During our visit to Quebec, we drove down to Quebec City for the evening. We spent our time exploring and eating within “Old Quebec”, the oldest part of the town, featuring architecture from hundreds of years ago. The exterior of such buildings have been restored and many of the interiors renovated into more modern places of business. Thus making it a great destination for tourists to come, soak in some history, and to shop for souvenirs to their heart’s content.
The drive to was a lengthy one, and unfortunately Quebec’s landscape is a flattened one. Where as we have water ways and mountain highs to appreciate when we travel within our province of BC, Quebec has farm lands as far as the eye can see. Therefore this does become quite the tiring drive, luckily our trusty 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, for the week provided us with an easy and comfortable ride.
My partner was worried about the drive within the large city and the aggressiveness of the drivers, who cut you off every chance you get. Luckily the eclipse cross has plenty of safety features to help you battle the above. This includes very clear view of the rear, thanks to the mirror magnifying the segmented back windshield.
But once you get into the city there is so much to see. You can literally behold the history of the city with ivy lined brick buildings, chipped away stone facades, and colonial style roof tops. This all comes with being North America’s oldest city, founded in 1608. The original French settlers brought with them an architectural style similar to what they were familiar with in Europe. This architecture is what really sets the French Canadian city apart from all the other much younger cities across Canada.
In fact, in 1985 Quebec City was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is the only remaining fortified city north of Mexico, a fort equipped with antique cannons defending its shores. Both are artifacts and memories of a battle to defend the land long ago. They currently make for a great photo op.
But certainly the focal point of the city, and the most photographed hotel in the world is the Fairmont Frontenac. The Château Frontenac is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels, located in Quebec City, Quebec. It is a prominent feature in the skyline of Quebec City, overlooking the water with more than 600 rooms across 18 floors. My wish would be to return, and stay for the night… one day.
The area referred to as “Old Quebec” is separated into two different levels. The stone gateway is at the upper. And in order to reach the lower half, you can either take the walk down, or ride the tram down. We opted for the latter, only to deem it the most expensive elevator ride we have ever been on. $3 per person, per ride (up or down). In a glass box you watch the the horizon shrink or grow as you ascend or descent. We would take it down and scale up stairs later to get back up.
The streets are like those of a European Village. Cobble stone roads, windows with colourful shutters and flower boxes, and lights strung over head from one side of the narrow lane way to the other. If our streets in Vancouver looked more like this, you would see me walking for the sake of enjoying them more.
The following are a few of the decorative sights I took note of.
Strung up lights.
And art installations.
We stopped at “Lapin Sauté” for dinner. It’s exterior caught my eye, as well as the prospect of dining at a rabbit themed restaurant. The patio shared a courtyard with a few other restaurants. This scene included over reaching tree branches and paper lanterns hanging over head. All this and a warm night made for a romantic dinner session. It is just a shame that the food didn’t live up to it.
They are famous for their cassoulets, so I had to try their braised rabbit leg, with duck sausages and bacon. All their rabbit comes from Quebec, it is naturally farmed without antibiotics, hormones, animal meal, or fat. I didn’t like it, I found it a dull meal to pick at. The rabbit leg was tough, the beans grainy, and the dish overall didn’t have enough interest to it. The spices in the sausage was the only element satisfying in flavour, yet there wasn’t enough of it to pair all that rabbit meat with.
Although disappointing, it was still better than the pork chops marinated in herbs with maple and soy sauce. This was the driest pork chop I have ever had, at any restaurant. So bad that my partner agreed that we ought to send it back, instead of suffering through it. And we did.
I should of had the rabbit poutine or the rabbit pot pie. Maybe even the warm rabbit liver and kidney salad. We were thinking about ending our meal with their maple syrup crepe brûlée, but after not enjoying your two entrees all that much, we rather not chance any more disappointment.
Still hungry we continued to roam the city looking for another, more convenient place to finish our dinner at. We did so as the sun set and the sky turned shades of coral and pinks before black replaced blue in the sky.
Here we were able to enjoy the city in a different way. I liked how the city lit up and glowed with flickering bulbs.
We ended up at “Sapristi Bistro Bar” to continue our meal. We were once again able to enjoy the warm night, on their backyard patio. A section between two brick buildings, decorated with potted plants and strung up with patio lights.
The margarita pizza was disappointing in size. This sad looking single serving was actually the “large” at $14. This wasn’t enough food for two, but luckily I ordered enough wine to fill me up.
And thus ended our night in Old Quebec. We took in most of the sights and enjoyed the city in its splendour. And now with all the traffic dispersed, we were free to drive back home, in our 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
The recap of our travel will conclude in the next travel blog on Thetford Mines.