10 but the train would be a nice, relaxing experience. Or so we thought…Our cabin is small, just enough room really for the two of us and some small carry on cases and even then it’s a bit full. There’s a little toilet and sink in a closet about as big as the kind you get on an airplane. The "sofa" we’re sitting on will convert into a bed with a pull down bunk overhead. Graham will get to climb up to that. There’s a good sized window, temperature controls, a few little cabinets to put things, a tiny closet with a couple of hangers. It’s comfy enough but we also spent a little time in the lounge car and had our evening meal in the dining car though we brought store made sandwiches and snacks for lunch. The problem started when Graham felt a bit motion sick with the buffeting of the train as we walked to the lounge car. Oh dear… We did sit there for awhile, it’s got lots of windows and a little take out counter with places to sit. We watched some movies on the laptop in the cabin and went to the dining car later for a meal which was pretty good. Not large portions but all we needed. We finished watching a movie and had the beds turned down about 10 since we knew we’d be up very, very early in the morning. That’s where it all fell apart. We found the bunk beds quite hard. They took up even more room in the limited space available. The little ladder attached to the top bunk blocked the bathroom door so you’d have to move it away to go in. I think the train does have some cabins that are a bit larger but also pricier. We found the night very long and uncomfortable with very little sleep and a lot of tossing and turning. We had found the room chilly though and with the comforters on the beds, at least I was warm. We were up by 4:30 a.m. for arrival at 5:15 at Charny. A shuttle took us into the city center and Katherine and Keith kindly came and fetched us. We had a little breakfast and some caffeine which helped steady us a bit but we really were exhausted and off kilter so we went to our room for a nap. It was wonderful to lie on a bed that wasn’t moving and was soft!! We napped for a couple of hours and when we got up, it was still only 9 o’clock!While we get our bearings, here’s a bit of information for you: Quebec City is one of the oldest settlements in Canada, founded over 400 years ago by the French. It’s been fought over and, most famously, won by General Wolfe leading the English, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Although Canada ended up being owned wholly by the British, the province of Quebec has been predominantly French. The larger city, Montreal, has a larger percentage of English speaking people than Quebec City which is over 90% French. The old historic centre of Quebec still has narrow lanes and streets and has a European feel to it. The City has two levels, the Upper city, or Haute-Ville and lower city, or Basse-Ville by the waterfront along the St. Lawrence River. There are steep hills between the two but there’s also a funicular just below the huge old hotel, Chateau Frontenac. Katherine is the pastor of "Scottish" church, St. Andrew’s, the only English church inside the walls of the old city. The manse was built in 1837 and very large. The church dates to 1810 though the congregation dates to 1759. I’ll have a visit inside tomorrow. The manse is very comfortable and our room is large and um..pink! (It’s where their granddaughter stays when she visits so she’s got it decorated to her preference!) The sun is out and it’s going to be a really nice day today. We are going to drive a little way out of the city to the Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre and then visit the Montmorency Falls and it was a wonderful day for it! St. Anne de Beaupre has been the site of many healing miracles dating back to 1658 when a man was healed of crippling back pain when he came to help build the church to be dedicated to St. Anne. The Basilica is a pilgrimage destinationand contains lovely mosaics and stained glass. Below the main chapel is the Chapel of Immaculate Conception with lower ceilings and mosiaiced arches. All the corners on the supporting posts have little mosaic decoration as well. The grounds are landscaped with a large fountain in front and statues. There’s a museum and there are restaurants and motels in the area too, which, to my eyes, made it look a bit tacky. The church is very busy in summer especially. We found a little restaurant just down a short distance called Marie de Beaupre and had our lunch there. It was very good and we all came away stuffed! Next stop, the Parc du Montmorency, focussed on a high waterfall. It’s quite spectacular! They have some cable cars that take you from a visitor centre up to the cliff at the top of the falls where there’s a nice inn, a park and lots of lookoff spots. There is also a footbridge right over top of the falls and a series of steps down the side of a cliff/hill near to the falls for the fit of foot! We took the cable car and walked around at the top. Graham and Keith went on the bridge while I explore the lookoff spots a little lower down. The sun was really warm and the spray at the bottom of the falls was throwing up lots of rainbows. All this and it’s still only mid afternoon. Katherine and Keith did a few errands on the way home and we relaxed for a few hours before an early dinner at one of the oldest houses in the city, l’Ancienne Canadienne. The house, Maison Jaquet was built in 1676 and it’s been a restaurant since 1966. It’s in the heart of the old town, just around the corner from where we are staying. While it’s expensive, they have a specials menu which is very reasonable and includes a starter of soup, a dessert, a main course and a glass of wine or beer. All the choices were excellent. Because of the specials menu, I’d definitely recommend it. Otherwise, it’s on the pricey side but the quality of the food is still very much worth a splurge. Thoroughly fed and watered now, we head back home to rest and recover. We had a pretty long night last night so we’ll both probably be in bed early tonight. I think we’ll be exploring a bit more of the city on foot tomorrow. Close
