On Wednesday, we took a one-day trip by train from Montreal to Quebec City.
We began our visit by walking to the highest point in the city to see the Quebec Citadelle. La Citadelle was (and is) an active Canadian military installation and one could not just walk right in like an open historic site. So, we waited for the next tour of the grounds. French fortifications had been on the heights, but the present extansive Citadelle was constructed by the British between 1820 and 1850. (A contemporary of Fort Stewart in Montreal.) Behind the Citadelle spreads the Plains of Abraham, officially the Battlefields Park.
I'd know of the Plains of Abraham the the place where British forces under Wolfe defeated French forces under Montcalm in 1759, thus surrendering Canada from French to British control. (Both generals were killed in the battle.) It was a beautifully laid out park with winding drives and green spaces. It had more the feel of a city park than a historic battlefield. I suppose the differing points of view on the history here have to be handled with sensitivity. While the outcome of the battle set the course for development of Canadian governmental institutions and independence under British influence, many Quebecois view the French defeat as loss of sovereignty. There is ambivalence about the history represented here.
A pathway leads down from the heights of the Citadelle to Terrasse Dufferin, a scenic boardwalk area between the Citadelle and the lower city and the river.
Quebec from the Plains of Abraham
(The terrace was built in the latter 19th century over many of the old French fortifications.) The Chateau Frontenac
hotel is located at one end of the promenade. It's easily the most recognizable structure in Quebec City. Built in 1889 as a resort hotel for the Canadian Pacific Railway, it has continued to be maintained as a luxury hotel to the present day. A statue of Samuel de Champlain
(1567-1635) is located next the Chateau Frontenac. Champlain was the French explorer who founded Quebec in 1608 and established the Habitation settlement. The statue is on a plaza with a commanding view overlooking the St. Lawrence River and the old city below.
We didn't go down the funicular to the Lower Town. Instead, we followed the terrace around to see more of the Upper Town. One can see why Quebec is called "North America's most European city." Narrow cobblestone streets, small buildings, and outdoor cafes together with the pronounced French accent