Like an avid traveler and professional wanderluster, visiting Unesco world heritage sites is always a gem. They almost never fail to disappoint. Québec City is about 7 hours north of Boston and yet in the past 12 years that I called this city my home, I have never ventured up to my Canadian neighbors in Quebec City. Sure Montreal had more than enough shares of my appearance, I even ran the marathon there, but never dared to venture further to the French Canadian east. Luckily, I rectified this mistake one weekend!
On an impulse last second decision, we decided to give up our last night in Montreal in hopes of something new versus the tried and true. With a few clicks of what seemed like a bright idea, Hotwire got us a modestly priced hotel in an area that looks like it was close enough to things for our day of adventure.
The 2.5 hour drive from Montreal to Québec City isn’t the most exciting. For the most part its flat, country road and as far as i can tell, not much in between. Needless to say that when you arrive at 10PM on a Sunday night, the city looked desolate. As we roamed from one place to another place on Rue Saint Joseph, we got the same answer. Kitchen is closed… Luckily, there was one place known for it’s late night food and decent enough drinks. Le Bureau de Poste was like a gastropub lodge that turned into a dive bar offering pretty much anything you can imagine for food for the low price of 4.95CAD.
Our bellies quieted down and sleep came way to easily. Monday morning we got up relatively early and went through to tourist duty.
Quebec City served as the fortress capital of New France. Much of it’s old city wall and military history seems to be preserved in great shape, earning it a place on the highly coveted UNESCO listing. These days, it serves more as the administrative capital than anything else for Province Quebec.
But first things first. You can’t be exploring on an empty stomach. You just can’t because I said so. Whether you’re in Paris, or just French Canada, the first order of business was to find a croissant, because hard as we try, American’s just can’t seem to make great croissants that don’t taste like they were made a month ago and frozen.
We stumbled into Paiillard where the urge to order everything off the menu and the Gelato was a bit of a struggle to surpass. I think end up walking out with a few more things than I should have, because they didn’t survive too well sitting in a 90 degree car all day. Ooops.
And now it was time for the sights… While I briefly looked at a few things to do and see, I strongly believe that the best type of sightseeing is to just get lost!
The old city walls were renovated into this really cool park trail. Not much shade, but gives you a nice 360 view of most things around you, leaving to no question as to why this was a military capital.
Through out the whole city, there were all types of cannons around.
The cliff over looks the Saint Laurent River and Laurentian Mountains and by midday, a corner of it was filled with entertainers trying to earn their pennies.
We continued wandering around and walked into the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was a nice Cathedral, but not anything special on it’s own.
We wandered into Quartier Petit-Champlain with it’s galleries and cute shops
I’m a huge fan of hilly cities. I love going up and down the rollers to uncover new views. Quebec City also had quite the collection of these building murals. I read somewhere that there’s a good amount around town. Check out Murale Creation for more!
the court yard area of Place Royale was a little empty for how peaceful it was. Maybe on a cooler evening day, this place get’s more packed.
You can pay $2CAD to take this railway rides up, or you can use your good old legs and do some stairs.
Rue du Petit-Champlain is the ultimate people watching spot.
We cozied up to Le Lapin Saute for some lunch, sangria and people watching.
Tony and I shared this two way duck salad (smoked duck and duck confit) . I was still feeling a little too full from eating every pastry in the morning, but I wanted to still try everything more.
Further down the street there is is no shortage of sculpture art to make you contemplate.
And this mural that I thought was pretty cool combined with the church.
We made our way down the castle city steps (we took the long road down versus the steps we found to more quickly get us back up). Marche Du Vieux Port is a little bit bigger than it looks, but definitely not too happening on a Monday. Although they had some cute jewelry vendors, some limited produce, plenty of options for olive oils and jams and such.
We came back from the market in a mad rush to get back to the car. somewhere between here, and there, we did find something called 300 steps to Escalier Casse. Like a said before, free workout mixed into sightseeing!
Le Chateau Frontenac is one of the famous sights in Quebec, but it’s now a Fairmont hotel. So while I’m sure the accommodations are more than lovely, they were not available to the view of the public.
It would have been nice to have another half day to explore a little further. There was still plenty more that we could have seen, but for trip, 3/4ths of a day will have to be enough.
And yes, i did return for some gelato for the road.