Written by MikeInTown on 27 Feb, 2012
We had incredible meals at every restaurant we visited in Quebec City. We seemed to always spend C$50 regardless of which meal we ate. Restaurants in Old Quebec tend to be a little more expensive depending on when you dine. One strategy we used, thanks…Read More
We had incredible meals at every restaurant we visited in Quebec City. We seemed to always spend C$50 regardless of which meal we ate. Restaurants in Old Quebec tend to be a little more expensive depending on when you dine. One strategy we used, thanks to the concierge at our hotel, was to try to eat at restaurants within the old section of the city before dinner hours. This allowed us to take advantage of la formule (fixed-price multi-course meals). The menus in Quebec often contain wild game such as pheasant, bison, wild pig, and caribou. At times, we had to ask for a descriptions of some dishes. For example, there was something called sweetbread that sounded like dessert but it is actually made of animal innards such as throat, heart, stomach, etc.. We did not try it. There were some local specialties such as poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). I would have liked to have tried it but I never got around to it. Of course, being in a country whose flag contains a maple leaf, it was not uncommon that the food contained delicious sweet maple glaze.I’m not sure how this started, but my wife and I normally have a ritual pizza meal whenever we leave the U.S.. On our first night in Quebec City, we took our hotel concierge's advice and made the 10-minute walk to La Piazzetta. It turned out to be one of the best pizzas I've had in a long time. My wife postponed our little tradition that evening because she was intrigued by the Alpine Rolls containing Swiss cheese, grilled Westphalian ham, red onions, chives, apples, white wine and Alfredo sauce. She ordered the Alpine Rolls and loved them. We had lunch at Cafe Buade where I had pizza again and my wife tried the three-course lunch special. The entree was General Tso's chicken but with a Quebecois twist. It had a maple glaze which was delicious.The Café Au Bonnet d'Âne (The Dunce Cap Cafe or The Donkey's Hat Cafe) was also a dinner suggestion from the concierge at our hotel. Its menu used a school theme with sections like Geography, Biology, etc.. My wife finally had pizza and what an exotic pizza it was. It contained sliced apples and bacon among other ingredients. As for me, I enjoyed the almond-crusted halibut that evening.Le Cochon Dingue (The Crazy Pig) is located in the Lower Town and was about a 15-minute walk from our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott. We dined at Le Cochon Dingue twice during our stay - once for dinner and once for breakfast. For dinner, my wife and I shared a full rack of maple-smoked baby back ribs with potato skins - delicious. For dessert, we thoroughly enjoyed the maple sugar cake with thick vanilla cream. Breakfast the next morning at Le Cochon Dingue was filling and scrumptious. I especially enjoyed the hot chocolate with 64% Belgian chocolate.Our final dinner was at Aux Anciens Canadiens. We arrived at 5:30 and was able to take advantage of the 3-course fixed-price menu. If we had arrived after 6 PM, everything would have been a la carte and potentially more expensive. Our meal was excellent. I stepped out a little and tried the Lac St-Jean meat pie. This was a hearty meat and potatoes dish that included wild game such as bison, caribou, and elk. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife had the Neptune’s shell that contained shrimp and scallops in white wine sauce and au gratin. It was excellent as well. For dessert, we went with the maple syrup pie - slammin'.As for whether or not I could recommend one restaurant over another, I am not sure I could do it. Each was able to offer us great meals, be it pizza or fine dining. We never had a bad dining experience during our stay in Quebec City. Close
Written by zabelle on 31 Dec, 2007
Calling this a museum is a little bit misleading. What you do is go to the convent of the Augustines and you are then taken on a tour of the oldest parts of the building. The Augustines were the nuns who ran the Hotel Dieu,…Read More
