Saturday, February 25, 2017

Quebec City

Chateau Frontenac and Bill walking up to The Plains of Abraham

June 7th, in a rent-a-car this time, it was well after lunch when we left my cousins' home and even later before we departed the Montreal area because we wanted to scout out the Ciccihillitti's anniversary celebration venue and find accommodation nearby, for our last night before flying home. The latter proved to be a lengthy challenge because the night we required a room was on the weekend of the Grand Prix. Either there was no vacancy or rates had been raised significantly to capitalize on the influx of people for the event. We finally found a hotel, which met our criteria. 

Although it's less than a two hour drive from Longueuil to Sherbrooke when you leave the former at 4:30pm, need to find hotel for the night and then have dinner, it's too late to do anything but retire.

The following day we meandered through towns skirting the Eastern Townships. Their rolling hills and villages made a serious bid for our attention but we pressed on as we had only three nights at this adorable, 10-room, boutique hotel in Quebec City ... 

We were on the top floor in the room called L'inconnue

The Auberge de la Chouette is across the street from Esplanade Park. In winter the park is the site of the Winter Carnival's Ice Palace, more about that below.

Auberge de la Chouette  

Old Quebec City is incredibly enchanting with its quaint, European flavour ...

These steps lead to Rue Petit du Champlain 
Rue Petit du Champlain 
Quaint shops and cafes line the Rue Petit du Champlain
 Bill with the mural of Cap-Blanc

One of the troupe-l'oeil murals in the city, Cap Blanc depicts Quebec's working class waterfront neighbourhood, from the beginnings of New France to the present day ...

Cap Blanc mural
Port St. Louis
Port St. Louis is one of four surviving gates in the wall that surrounds most of Old Quebec  City. The British began refortifying the wall after they took Quebec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. In 1985, the fortifications were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How unfortunate that the day we chose to tour Île d'Orléans was rainy for it is a most idyllic and charming place. Only 15 kilometres from Quebec City, access to the island is via a single bridge. The island has maintained is pastoral and historic character (you won't find any of the chain villains here) with more than 600 buildings classified or recognized as heritage property. The entire island was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990. 

Map of l'Île-d'Orléans showing the six village/parishes

We circumnavigated the island on the 67 kilometre long Chemin Royal and established that our favourite village was Saint-Jean ...

Part of this Saint-Jean house has a lovely antique shop 
Coffee time at Saint-Jean
Church at Saint-Jean

In Sainte-Famille things seemed more rustic, lay back and agricultural. Bill engaged this fellow who has considerably more antiques and collectables in his yard and buildings than is visible in this photograph ...

Domaine Steinbach, Cider House and orchards at Saint-Pierre
In Saint-Pentonelle the homes were the most lavish


Back on the mainland we drove east along the St. Lawrence River to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré where I could embrace my mother's Catholic roots.

The basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Bill and the grand copper doors of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Inside the basilica 

A little further up the road from the town of Beaupré we did a drive by of Mont Sainte-Anne, the highest ski area in eastern Canada. 

I'm sure the hill wasn't as developed as this in 1969 when the ski hill had been in operation for only three years


Here is where I go off on a tangent to tell you a little story. In 1969, both Bill and I attended the Quebec Winter Carnival but not together. We had just begun our courtship and both of us had made other plans. He and his pals attended the carnival as a side trip (safety day) from a ski vacation, at Mont Sainte-Anne, while Donna and I went specifically and exclusively for the carnival.

Bonhomme's Ice Palace 1969 (Bonhomme, a snowman, is the official ambassador/mascot of the carnival)
My travelling companion, Donna Polgrain, on the back steps of the accommodation she secured for us, February 1969
Yours truly in Old Quebec City, February 1969 

I selected this romantic hand-made print as a memento of both of our independent trips to Quebec City, in 1969, and of this trip. The birds apart, yet facing one another in a wintery scene, represent how we both saw Quebec City for the first time.

Embossed, aquatint, copper, etching by Paul Cloutier (no website)
titled Casse-cou translated it means Daredevil or Risky (???)


Before heading back to Quebec City, we made one last stop at Montmorency Falls. We were disenchanted to find that the falls are within a commercial park. To gain closer access to them you must pay admission. By the time we arrived the park was closed but I doubt we'd have paid $10 to park, $14 to ride the cable car, or use their zip line.

Montmorency Falls at 272 feet high is 98 feet higher than Niagara Falls

Naturally, the following day the weather was massively improved. We wandered Parks Canada's Governors Promenade, the vast boardwalk which connects the Dufferin Terrace to the Plains of Abraham. Due to construction we could not obtain access to the plains, so we wandered the old city instead, ultimately finding a great place to have gelato. 

Monument to the explorer and founder of Quebec City, Samuel de Champlain, and the Chateau Frontenac
Love the costumes of the staff at the Musee du Fort
We took the ferry across the St. Lawrence, to Lévis and back, just to view Quebec City from the water 

For our 'last supper' we chose the the Auberge Louis Herbert and because it was a lovely evening we sat on their terrace which provided all the amusement you could possibly want witnessing the activity on the bustling Grand-Allee.

Sangria before dinner. You've got to love our photo bombers!

I'm thinking Bill had the duck, but I was there for the seafood bouillabaisse

After dinner we strolled the now familiar streets enjoying the lights and savouring our last evening.

Port St. Louis

Chateau Frontenac


  1. What a fabulous travelogue of that gorgeous area, Alice. Your photos are marvellous and I felt like I'd been on a walking holiday in Quebec City, especially. You're right about the European flavour, and your boutique hotel and the mural are especially appealing.

    Your island trip sounds idyllic in spite of the weather, but I am most intrigued by the fact that you and Bill separately did the Winter Carnival in 1969. I love it that you managed to find an art piece that meant so much to you both on this trip!

    Many thanks for a delightful holiday post! xo

    1. Many thanks for your glowing review and for never filing to comment on my posts.

  2. Love these pics. I'd like to go back. Back before Montmorency was a theme park, we didn't get any closer either. I remember that classic view. Funny how the scale is hard to grasp on photos. When I went to Thompson, Manitoba 3 winters ago, we walked to Manitoba's 2nd highest waterfall, spectacular with all it's pillars of ice. And reaching the stunning height of about 40' (yup, that's feet) The tallest waterfall was a several kilometer walk down river,(which we didn't do) and it attains a height of about 42' (!!)
    Since Manitoba really is that flat, the falls were actually quite impressive!!
    Would love to see Montmorency again.... cheers... Meg

    1. Thanks for your comment Meg, it's very much appreciated.

  3. Just typed a long reply to this, and it has disappeared. Maybe it will post this time.!!
    so, I will try to remember some of what I wrote.
    Great to see your pictures. Jogs some old tattered memories.
    We couldn't, or didn't get any nearer to Montmorency when we were kid, long before the theme park. Interesting how it takes some kind of context to understand the height of things. And even then, it's relative.
    Visiting a friend in Thompson Manitoba 3 years ago, we went to a little park with manitoba's highest waterfalls. we walked to the first one, Pisew Falls, with all it's stunning ice towers and curtains of frozen water built up over the winter. It reaches the startling height of 13+ meters or about 40 Feet.
    Downstream is an even higher waterfall, at 11 km we declined to walk. It drops a little more, about 42 feet. Such modest measurements! But it was a stunning view. And no theme park! Cheers.

    1. I'm glad you thought the first comment vanished. Your second one has much more detail which is wonderful to read.
      I get so few comments I published them both!