Quebec City and Surrounding Area

Trip Start Nov 14, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mary's Impressions:
Jeff and I couldn't come to Québec without visiting La Belle Ville de Québec. Every time I come here, I know that I will have an enjoyable stay with its share of lovely streets, laneways, restaurants, art galleries and the Château Frontenac peering off in the distance.  It had been many years since Jeff and I were here together (about 10 yrs ago when we came to ski at Mont Ste. Anne).  I’ve visited the city more recently as I was fortunate enough to work for a company who had businesses located in Quebec City (bonus!!).

I have a lot of fond memories of Quebec City.  My first introduction to the city was when I was studying at Trois Pistoles and my class made a trip to the city.  I was in search and found the album from Harmonium that had the song "Pour un Instant" (it was the song that helped me fall in love with French-Canadian culture).  Coming back to a place that you know and love is like coming back home in a way.  You’re comfortable with where things are so that you can pick up where you left off.  As much as you think you know a place, there are still new things to see and experience.  In addition to visiting some of our favourite spots within Quebec City, Jeff and I wanted to visit the area around Quebec City.

Our first stop was the Montmorency Falls just outside of the city.  I have only been to see these Falls in the winter when a colleague took me here at night to dine in the restaurant and show me the sights.  My impression of the Falls was a bit sketchy at the time since it was winter and I wasn’t too keen to stay out too long gazing at the Falls while dealing with the cold Quebec blistery night (yes I am a suck when it comes to the cold).  This time around, I was properly dressed and the sun was out warming the day.  I didn’t realize that the Montmorency Falls are higher than Niagara Falls (30 meters/98 Feet).  They are the highest falls in Quebec at 84 meters (275 feet) high and 45.7 meters wide (150 feet).  Watching the water pour over the land and rock, I was a bit terrified not to venture too close to the waters - powerful, imposing and yet beautiful.  We walked across the suspension bridge that crosses the falls (not my favourite part) and walked to the other side of the falls where I descended the 480 steps to reach the bottom of the falls (yes I did walk back up the steps!!).  If there’s something to walk and climb – I’m there!!  I preferred viewing the Falls from the bottom but at a safe distance.  We found out that during the winter, an ice cone sometimes forms at the bottom of the Falls.  People have come here over the years to toboggan, snow shoe and partake in the views of the iced cone.  More motivation for me to come back during winter – perhaps?

From Montmorency Falls, we drove across the bridge to Île d'Orléans.  I have heard many people tell me how quaint this island is with its collection of small communities of organic farmers, artists and artisans.  Unfortunately our timing for our visit was not great as most places were “Fermé”.  Things had shut down for the season to be reopened again in May 2013 (Tant pis pour nous!).  Our drive throughout the island was gorgeous though – the rural pastoral landscape contrasted by the Laurentian mountains on one side and the Saint Lawrence – stunning!

We also made a stop at Sainte-Anne-de Beaupré to visit the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.  The church was originally built by sailors who were shipwrecked as they made their way to Quebec City.  Sainte Anne is the patron saint of sailors.  Many pilgrims have come to this spectacular church to pray for guidance from Sainte Anne and in search of miracles.  The pillars in the front entrance of the church are covered with crutches and other items from people who claim their prayers to Sainte Anne helped to miraculously cure them.  I love being in a church as it gives me a time for some quiet reflection.  It was a joy to see a church so beautifully decorated in Canada after visiting all the intricately designed churches we saw in Europe.  Lots of love and devotion went into building this church.

In the evening, Jeff and I headed back to Quebec City to sample some of the divine dishes this city is so well known for.  We found a small restaurant in Vieux Québec, on the lower level of the city not too far from Château Frontenac.  It was a perfect way to end our stay in Quebec.  Jeff had the Osso Bucco (the meat was falling off the bone – just perfect!).  I had the rabbit in a cream sauce – very tasty.  We topped it off with a Côte-du Rhone – a reminder of our time in France.  Nous serons de retour de nouveau - jusqu'à la prochaine fois.

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