© 2011 jemma

J’aime la ville de Québec!

Je m’appelle Jemma.
Je suis d’Australie.
Je peux parler un peu français…très peu de Français.

Our time in Quebec city was short but it was fantastic. It was also fun practising our French with the helpful people in the city. Quebec city is beautiful. It has amazing architecture, history and within the walls it’s like Disney land. So we stayed within the walls in an old hotel – everything there is old – in what seemed like a Enropean-Disneyland.

The first things you notice within the walls of Vieux-Québec are the cobblestone roads, the stone buildings and the grand Chateau Frontenac. It is huge! Unfortunately for us they are replacing the copper roof on the Chateau so there was a lot of work going on, but they had put up a net around the top with a picture of what it looked like, TRYING to disguise the work. Key word there is trying!

When we arrived in Quebec it was pouring rain. The car was wet inside and out – inside due to the aircon valve being blocked and puddles forming at my feet. We explored a little bit but it wasn’t much. We were both pretty tired after our long highway drive up from Quebec and the rain was no inspiration! We checked out the view of the Saint Laurence, the Chateau and the artist ally, then headed back to our hotel for an early night.

Thankfully our remaining days in Quebec were sunny and warm. We wandered the streets of the old city, through the lower city and its fun artisan shops and old battlements, around the walls and through parts of the ‘Outer walls’ – yes there are a lot of walls.

We also visited two museums in Quebec City. The Chocolate museum, which was truly just an excuse to buy chocolate as all the information was in French, but I did enjoy a good chocolate ice cream! And the Maple Museum where we tasted so many different maple syrup products including; three different types of syrup, salad dressings, salts and sugars. We also learnt how they make maple syrup – for you Bill – and ate waffles with syrup and ice-cream – not as good as yours Bill. It’s always good to be cultured when travelling.

There are what seem to be a million cathedrals and churches in Quebec, each more ancient and beautiful then the next. They have the first girls school in North America opened by the first nuns there – the Saint Ursula Nuns, Place Royal and its first cathedral and many, many, many others filling just the walled part of the city. We didn’t go to all of them, but popped our heads into most and they are all beautiful.

My other favourite parts of the city are the walls, the battlements, and the citadel. We took a tour of the citadel – a star shaped fort built in part by the French, but finished by the British to ward of an American attack – and learnt of its purpose, history and Canada’s military history in all subsequent wars till today. Unfortunately Jess didn’t know his Dads regiment so we couldn’t find his badge in the display. It was interesting though and the Governor General certainly has a fantastic view of the river.

The citadel sits beside Battlefields Park also known as the Plains of Abraham where – in a nutshell – the British defeated the French and took the city of Quebec. Our French-Canadian tour guide was very quick however to point out many of the wins the French had over the British before that, so there! Haha. I really couldn’t imagine such a battle in such a beautiful park though.

Once we had exhausted all of the things to do in the city we drove outside the walls to the Ile D’Orleans. I was picturing something out of Father Ted, but instead what we did find was an island full of beautiful parishes each with their own unique flair. We bought fresh strawberries, cheeses – so much fromage! – apple cider, poutine and pommes (apples) straight from the orchard. We also tried Spruce beer which was DISGUSTING but Jess liked it!

It was a beautiful day on the island looking at the beautiful scenery and meeting some nice locals. We did however have to change a flat tyre – the one with the slow leak. I don’t think the old blokes watching us really thought we would get the tyre on…little did they know! We capped off our nice afternoon with a visit to Montmorency Falls. It’s so big and fast and noisy and its claim to fame is it’s higher than Niagara Falls. I was scared to walk over the suspension Bridge – it was high Andy! – but I did it!! It goes over the falls where they drop and let me tell you, it’s a long drop, but the view from the other side was worth it.

The next day it was time for us to leave Quebec City for the Gaspe Peninsula, leaving behind the touristy parts and heading deeper into French only speaking territory. We had however decided to leave the city on the same day as the Cycling Grand Prix of Quebec. So many streets in such a small walled city had been blocked off to accommodate cyclists from around the world. I went and watched them for a bit, and boy are they fast! I don’t think I could trust such thin bike tyres on such cobbled streets. Not only are the bikes fast, but their support crews that speed after them are even faster!

Luckily we made it out of the labyrinth alive – just – and made our way to the first pit stop Riviere-du-loup. Onwards to Gaspe!
Can’t wait to see what everyone is talking about!