Hi All, Written: May 22, 2009
To begin this Quebec City Blog I am at a loss for words (but as you’ll see I’ll find them). This city is got to be one on the most beautiful cities in the world. Even knowing that last year was the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City and the city was in immaculate shape, you are awed by the beauty. It’s a Disney World perfect reproduction of a fortified city from old Europe, but wait, it’s not a reproduction, it’s the real thing. Quebec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico City, and the heart and center of “New France”, as this area was known from early 1600 onward. I’m going to break all my photo album rules, so you really can get a feel for what Susy and I experienced on our visit. I’ll let you see the city in two photo albums, the Lower Village and the Upper Village.
We have to begin the first photo in the first album (see Quebec City, Quebec – Lower City Photo Album above – again its the second album so click on the title to bring it up) with a view of the city from the ship, with the world famous Hotel Frontenac sitting majestically above. The second photo is a panoramic view of the entire city, again from the ship. The third photo is a close up of the most photographed hotel in the world, the Hotel Frontenac. As we departed the ship I show you in the fourth photo the port terminal sign. Walking out of the terminal we immediately come to the “Lower Village” with its cobbled streets, bistros, boutiques, and sidewalk cafes. Most of this area was built 400 years ago (as in the Upper Village). The fifth photo shows you a typical building with a tower, the sixth a yellow stone building, and the seventh an old brick warehouse. The eighth photo shows one of the cobblestone streets with a typical sidewalk café. It was 81 degrees and sunny so the sidewalk café’s were packed. At the Place-Royale you see in the ninth photo a shot of the Notre-dame-des-Victoires Church, the oldest stone church in North America (1688). I don’t want any of you to worry about Susy, so the tenth photo shows her shopping for Art. The eleventh photo shows the Place Royale from the old church side of the Place with Susy coming toward us and blocking the musician who was playing in the center of the square. The twelfth photo shows us a street with the cable car at the end which takes us up to the Upper Village. The Place Royale is really the start of the district called the Petit Champlain. This area is very reminiscent of a French village of yester-year and in the thirteenth photo you see one of the main shopping streets. Marc Guertin, Dennis Guertin’s brother, had sent me an email recommending we eat at the “Le Lapin Saute”, a restaurant in this area. The fourteenth photo shows the front of the restaurant, while the fifteenth shows a harp player, playing just outside the terrace of the restaurant. The sixteenth photo shows the terrace itself and the seventeenth shows Susy and I enjoying the beauty of the flowers, the music, and the whole atmosphere. The day would have been complete right there, but it was only half over, so off we went to visit the Upper Village.
Saving over 200 steps if we climbed up to stairways to the Upper Village, Susy and I took the cable car (see photo one in the Quebec City, Quebec – Upper Village Photo Album above). In photo two you see the small plaza at the top of the cable car, next to the Hotel Frontenac. In photo three you see the Hotel from the Boardwalk that fronts the Hotel and goes along the east wall of the city. Quebec City is completely surrounded by a wall. As you look out from the Upper Boardwalk the fourth photo shows the Maasdam and the east bank of the St. Lawrence River. As we walked around to the front entrance of the Hotel you see in the fifth photo the interior plaza and front entrance of the Frontenac. After Susy and I walked around the inside of this beautiful hotel we headed across the outside plaza to the “Musee du Fort Building (photo six). We found in this museum a miniature model of the Quebec area in the 1600-1700 era (photo 7) and watched a half hour history film using the model to demonstrate two major battles, the first when the British took Quebec City from the French (Sept. 12, 1759) and ended French rule. The second battle, I had never heard of, but was when the New Englanders sent two armies to take New France from the British (1775) and the Army of the colonies led by Benedict Arnold was defeated by the British at Quebec even though the first Army had captured Montreal. The defeat of Arnold caused the two Armies to retreat back to New England. Leaving the Museum my eighth photo shows a typical street with cafes and flowers and the ninth photo shows an artist’s street. The tenth and eleventh photos show some typical streets. Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral (photo twelve) of Quebec (the oldest Catholic Church in North America) Susy lit candles and prayed for all of us (we need it, I know, speak for yourself). The thirteenth photo shows the front of Notre Dame from down the block. As we walked along the Upper Village streets we stopped in one of the many sidewalk cafes where in the fourteenth photo you see Susy with one of the shopping streets in the background. We didn’t get anything there because next door was St. Patrick’s Pub a famous eating and drinking hole in Quebec City. In the fifteenth photo you see Susy in the lower bar of the Pub. The sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth photos you see streets, buildings, and shops which reflect a small mirror of this city. The twentieth photo gives us a last look at the beautiful Hotel Frontenac, and just so you know I was along with Susy the twenty-first photo shows yours truly with the Maasdam in the background. To close out our visit to this city I have to show you Quebec at night. This last photo is not as sharp as I would have liked but I think you get the idea. This is a world jewel. Hope you all get to see it in person.
On to our last stop, Montreal, where we meet our Canadian cousins, Dennis and Marc, and their wives Robin and Hillary.
Love You All,