Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: Population = 540,994 (metro area = 806,400), elevation = 322 feet, average January low temp = 9, Average July high temp = 77, average sunny days = 159, annual snowfall = 124.4”, annual rainfall = 35.39”
Crossing over into Canada, we are not sure what to expect. On the way to Niagara Falls, we passed through a small section of Canada, but that was English-speaking and not a big deal. Now we are crossing into French-speaking Canada so we are concerned about road signs, speaking to people, and GPS. Forget asking Siri where someplace is when the name is six words long with dashes and abbreviations and odd diacritical markings in the spelling. But that is in theory anyway, since we are in airplane mode to avoid the charges Verizon Mall Guy said we don’t have and Verizon Inc. says we do.
Gypsy’s GPS works fine and we find our place in Levis. Levis is, I guess, a suburb of Quebec City. It is directly across the St. Lawrence River from the Old City part of Quebec. Right outside our door is a boardwalk that is very popular with the walkers, bicyclists, and rollerbladers. About a quarter mile downriver, along the boardwalk, is the ferry across the river. And a brewpub. On our first night there, we are treated to a fireworks show, part of a month-long competition.
Quebec City is very old for an American city. It was established in 1608 by the French explorer, Samuel Champlain and is the only walled city North of Mexico. To us, it looks like a European city with the cobblestones, the steep, narrow streets, the massive ornate cathedrals. We have a list of “must see” places and a map.
This is a river city, so it is not an easy hike to explore it. The ferry drops us at the edge of a nice little ledge of flat land along the river, populated with quaint shops and restaurants. A short uphill hike takes us to the funicular for a ride up the cliff to the Terrasse Dufferin, a wide boardwalk speckled with souvenir stands, eats, and drinks. Great ice cream too. Again, this looks very much like a European city, with strolling locals and tourists aiming cameras at everything and one another.
Towering over the Terrasse, is the iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. This massive hotel first opened in 1893 and was later expanded and the central tower added. It now has over 600 rooms on 18 floors.
From the Terrasse, we start our hike into the Old City. It is hilly, the streets are narrow, and the street signs seem to hide from the bewildered tourists. We are cathedral fans so we seek out the tall spires. Here is the Cathedral-Basilica Notre-Dame De Quebec. The cathedral was first located here in 1647, was destroyed by a siege in 1759, and then burnt down and restored twice. We got lucky in our timing in that their Holy Door, which they claim is the only one in the Americas, was open to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy.
Our hike continues through the hilly, winding streets. Here is a nice little sidewalk cafe were we can rest up and enjoy a beer. Here is a grand old building, stately in carved stone. Here is an extravagant fountain, gurgling streams over whimsical figures.
Again, we find we are lucky with our timing. This weekend is a Beer Festival. Down by the river there are two huge tents set up, full of brewers and food vendors. Between the tents are more vendors, a band, and a big lawn with lots of seating. We sample way too many beers, ending with what was probably our favorite meal while in Quebec: Unibroue beers and roast pork poutine.
But enough of that day. More Quebec coming up next.