Quirky Quebec

Our journey started with a very turbulent flight to Montreal, I think we only had 3 hours of smooth flight in the whole 7 hours. I must admit I enjoy a bit of turbulence so it didn’t put me off my film fest.

18 hours and a bus ride later we had arrived in Quebec. My heart sank a bit on the taxi drive to our hotel as it seemed quite a way out of town. The Bate’s motel lookalike had a very comfortable room and a lovely warm swimming pool to relax in. Once we got our bearings and worked out the bus routes it was all good.

bates motel

The best part about our location was our close proximity to the Montmorency Falls, it was just a short bus journey away. Situated and protected in the Montmorency Falls Park, the waterfalls are 83 metres tall, that’s 30 metres taller than Niagara Falls. The sight and sound of the falls from the suspension bridge is breathtaking. For the brave (and slightly fit) tourists there is a staircase all the way down the cliff to the foot of the falls.  The 487 steps are more than manageable on the way down, but I found the ascend just a little more challenging, fortunately there are quite a few places to stop and take a well earned breather. The park around the falls and the main house are stunning, and we were so lucky to see it in autumn.

Quebec is an exceptionally pretty French city, Vieux Quebec is a UNESCO world heritage site and this so well deserved. It’s full of beautiful architecture, quirky shops and cafés and divided into the lower and upper cities. These are connected by either a steep walk or by the funicular. Travelling down the cliff at a 45 degree angle and track is 64 metres long, it was first opened in 1879. Originally it was propelled by a water ballast system, but converted to an electrical system in 1907. It’s a lovely way to get to the lower city and port, but I still felt the need to challenge myself by taking the picturesque steep walk back up.

While on our day out to the falls we saw the Queen Mary 2 sailing into port in the distance. So on our second visit to Vieux Quebec we knew we needed to make our way to the port to get a good look at this beautiful ship. When we tracked it down we noticed a smaller less elegant boat offering a return trip up the Saint Lawrence river. I don’t usually like boats as I tend to feel sick just looking at them. But the on-board tour guide was so entertaining and knowledgeable that I didn’t feel the need to frequent the loos to vomit at all. It was a very relaxing journey that returned to port just as the sun was starting to go down, giving the city a lovely magical glow.

Quebec is an amazing place to visit but a word to the wise, it is a predominantly French speaking city, it is everyone’s first language. There are many people in the shops, cafes and restaurants that do speak English, but it is not guaranteed. I brushed up on my school girl French as soon as I booked up our trip, also quite a few holidays in France helped me to remember. They really do appreciate you trying to speak in French if you can.

Next stop …back to Montreal

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