Despite being in Canada, Quebec City retains a distinctively French feel, a reflection of its colonial history as a French settlement founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. In Old Quebec, the cobblestone streets, canon-lined city walls, and posted signs exclusively in French render it a city lost in time.
We arrived in the early afternoon after taking the ferry from Levis and were eager for lunch. We chose Lapin Sauté, a French restaurant specializing in rabbit in the quintessentially charming Quartier Petit Champlain. What possessed me to want to try rabbit, I’m not quite sure, but Crystal and I ended up sharing the Sauvagine cheese fondue and Rabbit, potato and mushroom puff pastry pie with fruit chutney. Similarly to the common opinion that frog legs taste like chicken, well rabbit to me tasted like turkey.
After lunch, we were off to explore the rest of Old Quebec, which included the Rue du Trésor Outdoor Gallery…
Place Royale (the declared cradle of French civilization in North America)…
Dufferin Terrace along the St. Lawrence River…
and Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, an iconic castle-esque hotel.
There were scattered showers throughout our stay in Old Quebec, and as the graying sky threatened heavier rain, we hopped on the ferry back to Levis where we were staying for the night. Unlike in Old Quebec, concentrated with quaint restaurants and cafés, Levis appeared much more recently developed and mass commercialized. So for dinner, we ate at a combined Taco Bell-KFC, but no worries, it wasn’t just a normal “American” meal. To go with my chalupa was a side of poutine!
Our night in Levis didn’t end there, however, as the Grands Feux Loto-Québec, a summer fireworks show on the St. Lawrence River, was scheduled for 10pm that night.
The next morning, we finished touring Quebec City with a look around and inside the Parliament building. Originally, I had planned on eating lunch at their dining room Le Parlementaire, which uses produce from the Parliament gardens, but unfortunately it was closed that week for renovation.
Twenty minutes from the city, we also visited the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, known for its healing powers. According to word of mouth, many who have wobbled into the basilica with canes or crutches have walked out without them.
My experience in Quebec City was brief, but its proudly French history and the colonial charm of Old Quebec (deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985) made it one to remember.