North America Part 2: Quebec City

How tasty does this smoked meat look? It was as delicious as you imagine and was one of the defining moments of my few days in Quebec City!

The drive there was strange in that there was the most amazing scenery on the stateside leg – forests, lakes, empty roads, blue skies, fluffy clouds, yes all very awe inspiring. Then we crossed into Canada and strangely it seemed to be very flat! Anyway, after a five hour drive we arrived in the walled city.

I haven’t been to France very much, but my fiancé has, and he remarked that Quebec City reminded him of an Alpine town. We stayed in the Old Town and it was beautiful and quaint, and it really did feel like we were back in Europe! I travelled to Canada, from Europe, to feel like I’m in Europe. But seriously, it’s a lovely and compact place and one of the most charming and unusual things about Quebec City is that its old town is elevated and the rest of the city is on lower ground. The two areas of the city are connected by a series of long staircases dotted around; walk down one and spend some time in the Lower Town, and walk back up a different staircase to emerge somewhere back in the Old Town.

Here is my Quebec City mind map to give you an idea of my impressions:

Quebec City in a nutshell:

Charming. The boardwalk outside the famous Chateau Frontenac hotel, the city’s fortifications and the solid stone architecture make for a sense of grandeur throughout the Old Town.

Urban typography and quirks. There are beautiful fonts, quirks of words and symbols everywhere. Signs that people have created to communicate something in their own unique way.

Half numbers can be found on houses everywhere.
Half numbers can be found on houses everywhere.
Art Deco style typography.
Art Deco style typography.

There’s always something around the corner. I found Quebec City a stumble upon kind of place. The things you stumble upon aren’t necessarily game changers but they’re just little signs of character and are usually something modern nestled amongst a great deal of history.

Found a huge and colourful mural on a meantime walk.
Found a huge and colourful mural on a meantime walk.
The Musee de la Civilisation is wonderful inside.
The Musee de la Civilisation is wonderful inside but you wouldn’t know how modern it is from the outside.
We happened upon an ice cream shop which gives you Mr Whippy style ice cream and then they go ahead and dip the whole thing in melted chocolate. The melted chocolate cools so that you can bite away at it to get at the ice cream. Suffice it to say that every town in the world should have one of these ice cream shops.
We happened upon an ice cream shop which gives you Mr Whippy style ice cream and then they go ahead and dip the whole thing in melted chocolate. The melted chocolate cools so that you can bite away at it to get at the ice cream. Suffice it to say that every town in the world should have one of these ice cream shops.

The best things about Quebec City are that it’s very beautiful and quaint, and easy enough to explore on foot. It’s a very proud city; it bears its history defiantly and there’s a lot about Quebec City that is quite imposing in some ways – its fortifications are still a working military site, the Chateau Frontenac hotel is enormous and the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It balances this out well with a kind of sweet local charm though, and I found that everything we did or tried in Quebec City was great quality – the food is delicious (we tried lots of French cuisine), the shops and cafes are lovely and the city is clearly well looked after, it’s so clean and feels really safe. What I would say is that a couple of days in Quebec City was enough for me, and I didn’t feel a great sense of cosmopolitanism or vitality during my time there. It might just be because we stopped by during spring rather than summer because apparently Quebec City teems with people in the summer months. For me, it was a romantic, quietly-paced kind of city. Luckily if it’s cosmopolitanism you’re after then look no further than my next stop, Montreal!

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