Posted - 3rd November 2018
During our adventure in Canada, while searching for the place we would like to move to in the future, we spent some time in Ontario and Quebec. We loved Ontario, particularly Toronto (you can read more in our blog A weekend in: Toronto), but felt that Quebec had it’s own charm, especially the beautiful Quebec City. We didn’t have many days left to spend in Quebec City, so unfortunately it was just one full day, but we made sure we saw as much of the city as we could! Here is our one day itinerary in Quebec City.
Morning – Gare du Palais | Fortifications of Québec National | Porte Saint-Jean | Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
We arrived at the Quebec City bus station that early morning from Montreal, and we were stunned at how beautiful the building of the station was. It is both a bus station and a train station, and totally worthy of its name: Gare du Palais. It’s situated right by old town, so it was really close to the hotel we were staying at. The further away from Montreal we got, and the close to Quebec City we got, the more snow there was. And we were just so excited. We went to Canada to experience a good snow storm, and that’s just what we got here.
Now we didn’t realise how steep the roads in Quebec City were, until we were standing at the bottom of the hill with our huge suitcases, dragging them all the way up to our hotel. The ice and snow on the road really didn’t help! What really caught our eye was the signs which were all in French now, and everyone around us was speaking French. This really made us feel like we were in Quebec, the mostly French-speaking province of Canada.
And it’s not only the signs that make it look so French, it’s also it’s narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful and traditional stone buildings and the boutiques / bistros that make it feel authentic. Another beautifully authentic part of Quebec City, is it’s Fortification surrounding the old town. These walls were used for defending this city, and guided tours are offered here. Unfortunately the day we were there, the walls were closed to visitors, but we still managed to walk around some parts.
There are many gates that are built within these Fortifications, which let the cars into Old Town. But one of the most famous one is the Porte Saint-Jean, just beside the Youville Square.
I had a very strange feeling while strolling around Old Town, even though we were surrounded by cars, shops and modern features, it still felt like this Old Town is set in the past. It may also be the fact that it was decorated in a very christmassy way, or it might be the horse carriages that walk the streets, but the image below portrays exactly that feeling.
We then made our way to the most recognisable building in Quebec City, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac building. It looks like a majestic yellow castle, that stands to overlook the entire city, but it’s actually a very stunning hotel. And even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can go and explore the expensive decor inside. The lobby of the hotel has some shops, as well as some restaurants and bars that anybody can go to.
In winter, they put a huge slide, right in front of the hotel, overlooking Saint Lawrence river. We were so sad we were there just a bit too early, and missed this fun attraction! But this doesn’t mean we won’t go back to try it out.
Afternoon – La Citadelle de Quebec | Parc du Bastion-de-la-Reine | Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral | Breakneck Steps | Notre-Dame-des-Victoires | Rue du Petit Champlain
We walked along the boardwalk all the way to the Citadelle de Quebec. It was a lovely walk, and we could see a lot of locals walking this way, going for a jog or walking their dogs out.
Once we reached the Citadelle, we were looking forward to visiting it, but again, unfortunately it was closed! We must have picked the worst time to visit Quebec City, as everything was shut. We didn’t let this get us down, so instead, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful snow, and built a funny snowman in the Parc du Bastion-de-la-Reine. We’re not used to seeing so much snow around us, so it was so much fun (even if we were freezing cold afterwards!)
To warm ourselves up, we walked towards the centre of town to get ourselves a Beavertail and some hot coffee. We’ve heard these beavertail delicacies were very Canadian, so we had to try them. And it was so delicious that we wanted more, but thought it was a bit unhealthy, so decided against it.
We then strolled further through town, passing the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. It was beautiful inside and out.
We then decided to go to the lower part of Old Town, where it seemed most of the hustle and bustle was. We didn’t want to take the funicular down, but decided to brave the steps and hills down, however it is an option for those who are not able to walk down. This takes you all the way down to Rue du Petit Champlain, one of the loveliest streets in Quebec City, overfilled with boutiques.
Funnily enough, the last part of the stairs towards this street are cleverly called the Breakneck steps. They are really steep, so just thought the name is so well matching. Taking a photo on these stairs proved really difficult, because it felt like it was the most popular photo dropdown in Quebec City!!
After entering into literally every single boutique on that beautiful and quaint street, we ended up getting some delicious maple syrup and bacon flavoured popcorn from Mary’s Popcorn Shop, and walked towards Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. This is a tiny little church, that has it’s own charm.
We also noticed that there was quite a lot of wall art around the city, making the walls of these old buildings a canvas for picturesque paintings. How many you can spot around town? We spotted 3 different ones!
Evening – Christmas Market | Ice Skating
Once the sun set, and the skies turned dark, the Old Town started shinning with all the Christmas lights that were hung all around the trees, the buildings and the Christmas Markets. We treated ourselves with some mulled cider and walked around the tiny handmade shops, trying to find some Christmas presents.
For dinner, we found a little burger bistro in the centre of town, that looked delicious as well as trendy, so we were sold. It was called Les Trois Garçons, and if anyone gets a chance to go, do! Probably the most delicious food we’ve had during our entire stay in Canada!
After filling our tummies, we went ice skating! We couldn’t leave Quebec City without ice skating! And the coolest thing we found was that there was no time limit of how long you could ice skate. All we needed to do was rent the ice skates, and we were free to use them as long as we wanted. And for those who had their own ice skates, they could just go on the ice whenever. Of course, the locals were amazing at ice skating, so we had a lot to keep up with, but we managed to not embarrass ourselves 🙂
To end the night, we strolled around the streets, enjoying every last moment of being in Quebec City. This is our fully packed one day itinerary to staying in Quebec City, we hope that you enjoyed reading this, and it will inspire you to travel to Canada!
Xoxo Ani and Sam