Finding Quebec City

We spent the next two full days at sea — all of Wednesday and Thursday, September 15th and 16th — on our way to Quebec City, much of it going down the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The first day was a blue-sky warm day.  The second day was overcast and foggy.

We spent most of our time outdoors, also got some exercise on the walking decks.  One night for a change of pace, we had dinner at Mama’s Italian Restaurant, where our waiter took our picture.

Sunrises were easier to catch than sunsets because we were always up so early in the morning.  Every now and then we’d see another ship.  Most of the time they were freighters, not passenger ships.

Every night before dinner we took turns having happy hour in our rooms.  This is our room.  Our snacks were normally peanuts or macadamia nut cookies, which we had pocketed from lunch earlier that day.

Finally we see Quebec City, and another cruise ship that beat us there.

The amazing Chateau Frontenac, bigger and higher than anything else in the city, came into full view.  It’s a landmark hotel with over 600 guestrooms and suites named after a French governor.  Construction on the hotel began in the late 1800’s.  A new expansion phase was completed in 1993.

With our cruise ship moving slowly down the river, we had this view from our 9th floor balcony room.  The sun was shining on the Chateau and cars one after the other were driving off the ferry ship.

As our cruise ship kept moving slowly in the harbor, I saw this vivid contrast between old and new architecture.

It was taking a little while for the ramps to be hauled and moved into place so we could get off our ship without jumping.  Look at the tour buses lined up to take passengers on tours.  We didn’t sign up for a bus; we signed up for a horse and carriage tour and also a walking tour of the city.

On the dock we met Natalie, our Mary Poppins land guide, a native of Quebec province, whose first priority was to set us straight on the correct pronunciation of Quebec.  It’s “Ke-bec,” not “Kwa-bec.”  It’s an Algonquin word that means “where the river narrows,” which is exactly where Quebec City is located, where the St. Lawrence River narrows to the point that a bridge could be constructed across it.

Several buildings in the city are frescoed to look like they have people at the windows and archways with  plants and balconies.  The wall in back of Allan is actually quite flat and windowless.

We learned that there are two levels of the city.  You can see that we are on the bottom level here, with the Chateau Frontenac high above us in the background.

Can you see what we’re headed for?  It’s called the funicular.  It’s an electric escalator that takes us to the next level in boxcars that hold maybe two dozen people each.

This merchant takes advantage of the heritage and history of this old fur trading area.

This is a view from inside the funicular, looking down.  We’re heading to the top level of the city.

Still inside the funicular, I’m looking down and toward the ocean.

At the top of the funicular was a plaza with this statue of Samuel de Champlain, the Frenchman who founded Quebec in 1608.  He is also called the Father of New France.

We’re standing here in the Seminary’s courtyard in Old Quebec City.  The Jesuits arrived in New France in 1615.  The building is no longer a seminary.

It was a school day in Quebec City.  The little girls are in front of the Chapelle des Urselines.

This outdoor fresco, inaugurated in 2001, depicts major characters and events of the harbor city, located along the pedestrian avenue called Petit-Champlain Street in the lower town.

So Floras took our picture as we left.  This church is called Notre Dames des Victoires.  It’s one of the oldest churches in the province, built in 1686 on the foundations of Samuel de Champlain’s trading post.  The church was restored after being destroyed by canon fire in a battle between the French and the English armies and then restored.

The Breakneck Stairs led down to the oldest commercial quarter in North America.  The cobblestone street is lined with early architectural styles that became cafes and specialty shops.

In no time at all, we were clopping down the streets.  We’re not in this horse and carriage.

Our buggy ride took us past this Quebec City Armory located just outside the walls of the old city.

It was a warm and beautiful day for an open air tour through the city and its parks.

Our driver was also a knowledgeable tour guide.

Part of the old wall surrounding the old city.

In a few days, a killing frost would ruin beauty of this tour.

We thanked and tipped our driver but didn’t say much to the horse.

Obviously, someone was standing in back of me.

We didn’t break our necks walking down.

A view of the funicular between buildings as we’re walking down the street.

A view of the old buildings, the street, the plants, and me in the lower town.

We stopped for lunch at an outdoor restaurant with a French name that translated to The Jumping Rabbit. 

We didn’t order any of the rabbit dishes, however.  We love smoked salmon.

We ran into the Flora’s later that afternoon and stopped to sit for a minute.

This was the view from our table, overlooking the plaza called Place Royale.

An inside view of the old church.

Back on the ship, we say goodbye to a beautiful day in beautiful Quebec City.

I chose a plate of clams for my appetizer that evening in Tsar’s Palace Dining Room.  Delicious.