“You need to see Old Quebec.” is what I heard from a few people before our trip to Montreal this summer. So on a very early Tuesday morning, Chuck and I rode the rails to spend a day exploring Quebec City — one of North America’s oldest cities. The train was a treat, it’s not something I’ve done in Canada before. It was a nice, relaxing way to travel. And comfortable too!
When we arrived, our first stop was the Citadel — the largest British fortress built in North America. It’s still an active military site whose walls hold over 300 years of history spanning French, British and Canadian periods. We got there just in time to watch the colourful Changing of the Guard ceremony, which had lots of stoic soldiers, boisterous music, precise choreography and, of course, Batisse, the Royal goat. After the ceremony, we got a free tour of the fortress and enjoyed some amazing views of the city and the St. Lawrence River.
Once we left the Citadel, it was off to find a bite to eat! We found a great people-watching patio close to Chateau Frontenac called 1640. We noshed on sandwiches (Montreal smoked meat, oh yeah!) and sipped on a tasty local brew called Blanche de Chambly.
After lunch, we strolled the streets. I was amazed at how much of Old Quebec is still intact. It’s absolutely lovely. It reminded me of Paris and reminded Chuck of Switzerland. We took the funicular car down to Lower Town to shop, then took the stairs back up. It was A LOT of steps. We then went in the Chateau Frontenac where I found a tea towel!
We finished off our day with a ride around the city in a horse-drawn carriage. A first for me! I had mentioned to Chuck that “I’ve never gone on a carriage ride” and he whisked me on one right away. Pretty darn sweet.
We got back to Via Rail just in time to grab some eats and catch our train back to Montreal. It was nice to just sit back and chill because we were beat!