My Leisurely Trip to Quebec City
Quebec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, Canada. We took a train from Montreal to Quebec City. It wasn’t a high speed train like the ones we took in Italy – but it was still an enjoyable 2 1/2 hr ride. My husband thinks we should’ve spent a week there instead of Montreal, but I’d recommend staying in Quebec City as a “long weekend” type of trip. Montreal has a lot more things to do, whereas Quebec City is good for a leisurely trip.
We were staying in Montreal so we were just in Quebec City for a day. Here are a few things you should see if you visit this historic city for a day trip!
You may have seen this building on Quebec City photos and postcards. Like the Colosseum is to Rome, Chateau Frontenac is the symbol of Quebec City. This iconic property was built in 1893 by American architect Bruce Price for the Canadian Pacific Railroad and was used as a residence for the French and British governors. Today it functions as a luxury hotel and hosts many celebrities and politicians during their travels to the city. King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Ronald Reagan, and Alfred Hitchcock are just a few of the many celebrities who stayed there.
We did not go inside but the building itself is immaculate! If you’re on a time crunch, make sure to at least snap a few good photos and skip buying the Chateau Frontenac postcards sold in the tourist shops.
Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) is the historical part of the city. It has shops, museums, churches (and many tourists) but still worth the visit. We spent majority of the day in Old Quebec stepping into the little shops and bought a few souvenirs for the family. Vieux Quebec is so cute! I feel like we stopped for photos every two minutes! It looks and has the atmosphere of a French town in France. After a while we forgot that we were still in North America. This city made me appreciate French culture a lot more!
Old Quebec comprises of an Upper Town and Lower Town where you’d need to use a funicular or walk your way up or down. The tickets cost about $2 CAD but if you want to get some exercise and save money – walk! We didn’t use the funicular; instead we took The Breakneck Steps (L’Escalier Casse-Cou) which is a semi-steep staircase and honestly it wasn’t as bad as the name makes it sound.
I was amazed to read prior to our visit that the city’s walls are the only remaining fortified walls in North America that is north of Mexico. The walls are very tall and thick. We visited a lookout point in Upper Town where you can see the canons up close and touch them! Those very canons along the walls are one of the reasons why Quebec City was able to withstand the test of time, keeping the city well-preserved.
Vieux Port de Quebec sits along the fast moving St. Lawrence River. We took a leisurely stroll along the promenade at Old Port of Quebec watching ships sail by ever so often. The port helped make Quebec City a large economic hub for carrying goods and docking cruise ships filled with travelers to the city. If you want, you can take the Québec City-Lévis Ferry for a lovely view of the city while sailing across the St. Lawrence River. We would have done that but wanted to stay close to Quebec City so we could catch our train back to Montreal later that evening.
In 2014, Quebec City was ranked as one of the 20 World’s Best Food Cities according to Condé Nast Traveler, so you know it’s going to be fun for foodies! There are a lot of places to eat in Quebec City, it was very overwhelming. We walked around for almost an hour looking at menus outside of restaurants (and prices were a factor!) Quebec Province in general has pricey food compared to places we eat at back home. Depending on what mood you’re in, there is something for every taste bud. You will find the famous poutine, French cuisine, Quebecois cuisine, even pubs!
We decided to eat at a fast food restaurant, Chez Ashton, because it was one of the places recommended on the internet as the best place for poutine in Quebec City (plus it was a reasonable cost). Poutine is fried potatoes covered in delicious cheese curds and gravy. However, I don’t know if it’s because we ordered ours with sausage on top – but it was honestly not that great. After talking to a local afterwards, we were told Montreal actually has the best poutine, not Quebec City. We’ll have to try it if we ever return to Montreal!
Quebec City has without a doubt a European atmosphere. There are cobblestone streets, cute shops, great people watching and cuisine – c’est magnifique! We really did feel like we were in a little town in France but without the hefty cost of a plane ticket to get there. French is spoken widely by the locals and many of them also know English, so don’t let the language difference stop you from exploring this incredible city!