Hello friends and a very happy weekend to you! Today we’re going on a field trip. Out of the country. Yep. We’re headed to Old Quebec City in Canada. You in?
Jon and I went last weekend, had a great time and I want to tell you all about it. Old Quebec City is steeped in history and was a fantastic way to spend a long weekend. It’s the closest thing to Europe without hopping a plane.
A different culture, cobbled streets, pastry shops, bon jour and au revoir. While much of the U.S. is basking in spring sunshine right now, Jon and I are just thawing out from our tundra trip north.
I’m not kidding. Lucky for us Old Quebec City is only five and a half hours north. But the temperature was SO much colder. Thankfully we’d checked the weather and were prepared for the frigid. So hey, let’s go!
We drove in on a Thursday evening, arrived at dusk. They’d just had a fresh snow fall of nearly a foot, making the narrow streets that much narrower! We had mucho trouble parking at our B & B (read: Jon had to grab a shovel and clear out a parking space. Apparently all hands on deck!) Snow was everywhere, and we saw (and heard) snow removal trucks working all over the city. We quickly realized the easiest way to get around is on foot, especially with the tight parking situation. Fortunately we didn’t experience any falling ice!
That first night we happened on an authentic creperie not far from where we stayed. Ham, asparagus and swiss cheese crepes! Delish.
The next day we explored the old walled city. Pictured above is the Basilica de Notre Dame.
This imposing building is the Seminary of Quebec.
I seriously can’t believe how steep the hills were in Old Quebec City. Oh my word. We must have climbed a billion and a half stairs just to get to the base of Chateau de Frontenac, the premier hotel of the city.
Chateau de Frontenac originally opened in 1893 and is built above the wall overlooking the St. Lawrence River.
Here’s the view just in front of Chateau de Frontenac looking out.
Jon spied this sign for toboggan rides. Asked me if I wanted to go. I used my manners, said no thank you. Then changed my mind after seeing his crestfallen face. 🙂
See that hill? We climbed it, pulled our toboggan to get to the top. Truth: I only climbed. Jon pulled the toboggan.
And here’s the view from the top of the slide! There were brakes underneath the floor of the slide holding the toboggans in place. We somehow managed to get our rope stuck around the brake underneath and had to get off and untangle it. Leave it to us. Ha ha. The toboggan went 40 mph going down and I was terrified. Sort of. It felt just like a rollercoaster. Of course Jon was thrilled. (He loves rollercoasters.) Me, not so much. The view helped. Chateau de Frontenac towered on the left and the mostly frozen St. Lawrence River to the right.
We skipped the stairs on the way down, took the Funiculaire, an enclosed outdoor glass elevator instead. This was our incredible view through the window going down.
And here’s the view looking back up. It was super steep.
So why did we take a ferry to cross the St. Lawrence River? To get to the other side of course. (Also a famous chocolate shop.) 🙂
The ferry pushed through snow and ice on the St. Lawrence River and we had a great view of Chateau de Frontenac from the top deck.
Then we climbed another billion and a half stairs up the bank on the other side to Chocolats Favoris, where all the locals apparently stock up on gourmet chocolate! Score.
Every chocolate known to man (woman and child) underneath that immaculate glass case!
And every kind of fondue imaginable, from cookies & cream to dulce de leche.
Thankfully they sold the fondue in cans so we could bring some home “for the boys.” Ha ha. For us too. You actually boil it in water on the stovetop (in the sealed can) for twenty minutes, then serve it over ice cream or dip fruit in it, etc. We got both the milk chocolate and the dulche de leche. Amazing stuff.
We did more sightseeing in the old city.
I loved this steeple glinting in the sun.
So many boulangeries!!! We picked up a few snacks here.
We shopped in this Parisian section on Avenue Cartier in an artsy part of the city. The unusual overhanging street lamps were recently installed by local artists.
Our last stop as we headed out of the city towards home was the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency containing an 83 meter high waterfall that’s 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls. Yeah. See the faint rainbow in front of the falls? Also the foot bridge spanning the falls. There’s a cable car ride and also a zip-line. That, I would not do. Maybe the cable car. But NEVER the zip line. My children need me. (Or I like to think so.)
Here I am on the footpath, smiling because I am far far away from the footbridge and zip-line!
We took a quick selfie in front of the falls before heading out, facing the sun. Can you see my eyes are totally shut? So funny. I didn’t think they’d show up behind the shades in the picture, but they sure did. Caught.
We had a truly magical weekend away. A few friends asked why Quebec and why in winter. And here’s the truth. We’ve always wanted to do Europe and it hasn’t happened yet. Old Quebec City is like a little Europe. The exchange rate is awesome right now.
It’s also the off season. Gas prices are cheap. It was definitely the right time to go for us. Honestly, we could’ve cared less the destination. The beautiful thing, and the only thing that really mattered, was that we got away. Together.
Made precious memories. Listened to an audio book coming and going. Savored the quiet. No catastrophes at home with the kids. Just getting away for a few days was like pushing a re-set button. A gift.
So grateful for all who helped out on the home front so we could go. Thank you.
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