Set high above the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City started as a fur trading port early in the 1600′s. Today, it has to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities. At least we would vote it one of the top places we have visited. After a quiet week in rural Lac St. Jean we were ready for civilization, and maybe some good French cooking. Once again we found an RV park well outside the City limits. Unlike in Montreal, the campground didn’t offer a shuttle, but we were near the Aquarium where we could park and catch a bus into the heart of the city anytime we wanted.
The Quebec City had so much history to soak up: architectural, military, economic and religious. There were museums, churches and galleries galore. Something for everyone. We loved Lower Town, a neighborhood in Old Quebec consisting of narrow, pedestrian only, cobblestoned streets, lined with shops and cafes. Here we also explored the old port as well as Place Royale, a small square of 18th century homes that used to belong to wealthy merchants. Looking up, Le Chateau Frontenac, the famous hotel with its many turrets and gables, dominated the landscape. Hubby remembered staying there with his parents when he was younger. Of course, what he remembered most were the French maids dressed in those stereotypical little black dresses, white aprons and small caps. He was 13, what can I say?
To get to the Upper Town we could climb “Breakneck Stairs” or take the Funicular. We opted for the stairs since the small, packed cars of the Funicular didn’t appeal to my mild claustrophobia. Once up there we strolled along the promenade, Terrasse Duferin, enjoying the views of the river, the street performers in Governor’s Park and the people watching. The Citadel, a fort built to protect the harbor, is the City’s highest point, consists of 25 buildings and is still used today. It offered spectacular views of the city, the St. Lawerence and beyond. Hubby and I kept trying to figure out how the French got defeated here by the British in the War of 1812. It seemed if you commanded this high ground it would be tough for someone to sneak up on you.
We stopped for drinks at side walk cafes and had several great meals. A lunch of cod in lemon butter and some mussels and frites at Restaurant Gambrinus was memorable, as was a fine dinner at Marie Clarisse, a well recommended (best in Quebec according to the tour book) seafood restaurant. Quebec City was a feast for the stomach, as well as a feast for the eyes. There is not room for all the photos. All we could say was Vive Quebec City. We’ll be back.