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Cam and Gg at Parliament
Cam and Gg at Parliament

There’s probably not a more romantic city for strolling than in autumn, but I am sure the charm of this city will grab you in any season.

I arrived via bus from Chicoutimi (near the Saguenay Fjord, where I’d just been) at Gare du Palais—the main train station in Québec City. Built in 1915 by Canadian Pacific and renovated 20 years ago, the station has 4-5 million people pass through every year!

I was so surprised to find here the quiet and chic  favored by lawyers from the nearby courthouse. The Asian seared scallops over parsnip purée were so delicious, as was my petite glass of pinot noir. Many Québec restaurants offer a 3-oz or 5-oz pour with indicating lines marked on the glass.

Later, my husband Highroad Cam met me at our hotel after driving 8 hours from Connecticut. The  has spectacular views overlooking the citadel of Old Québec (Vieille Ville), the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains.

Our beautiful corner room (1216) at the Hilton had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides and looked out upon the famous and imposing Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel, built in 1893 by Canada’s railway companies to evoke the romanticism of the 14th and 15th century chateaus of the Loire Valley.

île d´ Orléans
île d´Orléans

After a quick cappuccino, we were ready for our tour with Francois of , who had rented a car. Francois drove us to the historic and scenic—a landscape paradise complete with vineyards and sunflowers. We stopped at and sampled some ice wine in their beautiful tasting room. One could easily spend a week just at île d’ Orléans!

 

DSC_0352
Vieille Ville in Québec City

Back in Québec City, Francois ditched the car to show us the old town by foot. The cobbled streets of the 400-year-old city and close proximity of most of the historical sights make it a favorite city for walking. Having knowledgeable Francois Vidal, a history buff, of  accompany us on our fantastic walking tour made it better yet. He shared the city’s interesting and complex history as we made our way to the . It was once a farmer’s (Abraham) field and now, it’s a national park and concert venue.

Québec City was fought over by the British, the French and the Americans due to its highly prized location on the St. Lawrence River and access to the Atlantic Ocean, which made it a key place for fur trade to Europe. The fortified wall that protected and still surrounds Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only citadel in existence in North America.

View with Croissant on 23rd floor of Hilton
View with croissant on 23rd floor of Hilton

The next day, Cam and I were on our own and started the day with breakfast at the top of the Hilton in the executive suite—cappuccinos and croissants on the 23rd floor. If you are really hungry, and not interested in the view, try the buffet breakfast in Allegro restaurant.

Starting at the Hilton at the top of the city, on Parliament Hill overlooking Vieille Ville (old town), we walked down to Rue Saint-Jean and shopped at the oldest market on the East coast— (also a B&B). We walked over to the  and since it was a Sunday,(every day in the summer except when it rains) saw the changing of the guard, dressed in traditional red uniforms with tall bear skin hats, leftover from British rule.

The British are trying to find a faux alternative to using bear pelts for the hats as each one requires an entire Canadian black bear’s skin. We then visited the parliament building displaying the Québec coat of arms with three motifs: the fleur de lys (French), maple leaves (Canada) and the lion (Great Britain).

Everyone speaks French in Québec, making it hard to believe that you’re not in Europe, and the French flair of the boutiques and restaurants is irresistible. The streets are safe and there are always outdoor performers. We saw several world-class acrobats, singers and dancers. We were also lucky to see ’s free nightly performance called Les Chemins Invisibles—spectacular!

Raspberry cider in Old Québec
Raspberry cider in Old Québec

In Vieille Ville we strolled and shopped on du Petit- Champlain and settled on  for a lovely September al fresco lunch. I enjoyed the best French onion soup. Cam and I drank a bottle of local rosé cider flavored with strawberries and raspberries. We shared the croque migneron—grilled cheese Québécois style, similar to the traditional croque monsieur but with the strongly flavored local migneron de charlevoix cheese.

We took the ferry across the St. Lawrence River to Levis (20 minute ride, $6.50 round trip) to get a view of the Québec skyline and came back to visit several of the many attractions in , the 400-year-old square in Québec where the trendy restaurants and galleries are, and once the main market place and square where public executions took place! And then the  ($2) back up to Le Chateau Frontenac. After our long day, we went back to the Hilton to enjoy their outdoor/indoor pool and sauna and get ready for dinner!

St. Mathew's Historic Cemetery
St. Matthew’s historic cemetery

From the Hilton, we took the elevator to the parking garage and cut through the very interesting and historic , where thousands of people were buried from 1772-1860! I love old cemeteries, and you can do a self-guided tour of this one with . When we passed through the cemetery, we were at the top of Rue Saint-Jean,, where there is a myriad of quaint restaurants. We chose the cozy and moderately priced  for dinner that night.

I enjoyed their yellow and red beet salad with goat cheese and their extensive wine selection. Cam had the Argentinean skirt steak and a Québécois beer. For dessert, we went right next door to . My chocolate hazelnut gelato was possibly the best thing I have ever tasted! The rest of the evening was spent strolling and people-watching and when our feet ached we went back to the lovely Hilton.

Cam and I did and saw so much in two days, and of course, I can’t wait to go back and experience winter here. But anytime of year, you can’t go wrong with Québec City.

Georgie Jet in The Seminary
Georgie Jet in The Seminary
île d´ Orléans
île d´ Orléans
Cam and Gg at Parliament
Cam and Gg at Parliament
St. Petronille Vineyard
St. Petronille Vineyard
Tourny's Water Fountain
Tourny's Water Fountain
French Fleur de Lys  shop
French Fleur de Lys shop
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Hotel
The Hobbit Bistro
The Hobbit Bistro
Colorful Quebec City
Colorful Quebec City
Place Royale
Place Royale
The Seminary
The Seminary
Highroad Cam in the Hat
Highroad Cam in the Hat
View from the Hilton
View from the Hilton
Québec's Hilton
Québec's Hilton
Old Québec City
Old Québec City
French flair
French flair
View from the Lévis ferry
View from the Lévis ferry
VIew from the top of the Hilton
VIew from the top of the Hilton
Royal 22nd Regiment
Royal 22nd Regiment
Québec's Coat of Arms
Québec's Coat of Arms
J.A. Moisan market on Rue Saint-Jean
J.A. Moisan market on Rue Saint-Jean
Interior of J.A. Moisan market
Interior of J.A. Moisan market
J.A. Moisan market on Rue Saint- Jean
J.A. Moisan market on Rue Saint- Jean
St. Matthew's Historic Cemetery
St. Matthew's Historic Cemetery
At Aviatic club w Paule Bergeron
At Aviatic club w Paule Bergeron
Parliament building and cabbages
Parliament building and cabbages
Map of Vieille Ville Québec
Map of Vieille Ville Québec
Place Royale from above
Place Royale from above
Paillard Bakery cappuccinos
Paillard Bakery cappuccinos
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac from Hilton
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac from Hilton
Place Royal w Georgie Jet
Place Royal w Georgie Jet
Raspberry cider in Old Québec
Raspberry cider in Old Québec
St. Matthew's Cemetery at night
St. Matthew's Cemetery at night
View with croissant on 23rd floor
View with croissant on 23rd floor
Cam-Aux-Diamantis!
Cam-Aux-Diamantis!

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Georgie Jet

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