Day 5 - My exploration of Old Town in Quebec City!

Quebec City Travel Blog

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My first day travelling alone in Quebec City started on Rue St-Jean which is one of the main streets heading into the Old Town section of Quebec. I walked by the outdoor public ice skating and passed a bunch of pubs, shops, restaurants and other points of interest until I reached my first major stop, McDonalds! Haha I know, I know, how could I possibly pass up all the wonderful French restaurants and have McDonalds? Well the answer was simple at the time, it was my first meal in Quebec without someone French helping me pick what to eat so rather than be adventurous and try to figure it out myself, I decided my first meal should be something I know, and McDonalds was the only well known eatery around that I could see.

After grabbing a bite and realizing that you really don’t need to speak fluent French or even any French to get around in this part of the city, I decided to venture out and see some of the sights of the beautiful Old Town and take in all the local festivities as best I could. See in Quebec, they are getting ready to celebrate the cities 400th birthday this year so not only are there signs everywhere promoting the year long event but there are also a few small festivities that the public can participate in to help celebrate. There will be more and more festivities as it gets closer to Winter Carnival in Quebec which usually runs in late January ��" mid February. Well as I walked further down Rue St-Jean into the heart of Old Town I came across my first major attraction, Basilique-Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-Quebec. When I was in Europe I saw many churches and that fact almost maybe me skip past this beautiful building but I’m glad I decided to go in and check it out.
I spent around 45 minutes looking through the church, taking pictures and reading about some of its history. After donating a few bucks to the restoration project underway for the basilica and taking enough pictures to fill 3 photo albums I figured it was time to move on and see what else the Old Town had to offer. This area of Old Town is called the Latin Quarter and other attractions in the area include Musee de l’Amerique Francaise, Cathedral of the holy trinity, Musee des Ursulines, Musee du Fort and of course Laval University which I didn’t take a tour through but are worth mentioning and I suggest checking out if you’re in Quebec City. In the area I also suggest checking out Montmorency Park which has some spectacular views of the St.
Lawrence
River
and Chateau Frontenac. After seeing the amazing view of the Chateau Frontenac from Montmorency Park, I decided to get a closer look and see what the rest of the old upper town had to offer. Once I climbed the stairs up to the base of Chateau Frontenac I was greated by the ever popular Funiculaire which is basically an outdoor elevator taking you from the old upper town down to the old lower town. Just down from that was the Governors’ Promenade which is a long set of stairs leading up the hillside of the upper town. Unfortunately I can’t remember all the history on it to give you a lesson about the Promenade but it is a popular attraction and you can get some great views of the St.Lawrence River while climbing the stairs. Right before the stairs there was an outdoor downhill toboggan ice ride setup where you got to walk up to the top of the hill and toboggan down.
I didn’t do it myself but everyone that came down said it was a blast!

 

 After checking out most of old upper town I decided to ride the Funiculaire down to the old lower town and do some sightseeing before it started to get dark. I walked around and did some shopping, took pictures of some of the very European streets and buildings and eventually made my way to the Musee de la Civilisation. This museum is home to many exhibits like the one on the cultures of Quebec’s Aboriginals and the one titled People of Quebec: Then and Now. There was also a new exhibit called Dragons, which was one of my favourites with it’s cool dragon artefacts and the history behind the myth of the dragon.

You could easily spend a day in this museum seeing all that it has to offer and I highly suggest it for anyone visiting Quebec City! Since it was 5pm and the museum was closing I decided to do some more shopping and sightseeing in the old lower town before heading back up the old upper town to finish off the day. I roamed the streets for close to an hour and was just about to head to the Funiculaire when I came across a vendor selling Caribou wine! I had read about this unique drink in my Lonely Planet book and found that it’s usually sold during the winter Carnival. Caribou typically consists of Brandy, Vodka, Sherry and Port and is heated like coffee. I had wanted to try it after reading about it so I was excited when I finally came across a vendor on the street selling it. I must say though, that is definitely a different taste and I’m sure most people trying for the first time won’t exactly enjoy it but it’s definitely worth a try!

 

By the time I made it back up to old upper town it was already almost 6:30pm and I was starting to get a little cold from walking outdoors for most of the day so I decided to go relax in a pub for a little bit, have some Quebec micro-brewery beer and wait for Bene to call when since she was going to be picking me up around 7:30pm.

I walked down Rue St-Jean and considered many pubs before choosing to take a seat in St-Alexandre Pub. This place was just what the doctor ordered, a nice atmosphere, great staff and an awesome selection of beers from all over the world. I sat down and ordered a local quebec beer(unfortunately I can’t remember the name) before grabbing out my Lonely Planet book and making some notes on my travels throughout the day. In the hour I spent there I downed quite a few different beers and was starting to really feel the alcohol setting in when Bene called to let me know she would be there to pick me up in a few minutes.

 

All in all I had a great day sightseeing through Old Town in Quebec City and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Quebec, it’s an absolute must see!

 

Once we got back to Bene’s place we relaxed for a bit before heading over to Boston Pizza to get some eats and have a few drinks.

I had been trying to convince Bene to take me to a club in Quebec City since we got here and was excited when I finally convinced her to take me to Le Palace which is one of the busiest nightclubs on a Saturday night in Quebec City! We got there around 12:30am and it was already packed full of people. This club has everything, a nice sized dance floor packed with beautiful women, a nice bar type setting on one side of the club(including pool tables and tables to relax) and a casino type setting on the other with various types of VLTs. It even has an upstairs floor that overhangs some of the main floor and has a cool waterfall against the far wall. Unfortunately Bene had to work at 8am so she didn’t want to get to crazy but I think I managed to consume enough Gin & Tonics for the both of us. Throughout the night we met up with a bunch of Benes friends and by 3am we were ready to head home and get some sleep since Bene had to be up in only a few hours for work.
I’d say that Le Palace would definitely be a club to see if your in Quebec, I had a blast!

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Quebec City
photo by: peppertm