I’ve finally gotten myself to sit down and write about my favourite city in Canada, Quebec City. Without further ado, let’s begin!
For the past year, I have not gone to anywhere for a proper vacation (unless you count going home as one) and absolutely longed for one. Having heard the city’s resemblance to many western European countries such as France and England, I knew I had to visit Quebéc over the summer. It had all the old buildings and #ootd spots I ever wanted, wasn’t too far from Ottawa, and wasn’t extremely expensive (except for eating out).
Esther and I planned this trip few months before July. I happily did all the logistics because I was way too excited to be going to Quebéc and was very specific on what I wanted to. Thankfully, Esther went along with it.
From day one of arriving into the city, everything “shook” us. Immediately after arriving and exiting the train station, we so how European or at least 17th century the city was. Everything look beautiful, including the train station, and was so aesthetically pleasing.We immediately checked into the hotel after a long 6-hour train ride and quickly hunted for places to eat. We didn’t really have many options, and somehow noticed the large amount of Irish pubs and Italian restaurants everywhere. Clearly not interested in any of those options, we opted to cook dinner and so we did before crashing to our beds.
Having planned the entirety of the trip, we started our first official touristy adventure, bright and early, with the National Assembly of Quebéc/Hotel du Parlement. We had a lovely guided tour led by the charming Alexandre – Esther and I low-key fangirled because of his
good looks great tour guiding skills.
Nevertheless, the tour was informational and well done. The building’s interior was more remarkable than the Parliament in Ottawa, except for its library. Among the little highlights we had during the tour was when Alexandre seemed impressed that I knew the name of Quebéc’s premier. Haha!
After the Parliament, we walked around the area until we go to the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (Château Frontenac, for short). It was a key destination for me because of the castle-like exterior and of course, our first stop to one of the Korean drama Goblin’s film site. Huehuehue! The Château is incredibly magnificent and walking along its terrace was so relaxing, especially with such a beautiful day. I took tons of photos, and taught Esther how to take nicer photos because I perfectionist and extra like that.
We frolicked around some more while looking for food before bumping into La Boutique de Noel (another Goblin film site). It was a very quaint and pretty Christmas store. So for all those for are obsessed with Christmas no matter the time of the year, I’d say check it out. I saw a few Koreans in there making reference to Goblin as well.
Basilique Cathedral Notra Dame was next door so we entered our first cathedral of the trip. It was for the most part, under construction, but somehow Esther didn’t realize that and asked me “What do you mean it’s under construction?”
Hunting for lunch was definitely a struggle – there was little to no vegetarian options available. We tried Cafe Baude because it had a vege burger – the food sucked so bad. I was feeling so Gordon Ramsay-like that I’d wanted to cuss at everything. Esther of course, felt a lot more pissed than me. We were truly disappointed by the food although the waiter was really nice. Imo, just don’t go there.
To cleanse our
souls palette, we returned to the Château’s terrace and had the ice cream Esther was massively craving. She specifically wanted ice cream from that store next to the Château because 10 years ago, she visited the exact same store and had amazing ice cream. It was nice and our moods were lifted.
Unsure of where to head next, we somehow stumbled upon our favourite street of all time – Rue Petit-du-Champlain (Goblin film site #3).
It’s a beautiful alley that fulfilled our dreams of visiting somewhere with a Parisian atmosphere. We just hung around here until the day ended because it was really gorgeous.
Another must-visit we managed to check out was Le Citadelle du Quebéc where you’ll learn about the province’s military history and its Royal 22e Régiment, the Canadian Forces’ only French-language regular force infantry regiment. This fortress was built between 1820 and 1850, and is the largest British fortress built in North America.
There’s a guided tour available, which Esther and I found very informative.
We also managed to witness the Changing of the Guards at 10am, which is pretty unique for it’s the only one that conducts it in French and has a Tibetan goat named Batiste as its mascot. I swear the goat is definitely worth seeing in real life.
