I recently had the good fortune to go on a cruise which started out with 3 days in Quebec, Canada. It was gorgeous, especially this time of year, quirky – see the runaway clown – and enchanting. How’s that for a bit of hyperbole? Actually, words don’t really suffice so I’ll share a few of my favorite photos.
What the heck ?! On our first day in Quebec, we were strolling around the city and stumbled onto this! It looks like a rogue hot air balloon . . . maybe it was running away to the circus? Or could it be a weird art installation? Are there any Quebecois (not a typo) out there who can shed some light on this?
Quebec is a walled city and the ramparts are something to see. You can take guided tours along the top of these walls and enjoy beautiful views, while learning about Quebec’s history and why the ramparts were necessary in the first place. We were thrilled to discover the front door of our hotel opened onto this view of the main gate.
Speaking of our accommodations, we stayed at the Hotel Manoir de’Esplanade. It was in the heart of Old Quebec City, and everything we wanted to see was within walking distance.
This picturesque stone house was built in 1845, and with age-old windows, rustic fireplaces and original brick walls in some of the rooms, it’s a charmer. Creaky stairs wind up to the second and third floors, and for the most part, it’s done in period decor. Oddly, our friend’s room was somewhat “home shopping network” but still cozy and comfortable. I’d definitely recommend the Manoir de’ Esplanade as a place to stay.
A good time to visit Quebec is in early October when the leaves are just beginning to turn. I took lots of pictures, but need a better camera to really do them justice.
This Hogwarts lookalike is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. It’s a spectacular hotel with views of the Saint Lawrence River. We did not stay here as it was out of our price range, but we did enjoy a brunch buffet in the hotel’s Champlain restaurant.
Now I’ve been known to eat Kraft Mac and Cheese for dinner, so don’t really qualify as a food critic, but this buffet was divine! This is another thing I loved about Quebec, great restaurants wherever you went.
Another interesting place to wander is the Rue Saint-Jean. We stepped into the J.A. Moisan Epiciere which was an old-world grocery store and deli. This store dates back to 1871 and carries a great selection of Quebec-made cheeses, maple syrup concoctions, salads, and deli products. This would be an excellent place to stock up for a picnic. As you can see the employees were cute and fun too.
Another wonderful stop on Rue Saint-Jean is the Erico Chocolate Patisserie. This little shop featured a bakery, a handmade chocolate counter and a museum that tells about the history of chocolate. There is also a glass window area where you can watch candy makers in action. But the creme de la creme was the hot chocolate. They offer several different kinds and I can’t remember what I ordered, but it was smothered in whipped cream and tasted heavenly. See those little windows on each side of the door? There’s a window seat in one on the left where we sat sipping our cocoa and watching the world go by.
So, let’s see if I can sum up Quebec in 30 seconds or less. With restaurants galore, it’s a fun place for foodies. It’s a haven for history buffs (we found a tree with a cannonball lodged in the roots), and the scenery is spectacular especially in the fall. There are lots of fun tours available but it’s also very walkable if you just want to do your own thing. All in all, I loved Quebec and wished we could have stayed longer.
One final note – my friend Debbie and I acquired a couple of stalkers along the way.
Beware – Fronc and Lucky Pierre may still be out there!