Just had a lovely 4-day vacation with the hubby in beautiful Quebec City (aka Honeymoon, part 2). What a wonderful and fantastic metropolis. As one of the oldest walled cities in North America, Quebec has everything: a rich history, vibrant culture, terrific tourism, strategic importance in the defense of Canada from invasion from the U.S.... I'm sure it would offend someone to say this, but it was like a taste of Paris right in Canada.
We stayed at the Best Western in the Old City. The room was clean and comfortable, and at a discounted rate on Expedia, we got a nice King size upgrade. (Don't bother with the in-hotel restaurant--there's way better food not too far away.) The only real downside was that while everything was within walking distance, the elevation differences heading toward the St. Lawrence River meant lots and lots of steep hills. On the upside, I got a great workout every day.
We did a walking tour of the city, which was educational and entertaining despite the high winds and chilly temps. The one Australian visitor in the group got about halfway through before declaring "I wasn't made for this! And hour is about all I can stand!" She made it through, though.
Some wonderful facts I learned: Samuel de Champlain, father of New France, as we see him in books, statues, paintings and such is a fake. When they went to build a statue and make his portrait, there were no references. For all we know, the dashing hero could be some fat slob.
We also visited the Citadelle, the still active fort for the 22nd Regiment just beyond the Plains d'Abraham where the famous battle between Wolfe and Montcalm was fought. Though the tour was offered bilingually, the hubby and I had enough French to actually understand everything the guide was talking about, and as the only Anglophones, we proudly nodded along. (Thanks to my high school French teacher, M. Machado!)
Food! My God, we ate so much. I had a duck club sandwich. Poutine with spaghetti sauce. Real French onion soup. Escargots. And on out last night there, we ate at the infamous Aux Anciens Canadiens, a restaurant that serves authentic Quebec cuisine in the oldest building in the city. The food was to die for. I had a grilled pheasant breast served with smoked bison on a bed of spinach and cheese (Suck on that, Double Down) and maple syrup pie for dessert. I can't even begin to describe how good it was. I'm drooling right now.
It's hard not to get sucked in my the magnificence of the place; despite the tourist buzz, the residents within the walls, numbering only a few thousand, live a sedate but metropolitan life. History breathes in and out of those walls. Just passing through the enormous stone gates gave me a glimpse into what life in a medieval walled city might have been like. If ever you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it.