We returned to Rue Petit-du-Champlain for an early lunch at Le Lapin Saute. Man – that place is so Parisian and of course, touristy. 😛
The whole environment was so extra with its ambience and service – I loved it. They serve rabbit meat hence the name “Le Lapin Saute,” which is also a play on words according to Esther. I even gave the waiter, Maxime, the biggest tip I’d ever given cause he was A+. I
Once lunch was done, we continued to stroll back and forth on the street because we love the street so much. We eventually made our way down to a quay on Corridor du Littoral. Esther took a break by doing some yoga (and reapply sunblock/sunscreen lotion ) while I enjoyed the breeze on the quay.
Towards the end of the day, we went for a guided tour of the Fortification of Quebec. Our tour guide was Arnaudt, and he was pretty funny. The tour was definitely worth your money – it’s $4.90 for a 90-minute guided tour. We got to see and enter amazing archaeological sites taken care by Parks Canada, including the fortification walls that’s right next to the Citadelle.
We eventually made our way back to our hostel but stopped occasionally to shop on Rue St. Jean. I’m glad we did because we stumbled upon the most charming second-hand book store called La Rêverie. It’s run by an old man who is super friendly and cute. I 100% recommend anyone to visit the bookstore, talk to him, and buy something there. The old man’s the sweetest old man I’ve ever talked to.
A little different start to the day as we didn’t actually walk to our destination – Montmorency Falls – as it was too far. It’s a beautiful place to go for a little stroll or hike. It’s about a 40-minute bus ride and was quite worth it.
There’s not much for me to say about it besides that it’s a very easy hike. It’s a great place to get out to if you’re sick of being in downtown Quebéc. It’ll still be crowded but not as crowded as the Château in the afternoon.
After a really hearty breakfast at L’Accent, we checked out the two most British landmarks in Quebéc – Holy Trinity Cathedral and Morrin Centre.
The cathedral was pretty cool as it was the first Anglican church found and built outside of England. You also get to see some old golden treasures, which looked so beautiful. There’s not much in it but when we were there, there was a little market in its courtyard.
One of the most fascinating visits for the trip was the Morrin Centre. There you’ll learn about the English-speaking population of Quebéc.
The Morrin Centre has a long and interesting history dating back to the 18th century. It’s definitely worth a visit and I highly recommend it. From what I remember, it was first a military barrack, a reform jail and a school (Yes, a jail became a school). Now, it stands as an active library and a heritage site.
My words won’t give it justice to the complex and rich history the tour will give. It was the city’s common jail from 1812-1868, and in 1862, it became the Morrin College, Quebec City’s first English-language institute of higher education. The Morrin College was one of the earliest institution to allow women for higher learning in Canada, and had affiliations to McGill University.
It was raining and thankfully, we didn’t have to do much that day since we had super hectic four days already. We checked out Le Musée de Civilisation (the Museum of Civilization) because TripAdvisor gave it good reviews.
Out of the museums I’ve been to in Canada, I’d say this is one of the more memorable ones. They said really enlightening and engaging exhibitions such as one on dogs and cats, optical illusions, and the First Nations and Inuit community. Truly amazing and truly beautiful.
They were also having a TinTin exhibition but because it costed a little bit extra, we didn’t bother checking it out. From what I’ve seen in photos, they look cute.
For lunch, we had crêpes at Le Casse-Crêpe Breton. In my opinion, the crépes tasted average and I don’t think it’s worth the wait. Their Granny’s Hot Chocolate was pretty good though.
We returned to the Château later that day where I sent post cards out inside the Château like Eun-Tak did in Goblin, and had our final ice cream in the city.
We also entered one of the free museums (Free with the Parks Canada Pass) underneath the Terrace. It’s one where you’ll get to be up close and personal with archaeological artifacts and ruins. You’ll also get to dress up as people from the 17th century, which is super cute.
To summarize this trip, it was truly amazing but a bit more on the pricey side when it came to food. Would I visit again? 100% yes. Esther already told me quite a few times that she wants to visit in the winter… So we’ll have to see when I can visit Quebec again and wait until Esther gets back from her exchange in Edinburgh.