Quebec City: As close to Europe as I’m going to get

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 on one Parks Canada Outdoors Club trip. 😉

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.

Day One

L-R: Our train from Ottawa to Quebec City; Quebec City’s Train Station

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.

Day Two

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.

L-R: Legislative Council Chamber; ceiling painting in Legislative Council Chamber; The National Assembly

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!

Le Parlementaire, the restaurant inside the building

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.

Views from the Terrace and a photo of us with the Château behind us

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.

Mandatory photo outside of a Goblin film site, La Boutique de Noel

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?”

“What do you mean it’s under construction?” – Esther Vininsky-Oakes, July 2017.

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.

Avoid at all cost!

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.

Ice cream!
Me infront of the door that Ji Eun-Tak followed Kim Shin through (A Goblin filmsite)

Unsure of where to head next, we somehow stumbled upon our favourite street of all time – Rue Petit-du-Champlain (Goblin film site #3).

Rue Petit-du-Champlain

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.

Day Three

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.

Inside the Citadelle

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.

Clockwise: View from one of the tour stops and down there was another place they filmed Goblin; Esther and I; Changing of the Guard ceremony begins; Batiste the Tibetan Goat (22nd Regiment’s mascot )

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. 😛

Esther and I at Le Lapin Saute

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

Esther’s vegetarian pasta and my beef stew

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.

L-R: The Quay; view from the quay where you can see the Château and maybe Esther doing some yoga.

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.

L-R: Remains of an old building, the view from one of the tour stops, and inside the fortifications that isn’t part of 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.

L-R: La Reverie, off Ru St. Jean; inside the bookstore; the grandpa talking to Esther.

Day Four

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.

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Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

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.

Breakfast was really good and filling for both me and Esther

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.

Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

One of the most fascinating visits for the trip was the Morrin Centre. There you’ll learn about the English-speaking population of Quebéc.

Morrin Centre

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.

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The jail section of the Morrin Centre

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.

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Clockwise: Ballroom; chemistry lab; the library; books in the library.

Day Five

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.

L-R: Like Cat and Dog Exhibition; Esther so dead; Spot the Esther

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.

L-R: Observe – More than Meets the Eyes part 1; Observe – More than Meets the Eyes part 2;Dress of Nations

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.

Super excited to check out the museum!

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.

Clockwise: Granny’s Hot Chocolate; some crêpes

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.

Sending postcards! 😀
Yum, yum!

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.

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Quebec City: As close to Europe as I’m going to get

Merci, Montréal!

St. John’s: Done
Montreal: Let’s Go!

DAY ONE

As you can probably tell, I used the Via Rail Train instead of the Greyhound bus. I chose to take the train this time around because I wanted to use a different form of transportation. In all honesty, I’m glad I took the train. The seats were more comfortable, spacious with more legroom and you get to choose your seats. I, of course, picked the window seat. Oh, the ride was half-an-hour shorter than if you took the bus, so WIN! 😀 I couldn’t wait to see Montreal so got to pick the second earliest train to make sure I’d get my three full days in Montreal.

montreal-01Do note that it might a bit pricey if you picked a peak time to go. But if you buy your tickets on a Tuesday, it supposedly cheaper.

Upon my arrival, I noticed the differences of my surrounding between Ottawa and Montreal immediately. Montreal was awe-inspiring. The buildings had more history, character and style. There were rusty abandoned buildings, colonial-style terraces and so on. Since Montreal is a French-speaking city, one can’t help notice the Francophones conversing. The whole vibe I was getting was distinct compared to the rest of the Anglophone speaking places I’ve visited in Canada.

After dumping my luggage and stuff at Caryn and Yunyi’s place, we went to Jardin Nelson (Nelson Garden) to have some lunch.

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Jardin Nelson

Honestly, the interior of this restaurant is beautiful. It seriously felt like I was in Paris with the whole fancy French garden experience. There was also live Jazz music playing which added to the Parisian feel. I swear this is the closest to France I’m going to get. The ambience was great and the Francophone waiters/waitresses greeted us well.

Since Caryn and I can’t speak French, we allowed Yunyi to do most of the talking after we decided what we wanted to eat.

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Clockwise: Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Cannolli au Four Maison and Patae Chinois Au Canard.

