Now that it’s winter, let’s jump back to 5 months ago when it was still summer and we were in Quebec.
We spent four days exploring the historic streets of Quebec City at the end of July. It was probably a sufficient amount of time to visit most of the key spots on our list, although we would have loved to stay longer and savour its unique flair, historic roots, and bountiful culinary offerings.
We put together a bit of a ‘Breno & Mel style guide to Quebec City’ (a list of everything we would love to experience over again because they were so enchanting). Here it is:
Visit J.A. Moisan, the oldest grocery store in North America. The prices are cheaper than you’d think, and the selection is unbelievable. Pick yourself out some nice Quebec cheese, some smoked meat, and a few other edible delights and have yourself a picnic on the Plains of Abraham.
On the topic of cheese, we sampled a few Quebec cheeses during our stay, and our favourite was a 2 year goat cheddar- surprising because neither of us are usually a huge fan of goat. We were recommended the cheese by a friendly man waiting in line at a fromagerie. He told us he was going to a party that evening, but wasn’t allowed to come without that cheese. We were convinced to try it, and were definitely pleased we did.
Picnic on the Plains of Abraham, the site of the great Battle of Quebec in 1759 between the French and the British, led by General Montcalm and General Wolfe. Pack a tasty feast of local delicacies and marvel at the rich Canadian history that took place on the ground beneath you.
For a brief recap on the battle, click here.
Watch the sun set upon the copper roof tops of Quebec City. A nice spot is the West side of the Plains of Abraham, by the barracks.
Wander the quieter back streets of Old Quebec City and admire all the distinct colours and quaint details. I could have spent hours doing this, imagining how life would have unfolded on these streets a hundred years ago.
Take the terry across to Levis, and snap some scenic views of the City while on the boat. Climb the stairs and walk to Chocolat Favouris to indulge in some flour de del chocolate-covered maple ice cream (or any chocolate/ice cream flavour combo that you are feeling).
Take some time to explore Rue St. Joseph. Not the commercialized end to the East. The West part of Rue St. Joseph is MUCH cooler.
You will find L’Affair est Ketchup, William J. Walter (a sausage & beer joint), and a good cafe called Nektar that served an excellent brewed coffee, among other gems.
Rue St-Vallier Ouest, close to where we were staying, was also a happening street. It didn’t appear on any guides or blogs that we came across before our trip, and we probably wouldn’t have discovered it if we weren’t staying in an Airbnb place close by. There were some cool looking restaurants & cafes, along with this neat vintage shop called Si Les Objects Pouvaient Parler.
Rue Saint-Jean, the very first street we explored in Quebec City has some spots you should hit up too, including some cute bakeries and bookshops, as well as the aforementioned J.A. Moisan. Jupon Presse is a cute vintage boutique along this road.
Strolling the Petite Champlain area will make you feel like you are in Europe, especially if the musicians are out, serenading the passerby with melodies on the violin or accordion. Many local artisans have set up shop in this area, and we had some neat conversations with a few of them.
Say yes to the maple taffy on a stick.
Because of its smaller size, Quebec City was easier to get to know than its larger Quebecois counterpart, Montreal. I was surprised by just how much it felt like Europe (or what we would imagine Europe to be like, as we have yet to visit that continent.) We feel proud and very fortunate to have Quebec City on our home soil, and think that every Canadian should really get out here at some point in their lives to heighten their understanding and appreciation of French Canadian culture, as well as to visit firsthand the many sites that are significant to our history as Canadians. We would love to go back for a round 2 of this fine Canadian gem.
Merci beaucoup, Quebec, for a truly enchanting time, and to Little Al, for accompanying us on our Quebec adventures!