We headed into to the main part of Quebec City and immediately found problems in that many parking lots do not accept RV’s. The one lot we found that did accept RV’s wanted CAD$50 which was not happening. Eventually we found street parking for CAD$12 for 5 hours. We entered the Old lower city and it was like we were transported to France. French looking buildings, cobblestone streets, all signs in French, everyone talking French. We found a picturesque small town square called The Place Royale featuring a small church built in 1763 and had lunch in an outdoor restaurant named La Pizz Place Royale. The weather was perfect, cool and sunny as we ate and looked out at the church and an outdoor café across the way.
After lunch we wandered the narrow European style streets some more finding several art displays including three cars turned upside down and made into planters. Another street was festooned with blue and white umbrellas. We came across a number of street musicians as well including one playing folk, swing and bluegrass music that we really liked.
After exploring for a while and getting some ice cream we took the funicular to the upper town which was dominated by the Hotel Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Built in Medieval style this huge hotel dominated the skyline and is said to be the most photographed hotel in the world. With its towers and red brick exterior it looked like something out of Harry Potter. The upper city is the only remaining walled city in North America north of Mexico and a number of cannons still line the walls. The upper city is a bit more modern looking but still very European. Since we only had 5 hours of parking we couldn’t stay too long so we returned to Rover to spend another night at the Walmart.
The next day we had booked a two hour walking tour of Old Quebec through Tours Voir Quebec for CAD$24.99 a person starting at 1:30 pm. We went for brunch at Le Croquemboche Patisserie (bakery) where we enjoyed some delicious French pastries including the flakiest, most buttery croissant.
Our tour guide took us around both the upper town and lower town telling us stories and history about Quebec City, proudly informing us that a higher percentage of people in Quebec City speak French than in Paris. People in Quebec say they are going to the ROC when leaving Quebec, ROC standing for Rest of Canada and since a good number Quebec people only speak French I guess it must feel like going to a different country. Olivia liked learning how to tell the difference between a British cannon and a Russian cannon. As we learned about the history of Quebec we found that the people are very stubborn people as most of the stories ended with “and then everything burned down”. Long, cold winters and wood-fired stoves do not go well a town built of wood. Occasional wars and bombardments do not help either. We toured a the walls, a couple of churches, a convent, passing by the Chateau Frontenac before ending in the lower town shopping district which we were a little disappointed to discover is a modern built tourist attraction.
Since we only had brunch and no lunch we were starving by the time the tour was over so we went to the restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, a historic restaurant located in the oldest house in Quebec City and built in 1675. The house is known as the lucky house as it survived two disasters which destroyed all the buildings around it. They had a prix fix menu for CAD$24.95 before 4:00 pm and we got there just in time.
I got the Grandpa’s treat which consisted of a Quebec meat pie, meatball ragout and pig knuckle, salt pork grillades and baked beans. Holly ordered the Couliblac style salmon, lobster sauce and small vegetables. This turned out to be a kind of baked salmon in a puff pastry which we really liked. The meal included a choice of appetizers and dessert. It was all a great example of local Quebec cuisine.
Since we had an early dinner we walked to the St Louise gate of the old town walls and then along the walls to the Citadel of Quebec, the old fort. The fort had closed for the day but we still had a great time strolling along the walls, still protected by the original cannons until we got to the river viewpoint which had a wonderful view of the St. Lawrence river.
If you want to see more of our trip through Quebec here is our video!
It was quite dark and we were exhausted by the entire day walking when we returned to Rover and went back to the Walmart for the night.