Pretrip Starts in Quebec City, Quebec
We are beginning the pre-trip part of our Canadian Maritime Provinces Tour with Grand Circle Travel. As usual, we arrived in the origin city a day ahead. In this case it is Quebec City. We are staying at the Clarendon Hotel which is perfectly located in the center of historic “Old Town” In the morning, after just happening to wander into the oldest restaurant in town to have breakfast, we took a tour through the famous Chateau Frontenac Hotel. The tour began below the hotel on a wide boardwalk called the Terrasse Dufferin. We had bought our tickets while at home for this hour-long tour guided by a fellow in period clothing from the late 17th century. As we went through parts of the old hotel we learned a bit of its history. Some claim that it is the most photographed hotel in the world. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the old town. After a ride down a funicular we walked through the lower section of the city and to a ship dock where a couple of cruise ships were located. We had some lunch at an outside cafe where we enjoyed resting and people watching. Somehow rather than riding the funicular back up the hill, we ended walking the whole way to the top, taking our time on long flights of stairs and windy sidewalks. Diner was next at another outdoor cafe. The weather was really very delightful.
The morning of Monday, July 30, we met the twenty people on our pre-trip and our guide, Anne Matheson. We embarked on a half day city tour with Marie, a local guide. Quebec is a city rich with history dating back to the early colonial period. The drive took us to and through some lovely areas outside the central city and to the Plains of Abraham - the famous battlefield of the French and Indian War. Quebec is located on the narrowest part of the St. Lawrence River and the daily tide fluctuation here is about 15 feet, twice a day. We stopped in the lower part of town where Samuel de Champlain created the first French settlement in North America in 1608. The area is called Place Royals. This is also where ships dock, even today, although now they are often large cruise ships. There we saw samples of the three kinds of roofs used in the past: cedar (too volatile), slate (too heavy), and tin, just right. Most are now made only of tin. In winter they have lots of snow from about November until April, but the streets are efficiently cleared during the night. The temperatures get down to -40 degrees. Yikes! We spent the afternoon doing some wandering around and getting a little rest before our group met for a “Welcome” dinner at a restaurant up the street.
Tuesday we took an extra trip our guide planned for us. The first stop was at the Copper Gallery and workshop of Albert Gilles. We learned about the beautiful work the family members do, and then we had a chance to try our hand using the tools and making a small piece of copper artwork. My elephant actually turned out quite well. The second stop was at the Basilica of St. Anne de Beaupre, which was finished in the 1930s. The third stop was out on the Ile d’Orleans, in the St. Lawrence River. The large island is the garden and agricultural area for Quebec and is 5 miles wide and 18 miles long. We stopped for lunch at a place that made delicious chocolate. From there we stopped at a winery to sample five kinds of wines they make on site from their own fruit: pears, apples and grapes, including ice wine from frozen apples which are left on the trees until it is 40 degrees below. Delicious. Back to the mainland, the last stop was at the famous Montmorency Falls. They are 1.5 times higher than Niagara Falls, but not nearly as wide. They are still impressive and we were able to walk out onto a pedestrian bridge to see them up close and personal. It was a great day’s outing.
After dinner at a popular restaurant and some gelato, it was time to turn in and get ready for our departure in the morning.
In the morning we will drive to Montreal for two nights. It has been a delightful stay in Quebec City.
Grace and Paul
Grace and Paul Pitzer are retired school teachers who love to travel and share their stories and photos with others.
Grace and Paul Pitzer
We hope you will keep checking back regularly to see what is new. I'm always out and about with some camera and love to stretch my skills and add to my volume of work.
Motto: "Pack light and take lots of pictures."