Quebec

Upon first seeing Old Quebec, we saw the castle shaped towers. The entrance itself felt like we were entering a fairy tale world. Walking along the cobbled floor and seeing stone houses and castle shaped hotels all felt like we are exploring a magic kingdom.

Quebec City although is French dominant, you can see glimpses of European culture. A mixture of present and past interwoven. The fortified walls around  Old Quebec and Plains of Abraham all felt like we are walking along the battle field. All this easily explains why Quebec is recognised as the National Historic Site to be enjoyed mostly on foot.

The whole of Quebec felt like a scenes from a postcard. One which I was seeing and experiencing with my very own eyes. Personally I do feel it is also a romantic destination, definitely a must visit.

In order to fully understand Quebec’s charm, you have to visit it. There is always a dilemma of which place to visit between Quebec and Montreal. If you ask me Quebec is hands down my favourite destination in Canada. But if you ask me to pick between Montreal and Quebec, I would be confused. Montreal is known for its festivals and Quebec is known for its narrow charming lanes. For me personally both had its own unique charm which drew me to them.

TRAVELING AROUND QUEBEC

Since we were traveling from Montreal we decided to take the Orleans Express bus. It took us roughly 3 hours to get from Montreal to Quebec. We didn’t have any issues with the booking. The buses ran on time, were clean and comfortable. They do have free WiFi’s but we never used it as we had the local sim. I would recommend arriving at least an hour early to avoid missing the bus. Personally we didn’t face any issues but we later read people complaining about the service given.

There are also train, plane and car option to travel between Montreal and Quebec. We found the bus option ideal for our itinerary. We had chosen the evening buses both to and from Montreal. This way we got the whole day to explore the place.

RTC is the transit system used in Quebec. We had mostly used the bus option during our visit with the day pass during our travel. The pass is valid on unlimited transportation on all RTC route and is valid for 24 hours or until 4 a.m. the next calendar day, whichever comes first. We had taken the Occasional card and we kept topping it up. The other options available are Monthly pass, Metropolitan pass, 5 consecutive day pass, unlimited weekend pass and individual trip fare. 

WHERE WE STAYED IN QUEBEC

We stayed for 2 nights at Hotel Classique. The hotel is located at the highway and close to good restaurants and shopping malls. It is not in the city but had good bus connections to the city. 

The rooms were clean, spacious and even had a balcony to enjoy in the evenings. We were also happy with the amenities provided. We had chosen the breakfast option and didn’t have any complaints. 

The friendly staff would always answer all our queries with a smiling face. We had done our booking directly through their website and didn’t face any issued with the booking as well. I would recommend staying here.

THINGS TO DO IN QUEBEC

A city which is filled with historic sites each within walkable distance from each other. Every place leaves you wanting to see more, not realising how the day has passed. Below are some of the things which we enjoyed during our stay. There are still more places to see but we could only did these in our two days visit. 

FORTIFICATIONS OF QUEBEC 

The wall runs on the eastern extremity of the Promontory of Quebec which surrounds most of Old Quebec and was declared National Historic Site in 1948.

Imagine walking along a path where you can see the history of the defence system. When you come from the busy city, this is truly another world. The surrounding area of the old town is close to 4.6 km in length. We enjoyed walking along the walls and took in the beauty of the place. The only thing missing in the view was knights walking with swords on a horseback.

PLACE – ROYALE

This place felt like you are walking in the midst of another fairy tale chapter. The square is filled with stone buildings and roads paved in cobbled stones. You can see some of the buildings having plaques which shared the names of the original families which lived there.

The place is also filled with many shops and restaurants. We were also lucky to enjoy musician playing their instruments. There is plenty of place to sit should you want to rest and enjoy the place more.

NOTRE DAME VICTORIES

A small Roman Catholic stone church which we came across while walking along Place Royale. The church’s construction was completed in 1723 and is the oldest one in North America. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988.

Even now the Cathedral is very well maintained and portrays very nice display to the history of the place. This was not in our itinerary initially but it looked so pretty from out that we had to check out it. We surely weren’t disappointed adding this. 

ST. LAWRENCE RIVER

It is a large river which connects the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. It traverses the Canadian border of Quebec and Ontario and is part of the international boundary between Ontario and New York. It is said many battles were fought in and around this river.

You can also enjoy a boat ride here. We didn’t do the ride but I would recommend it as it looks very pretty.

PARLIAMENT BUILDING

An eight floor building which is home to the Parliament of Quebec. It is said to have a unique style as compared to the other Canadian Provisional capitals. 

Throughout the building there are many sculptures. There is said to be 22 statues of the major people of the province’s history and others on the building’s ground.

There is also a well maintained garden which was blossoming with summer flowers. 

STATUE OF SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN 

A French colonist, navigator, draftsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat and chronicler. On 3rd July 1608 between his 21 and 29 trip across Atlantic Ocean he founded Quebec and New France. There is a very interesting story on how there was a conspiracy to kill him. The statue cannot be missed as the place is always filled with performances. His statue is very popular among tourists and also very difficult to click a photo alone.