Calling this a museum is a little bit misleading. What you do is go to the convent of the Augustines and you are then taken on a tour of the oldest parts of the building. The Augustines were the nuns who ran the Hotel Dieu, the hospital. Parts of the building date back to the XVII century. We rang the door bell and were buzzed in. We didn’t know exactly where to go but we questioned one of the Sisters. She told us to go to the large room at the end of the hall and wait for our tour guide. We waited about 10 minutes. Our guide was a young man who spoke very broken English. He also gave a lot less information in English, now for me it made no difference, I followed close behind the French speaking members of the tour and listened to what he told them, when he left things out I could fill our group in. I am not sure if he is the only guide but he was less than inspiring. In spite of him I am going to recommend visiting here because it is such a historic building. You need to be able to climb stairs to visit here as we not only went upstairs but went down into the basement. On the first floor there are maps, paintings and cases of small items relating to these nursing sisters. There is a portrait of the founding sister and also an etching that shows the first three sisters arriving from France.One the second floor there is a very interesting museum of medical instruments. Some of them look more like instruments of torture than instruments of comfort and help. There are also items that would have been used in a hospital. There are apothecary jars since the sisters were not only nurses but were druggists as well.We got to stick our head into what would have been the sister’s kitchen and there is a nice collection of copper pots hung on the wall. The stairway that we went up is original and very beautiful.The most interesting part of the tour was our trip to the basement. Here there are some very old pieces of furniture but what fascinated Brandon was the pile of canon balls. These are from the bombardment that Quebec took from the English during the war in 1759. Our last stop was the chapel. We were the area of the chapel were the nuns would have sat to watch the Mass. It is not really in the chapel but looks into the chapel.There is no charge to visit here but in the basement there is a box for donations. The tour ended with us being dumped into the hospital and we basically just walked out the door where visitors would enter to visit. A little strange but very much worth visiting.75 Rue des Remparts Close
Written by zabelle on 30 Dec, 2007
When it comes to things that you can visit free of charge Quebec City has them in abundance. One that we had never done before was to tour the Parliament Building. Check with them to see what time the tours are offered depending on which…Read More
When it comes to things that you can visit free of charge Quebec City has them in abundance. One that we had never done before was to tour the Parliament Building. Check with them to see what time the tours are offered depending on which language you prefer. You need to enter the building through door Number 3; it is on the side of the building facing the old city. Our tour in English began at 10:30am. Arrive at least ten minutes in advance of the time you plan to tour. You need to go through security, this is very much like boarding a plane, you need to empty your pockets and send your purse and wallet through the ex-ray machine. After you are checked one member of your party needs to provide ID. You then proceed to the room where a short video is offered. There are two separate rooms one for French speakers and one for English speakers. I leave it to your imagination to decide which the larger room was.Our group was quite large; there may have been 40 people. Our tour guide came to meet us in room 181 and escorted us into the main lobby where you proceeded to point out all the things we should be noticing. You need to be able to walk up stairs; we went up to the second and then the third floor. You spend a good part of the tour walking and standing. The staircase is grand as you would expect from a very important building. There is a magnificent canopy of stained glass from the workshop of Gauthier and brothers who are Quebec artists.
The National Assembly Chamber is where history is made in the province of Quebec. The walls are decorated with a theme that echoes the façade of the building with fleurs-de-lis, maples leaves and roses. The walls are a beautiful blue, what I found interesting is that green is the traditional color but blue is better for TV so blue it is. What I found really amazing was that above the seat at the head of the room is a crucifix.
Religion is not kept out of public buildings in Quebec. The members of the majority and minority face each other across the room in the British style. We also visited the legislative Council Chamber. It is done all in red, the color of the British monarchy. In this room 8 governor generals were sworn into office between 1886 and 1935. It is identical in size to the National Assembly Chamber and the decoration is inspired by the motto ‘je me souviens". I will remember.After your tour take the time to walk through the exhibit entitled Le Quebec, ses deputes, ses region. Being of French Canadian ancestry I enjoyed looking at the photos of people of note and the different regions of the Province of Quebec. I know the region where my mother is from quite well but I have ancestors from Gaspe and other regions that I have never seen. I enjoyed seeing the people who share family names with me as well. Eugene Etienne Tache is the architect who designed the National Assembly Building. It was completed in 1886 and is in the second empire style. The building is decorated with 22 bronze statues of persons who have had an impact on the history of Quebec.
There are also two sculptures of Native Americans on the grounds. The building has three levels on the façade that represent the three periods of Quebec History, the French, the English and the Federation.