We ordered Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Patae Chinois Au Canard and Cannolli au Four Maison to share.

I would say the Bruschetta and the Cannolli were decent but the Patae was not to my taste. Honestly, the food was alright and a bit hyped. Sure, the ambience was amazing but the food lacked flavour.

It started raining after lunch as we left and so exploring Old Port was kicked off the itinerary while we tried to find refuge somewhere. We sought shelter at Montreal’s famous Basilica Notre Dame. You have to pay $5 per entry and I was like “Who pays to go to church?” Apparently, tourists because my, oh my… The interior was majestic.

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Apse
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Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart)

I hope the photo gives you an idea of how magnificent the interior is. It’s Gothic Revival craftsmanship was complex and splendidly presented with lights shining from below giving this church a grandeur feel. It really made me want to say… “Take me to church.”

Although it was truly a magnificent sight, I couldn’t stay inside the church admiring it for too long because it was too crowded inside. Hence, we left and head to C’Chocolat for dessert.

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Matcha Matcha Man

We tried the Matcha Matcha Man, C’Wow and their Chocolate Souffle. Matcha Matcha Man was too sweet for me and if it was less sweet, it’d be more enjoyable. The souffle wasn’t anything special to shout about. The C’Wow however… Impressive.

We stayed there for about two hours to chat, hoping the rain would stop but it didn’t and we just went back home to prepare dinner.

day two

This time around, Caryn and I woke up early to head to Macdonald campus of McGill University. It was a two-hour journey via the subway and the bus. It’s on the western end of the Island of Montreal.

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Posing in front of the St. Louis Lake

Thankfully, it was sunny out today and so we managed to stroll around the area. It was very much spacious compared to the downtown campus and I just used the WiFi to play some Pokemon Go while Caryn settled her stuff.

We head to lunch at Schwartz’s Deli. It’s a famous 80-year-old deli that has served the likes of numerous celebrities including Celine Dion. I must say, it is really famous.

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Schwartz

They’re extremely famous for their Jewish Montreal-style smoked meat and is usually served as a sandwich. Of course, you can order it to-go as well.

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The Famous Smoked Beef Sandwich served with Mustard and Rye Bread

I dare say, this is worth the hype. It’s definitely worth lining up under the hot sun for. Oh my gosh, it was delicious. The blend of the smoked meat with the mustard tastes amazing. I wished I could’ve tapao some and bring back to Ottawa. This was so far one of the best food I’ve had in Canada.

We later walked around the area in hopes of finding a dessert store but that didn’t happen as the one we wanted to go to was closed. 😦

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Murals around the area

Because we didn’t manage to tour around Old Port yesterday, we’d thought today was the day and yes, it was.

We went back to Notre Dame to just view the architecture of it from the outside. I wasn’t going to pay 5$ this time to go inside because I went yesterday but when I come back, I’ll pay the 5$. 😛

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Basilica Notre Dame behind me | Wearing So Basic Scuba Top from Peep Boutique

We continued walking towards Old Port and enjoyed the views along the St. Lawrence River. Unlike most people, we took out our umbrellas as it was too hot to walk without a cap.

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Trying to find out what the building is | Habitat 67 from a distance | Fun, fun activities for the family
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Caryn and I taking a break from the walking and hot sun
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Xiao Long Bao at Sammi & Soupe Dumpling

For dinner, we went to Sammi & Soupe Dumpling along Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. The Xiao Long Bao’s skin was thicker than usual but it was still good. We also ordered the Fried Pork and Green Onion dumplings. That was too oily and greasy, it made me feel so guilty eating it.

Once we were done with dinner, we head and fulfilled my long-awaited visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Pompeii exhibition.

If you don’t know, Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city in Italy that was buried by the ash and pumice of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The exhibition presents artifacts and an simulation of the situation from the event.

montreal-32 Since it was a Wednesday night, admission price was only 10$ unlike the usual admission fee which is 12$-20$. Needless to say, the museum was packed! Packed, packed, paaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked.

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Some Roman art sculptures from different periods of history.

The exhibition was still pretty fascinating—they had sculptures, frescoes and mosaics from the Archaic period and so on.

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Frescoes and mosaics

But the artifacts that I most wanted to see were the Pompeii plaster casts of the volcano eruption victims.