UNESCO MOUNUMENT

Quebec was the first city to earn the Historic District in 1985 by the UNESCO. This monument is there to mark that. The main criteria for earning this was its built, culture and historical heritage. 

It is opposite the Fairmont Le Chateau Hotel and is usually another popular spot for tourist to click photos. 

CLOCK FROM JURA

On Quebec’s 400th anniversary this was received from Switzerland to Quebec as a gift which was built by Richard Mille. It is said to have taken six years to build and is kept inside a glass enclosure but you can see all the gears and movements. 

SCULPTURES

Throughout Quebec City we came across many monuments. Each very nicely placed throughout the town with its very own stories to tell its visitors. 

I actually loved many of the sculptures. We tried to check it on the net but found very little information. 

TOURNY FOUNTAIN

While exploring the Parliament building we came across this fountain. It was donated by the Simon family during the 400th anniversary of the City of Quebec. There are fish sculptures along with other creatures in between the fountain. In mid-18th century it was on the Tourny Street in Bordeaux which is where it gets its name from. 

We saw it in broad daylight, but it is said to look really pretty at night also. 

OLD PORT

The calmness that the place offers is one of the things which I loved. Quebec City is beautiful and old port was no different. We just sat there and enjoyed the whole view. We had seen Montreal’s  old port and loved it which is why we decided to check out Quebec port.

In the 19th century it played a major role in the development of the town. Now however it is said to be replaced with cruises as compared to the former freight.

WENDAKE

It is the only Huron-Wendat community in Canada. The museum was filled with its vibrant culture and mementos. 

There were guided tours which showed us the various exhibits and explained the stories behind it. The guides were very enthusiastic to share their stories and were also very informative. The place has their traditional huts, exhibit explaining their cooking techniques, their medicine rooms and many more. There was also a performance shows on where they danced to the Gods. 

We went early morning and ended up spending couple of hours in here. I would recommend visiting the place. 

FAIRMONT LE CHATEAU FRONTENAC

A historic hotel in Quebec City which is a National Historic Site of Canada since 1981. The hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railways. 

We had seen one in Banff, one in Montreal so seeing one in Quebec was a given. It is very centrally located in Old Quebec and forms a perfect picture of the place. We didn’t stay here and explored it from out. 

OLD QUEBEC

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. 

There is an upper town and a lower town. Upper town has remained the city’s military and administrative centre. The area has several streets to explore along with hotels. 

Lower Town on the other hand is a historic district. Enjoying the narrow streets of Petit- Champlain road at the foot to reaching the top to enjoy the marvellous view of the city. 

We loved exploring the whole place on foot. The place was busy and bustling with people. The houses were of bold European architecture along with shops. I personally loved the whole place. 

Since I saw it in the summer everything was beautiful. I do feel it would look equally pretty in the winter. 

DUFFERIN TERRACE

This was built by Champlain in 1620 where he later died in 1635.  It is also a place where his successor built a castle for the New France governors to stay. Later though the castle was destroyed in fire.

This Terrance was later enlarged and renovated and named after Lord Dufferin. It provides magnificent views of the river and its surrounding of the Lower Tower and Place- Royale.

NOTRE-DAME BASILICA OF QUEBEC

Having built in 1647, the cathedral has since then been expanded, bombarded, burnt and rebuilt. It is the resting place of four governors of New France and the bishops of the Quebec City. 

The details of the work of the Cathedral was amazing and worth the visit. The gold crown hanging over the altar was eye catching.  The interior was white and gold decorative with the ceiling having sky effect paints, surely did feel like heaven. 

CITADEL

It is also called “the Gibraltar of America’ and representing 300 year old history in a star shaped Vaughan fortifications. Another National Historic site. Do enjoy the changing of the guard in the summer. We saw it during the day but there are also night tours to enjoy during summer and fall. There is an admission fees to fully enjoy the place. 

QUARTIER PETIT CHAMPLAIN

Located near Place Royale and Notre Dame Des Victories Church, it is one of the busiest place in Quebec. The breakneck steps is one of the oldest stairway built in 1635. 

It is a nice shopping place, which is also having some nice local restaurants to try out. We loved walking along the streets and clicking random photos.

It is said to look really nice during Christmas but even during our visit we found the place to be very colourful and full of life. 

CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY TRINITY

This is the first Anglican cathedral to be built outside British Isles built in 1804. Another National Historic Site of Canada. A beautiful interior with interesting art work. I personally feel it should not be compared to other churches. It has its own unique charm to it. 

SAINT-LOUIS FORTS AND CHATEAU NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

Here is another National Historic Site. A unique archaeological site which is hidden under the Dufferin Terrace. For more than 200 years it is the official residence and seat of power of the French and British governors. 

PLAINS OF ABRAHAM

A historic site which is very close to the Battlefield Park. It was used for housing, grazing and for small industrial structures. Later it went on to be used as the National Battlefields Commission. Today though you see the park used for outdoor activities, relaxation, for sports and relaxation. 

I personally loved the view, since we were walking along the trails we had fun being surrounded by nature. 

THE BATTLEFIELD PARK

An urban Canadian park lying in the Plains of Abraham. It is used for walking trails and sometimes used for outdoor concerts and national festivals.  It is said to have 50 historical artillery pieces scattered around the ground. 