Written by zabelle on 06 Jul, 2006
Louis St. Laurent was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1948 to 1957. He had the house on Grande Allee built in 1913. It was here that he raised his family and in 1973 that he died. Now for most Americans I am sure that…Read More
Louis St. Laurent was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1948 to 1957. He had the house on Grande Allee built in 1913. It was here that he raised his family and in 1973 that he died. Now for most Americans I am sure that the name Louis St. Laurent doesn’t mean anything, and I have to admit that I fall into that number. I am well versed in the history of Quebec up to and including the loss of Canada to England in 1759. After that I have only a cursory knowledge. This was an opportunity for me to widen my horizons.I was surprised when I first heard him talk, to my ear he spoke French with an English accent and English with a French accent. Once I learned a little about him I realized why. Like both of my grandparents on my mother’s side, he grew up speaking French to his Quebecois father and English to his Irish mother. It perfectly explained his accents to me. We are welcomed into the house by the virtual maid Yvonne. She reminds us to wipe our feet. We then meet a real park ranger who takes our entrance fee $4 each (there is a $10 pass that includes Martello Tower 1;Abraham’s Bus, Oddessy and Louis S. St Laurent House). She directs us to the parlor where the interactive visit begins. There is an old fashioned TV and you listen to an interview with the Prime Minister. On one of the tables there is a book and if you push the button in it you can ask some questions. The interviewer stops and says that the visitor wants to ask a question and then asks whichever one you pick. You can sit on any of the furniture and interaction will enhance your visit.In the office you are asked by Yvonne to answer the phone and you then listen to what the caller has to say. This part of the visit has most to do with Mr. St Laurent’s law practice. He was a lawyer from 1905 until his election and then when he was defeated I 1957 he went to work with his son Renaud who was also a lawyer. The next room you visit is the den. Here you meet Mr Dion who was the Chauffeur for the St Laurent’s for 30 years. We also hear from their daughter Madeleine and their granddaughter. It is very entertaining.In the dining room it is Madam St. Laurent who is doing the talking. She tells us about her years in the house and the decorating and entertaining she did. The last stop is the kitchen. The ranger met us here and gave us additional information. The house was sold after Mr St Laurent’s death in 1973. It was with the help of his daughter that they were able to recreate the house, she however died before it opened in 2003.All the audio portions are offered in both French and English. We as a matter of fact traveled through the rooms with a French speaking couple. Both of us seemed to enjoy it equally. They offer children’s birthday parties in the house which certainly sounded interesting. Close
In 1803 the British built four Martello Towers as part of the defense of Quebec City. It is a little distressing to realize that who they were defending themselves against was the United States. Today three of the towers still exist and one is open…Read More
In 1803 the British built four Martello Towers as part of the defense of Quebec City. It is a little distressing to realize that who they were defending themselves against was the United States. Today three of the towers still exist and one is open for tours. Another one hosts dinners but that is for another journal.In order to visit the Martello Tower you need to be able to climb stairs. Not just nice wooden stairs (though two of the stairways are just that) but also curved and uneven stones stairs. These were constructed to make it difficult for the invaders to get in but it also makes it awkward for the visitor of today.Entrance to the Tower is $4, If you purchase one of the passes for $10 it is included along with the Odyssey, Abraham’s Bus and the Louis St. Laurent Heritage House. You enter the tower at the middle level. This is the barracks. If you are brave you can try on one of the uniforms that the soldiers would have worn, we also see their beds which were bunks and looked very small. When you realize that 20 men lived in this room it seems even smaller. There are posters written in French and English and also audio presentation. You pick up the headphone, take the magnetic end, and put it on the language you prefer (Spanish, Japanese, French, or English) then put the magnet on the metal strip. The audio should start. There are six or seven through out the tower telling about everything from daily life to punishments for numerous infractions. You didn’t want to be a deserter, not only would you be branded with a D below you armpit but you would be made to stand on one foot with the other foot poised over the pointed end of a bayonet until fatigue made you impale your own foot. Gross The view from the top floor is quite extraordinary. You can see the river, the Chateau and all the way to the Citadel. There is also a cannon in place so that you can see what the Martello Tower was really meant to do. On the bottom level was the storage of the thirty days rations that we were always kept on hand and also the powder magazine. One of the audio presentations here talked about the dangers of working in the magazine. Of all the audios I found the one of Private John Atkins writing to his fiancé back in England the most poignant. He talks about conditions of solitude and of the men who resorted to drink, debauchery and going into debt to pass the time. It was a very interesting tour. Parking is available on the street alongside the park with meters. Allow about an hour and fifteen for your visit. Close