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Pompeii Plaster Casts
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Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

It was pretty eerie looking at it but it definitely gave us a sense of how helpless these people were from the volcano eruption.

day three
Caryn and I at Downtown campus of McGill University | Wearing Black culottes from Peep Boutique
Caryn and I at Downtown campus of McGill University | Wearing Black culottes from Peep Boutique

On my last day, we began with a rough tour of McGill University in downtown. The buildings here are older and preserved well.

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Caryn and I at the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Building
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Looking super studious in this library | Wearing Black Culottes from Peep Boutique

I really liked the library here. It was huge and was nicely arranged with different places specifically for different uses. The library also has a lot of resources including newspaper from different provinces and different countries which is rather impressive.

We later hiked up Mont Royal. The hike was rather easy but because I was in the wrong attire, it was slightly difficult.

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View from Mont Royal
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Caryn, Yunyi and me!
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Casually walking out of the Chalet du Mont Royal
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Inside the Chalet du Mont Royal

For the longest time, I was imagining this chalet hosted numerous of fancy dinner parties in the olden days until I found out that this chalet was recently built. -_- #dreamscrushed

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Meet Baika, the Border Colli and Husky Mixed Dog 😉
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Selfie because I was happy with my make up

After descending Mont Royal, we went to Yokato Yobai Ramen for lunch. I was very excited for this lunch because… RAMEN.

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One of the many entrances
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Ramen menu
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One of the sections of the ramen restaurant
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The bar

The ambience was pretty cozy, artsy and Izakaya-ish. I believe this restaurant is also part-Izakaya which would make sense. I explored around the area and was really fascinated by the large space they have.

The ordering system here is a bit different. They provide you with a paper to fill up your order individually. So one person, gets one paper and you can add however many extra stuff you want with the cost.

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Pork Tonkotsu Ramen

Overall, my ramen broth had a milky texture but it wasn’t a heavy broth. Thankfully, it was not salty although it was normal saltiness which is great. In my opinion, the flavor was a bit mild compared to the other ramen I’ve tried in other places. Chasiew was fatty and tasty too. I also ordered the salad and well, it’s a salad. Yunyi ordered the karaage and it was tasty. Oily but tasty!

After lunch, we needed to walk it off and so we went to Habitat 67. It took us 20 minutes to get there from the closest bus stop and what a walk it was…

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Habitat 67

Habitat 67 is basically a collection of condo cubes. It’s an alright place to visit, really nothing much. I wouldn’t go there to just admire the architecture, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s just really cool to look at the interior of people’s living area. I was thinking it’d be inconvenient to live there if you don’t have your own car as it’s so far from everywhere and there are no bus stops close by.

Once we were done with that, we head back for me to do some last minute packing and showering before I left this gorgeous city and Caryn. -sobs-

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Sad, I was sad.
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Canal de Lachine

The ride back home was rather melancholic because the sunset happened. Look at it. 😦 So gorgeous that it makes you think deeply about life.

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Gorgeous sunset on the way back to Ottawa

Yeap, basically that was it from my Montreal. Rather short trip BUT I WILL SURELY RETURN. It’s only two hours away. 😀 That is all from me now~ Bai bai!

Merci, Montréal!

July 2015 OOTDs

These are just some of my OOTDs for the month of July! 🙂 Enjoy~

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Was in Midvalley for the Guerlain Summer Workshop~
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My Raya OOTD at Bangsar Village. 🙂
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Waiting for the LRT, otw to KLCC~
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Went to Jaya One for Pop Market 4.

Outfit 1: Crop Top from Kiss & Tell; Palazzo Pants from MCVogue

Outfit 2: Sunglasses, Necklace & Slingbag from my sister & mother; Black Tank Top from Primark; Cardigan and Skirt from Peep Boutique.

Outfit 3: Sunglasses and sling bag from my sister & mother; Maroon Tank Top from Peep Boutique; High-waisted Jeans from Uniqlo; Lace Moto Jacket from Kitschen; Boots from Dr. Martens

Outfit 4:Cardigan & Yellow Handbag from Peep Boutique; Grey Dress from Hook Clothing; Belt from Asos; Boots from Dr. Martens

July 2015 OOTDs