I loved walking here, we had started the walk from Parliament Building and did Plains of Abraham and then did the Battlefield Park. In the summer there is always so many people and so much happening. There is never a dull moment here. 

PLACE D’ YOUVILLE

A public square which is in the core of Quebec City. It is one of the oldest road named after a French Canadian widow who founded the religious order known as the Grey Nuns of Montreal. A nice place to hang out in the summer and in winter it is said to have nice skating area. 

MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION

Situated in Old Quebec near the Saint Lawrence River. We didn’t see it from inside but the outside was really very interesting. The entrance to the museum was really very creative and eye catching.

CITY HALL

Built in a hill in the heart of Quebec City you will find the City Hall. Another National Historic Site since 1984. Surrounded by beautiful sculptures all around adds onto the beauty of the place.  The square has a nice seating place and fountains/splash pads for kids to enjoy. 

OUR ITINERARY IN QUEBEC

Day 1

Hotel, Place D’Youville, Fortification of Quebec, Clock of Jura, Information Desk, UNESCO Monument, Statue of Samuel De Champlain, Notre Dame De Quebec Basilica Cathedral, City hall,Old Port, Museum of Civilisation, Place Royale, Notre Dame Des Victories Church,  Quartier Petit Champlain, St Lawrence River, Saint Louis Forts & National Historic, Terrace Dufferin, Fairmont  Le Chateau Frontenac, Cathedral Holy Trinity, Old Quebec for shopping.

Travelling tip (Note: Check the map below to follow my walking path)

Map courtesy Quebec Tourism
  • From our hotel we took we took bus no 800/801 and got off at Place D’Youville.
  • We walked around Place D’Youville  and reached Fortification of Quebec.
  • we made our way to Information desk (question mark on the map)
  • While walking to information desk we crossed Clock o Jura, UNESCO Monument, Statue of Samuel De Champlain.
  • Headed to Notre Dame De Quebec Basilica Cathedral (no.6 on map)
  • Then made our way to Old Port (no.21 on map). Along the way also saw City hall.
  • Also passed Museum of Civilisation (no. 22 on map)
  • Then we walked to Place Royale (near no.24 on map).
  • Headed to Notre Dame Des Victories Church (no. 24 on map)
  • We went then to explore Quartier Petit Champlain.
  • During our walk we also came across St Lawrence River.
  • Made our way to Saint Louis Forts & National Historic (no.2 on map).
  • We then headed to Terrace Dufferin (near no.3 on map).
  • We also came across Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac on the way (near no.3 on map)
  • walked to see Cathedral Holy Trinity (no.5 on map).
  • We ended our day spending time in Old Quebec, checking out the local shops and restaurants.
  • We took Bus no. 800,801 (got off at J-Dallaire) to our hotel. There are other buses also but we preferred the direct bus.

Day 2

Wendake, Tourny Fountain, Parliament Building, Citadel, Plains of Abraham, Battlefield Park, and Old Quebec.

Travelling tip

  • From hotel we took Bus no.804 and got off at Racine/4148 to reach Wendake Museum. There is a 14 mins walk (1.1 km) to reach the museum.
  • To get to Parliament Building either take Bus no. 72 (get off at T.Charlesbourg) and then Bus no. 801 to Place D’Youville. Or take Bus no. 70/75 (get off at Ste-Foy) and then take Bus no. 807 to Place D’Youville. Then walk to Parliament Building
  • From Parliament Building you will also saw the Tourny Fountain.
  • Then we walked to Citadel (see map below no.12)
  • Headed to Plains of Abraham ( see map below no.15)
  • In the same path we also saw Battlefield Park (see map below)
  • From here we walked to Old Quebec and decided to do souvenir shopping.
  • Later we took bus back (no.800/801 like day 1) and picked up our bags.
  • From Hotel we took Bus no. 76 and got off at De Rochelle. Here we took our Orlean Express bus to Montreal. 
Map courtesy Quebec Tourism

THINGS TO NOTE IN QUEBEC

  • I would recommend first visiting the Information desk to get the map. If you don’t speak French it would really be helpful to have one while traveling.
  • Quebec is a walking city. Be prepared for lots of walking if you really want to enjoy the place. 
  • Tipping is customary in restaurants, bars and taxis. 
  • Check the bus timings before traveling as it might differ from the ones I have mentioned. Plan ahead.
  • While visiting the Wendake we had used the public transport. We did struggle in finding the place. But direction is available, follow it and should be fine. 
  • Wendake Museum have their own shuttle buses also at various pick up places. Check the website as this keeps changing. You have to pre book as well at avail the service. 
  • There are lots of tour companies, if you want to avoid walking I would recommend them. Quebec has a lot to things where you need to walk so bus can be less tiresome. 
  • My walking direction in the itinerary can be altered as per your preference.
  • Quebec has two taxes, GST and Quebec Sales tax. An additional charge is also put on rooms in Quebec. Since we were staying in Canada we were aware of this. Many tourists find this as a shock when their prices increase. 
  • Quebec is an expensive place for tourists. You have to plan ahead before traveling.