After Montreal, we spent a week in Quebec City to visit the capital of Quebec.
During our week in Quebec City, we stayed with a couchsurfer. It was in the upper part of the city, not far from the old town, the tourist part.
Quebec is the only city in North America to be fortified. It was the French who built the fortifications of the city to protect themselves from the English. The Fortifications of Quebec are listed as a National Historic Site and are also part of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. We could not “visit” the fortifications as they “close” during winter. But, we were able to walk on some parts by climbing on the snow mounds.
Inside the fortifications is most of the old part of town. There are shops and restaurants all along the streets, it is very “European”. It reminded me a lot of Edinburgh in Scotland. There is a big hill, called Cap Diamant, in the middle of town, and a castle at its peak.
The Frontenac Castle is a hotel which dates back to 1893. Many famous people have stayed there, and it is the most photographed hotel in the world. We entered the ground floor, there is a lounge, a coffee shop, art stores, etc. And there was a free exhibition on Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco.
Adjoining the castle, the Dufferin Terrace was built on the edge of the cliff, enjoying the magnificent view on the St. Laurent River.
From this terrace you can take a funicular or stairs to go down the cliff and get to the lower town. Between the cliff and the St. Laurent, you can find the Petit Champlain area with a nice pedestrian street.
Or, from the Dufferin Terrace, you can also take stairs called the Governor’s Steps to go up along Cap Diamant to the Plains of Abraham.
The plains of Abraham
Once you have climbed the steps (about 350), you arrive on the plains of Abraham which constitutes the Battlefields Park. It is named this way because there was a battle between the French and the English. It lasted only about twenty minutes, in order to lead to a victory of the Englishmen.
We went there several times to stroll along the snow trails next to the snowshoe walkers or cross-country skiers.
Then we came back to visit the Citadel, a unique building in America. Built on the Vauban model, it was built by the English to protect themselves on one side of the French, and on the other of the Americans. For many years, it has been the base of the Royal 22e Regiment, the only 100 % Francophone Regiment in the Canadian Army. It is also a secondary residence of the official representative of the Queen of England in Canada.
Not far from the Plains of Abraham, you can visit the Parliament of Quebec. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit it because we were in Quebec City during the school break, and all the visits were booked.
The history of this city is particularly interesting, as is the history of the people of Quebec. We were able to learn more thanks to the visit of the Civilisation Museum in Quebec City.