Tuesday, August 19, 2003


Oh la la! Nous sommes arrivés au Québec, et maintenant il faut parler en français. Help! We were merrily travelling along in North America and suddenly we seemed to have come back to Europe. Québec is staunchly French. Everyone speaks it (even to the tourists, which they don't actually do in France) so Tom and I are desperately trying to remember the basics (me a bit more than Tom of course - A-levels seem like a long time ago). We have even started to worry that hostels give preference to French speakers so we (by that I mean Tom) book in French.

Anyway once we recovered from the culture shock, we enjoyed Québec City. It is very charming and certainly a lot more European than the cities we've seen thus far. We arrived at 3.30am (not a great time to see Québec, particularly as we thought we were going to arrive at 6.30am and the bus station was closed until 6am). After quite a bit of waiting (call me paranoid but I'm sure it was because we spoke English) we got a nice dorm room which in fact only had us in it. We slept for a bit then headed towards Québec City's most famous sight, Château Frontenac and the boardwalk nearby. We climbed up to the Citadelle to get a good view of the city.

Yesterday we began the day with our free breakfast. This was not of PEI quality but Tom managed to tuck in 3 bowls of cereal and 6 slices of toast. We set off for the Parliament Building walking on the city walls. Québec is the only remaining walled city in North America. We took a guided tour and I was fascinated by the Canadian attitude towards the British - what a change to the USA. The building is decorated with English lions, French fleur de lys and Canadian maple leaves. After that we made an unplanned stop at Le Parlementaire, the Parliament's restaurant. We couldn't resist; it was so cheap. We had a 3 course meal - vegetable soup, I had "Warm Charlevoix Migneron fondue and young shoots with Ferme Granger ground cherry vinaigrette" and my companion had "Ink-blackened ravioli with smoked salmon filling, Lower Saint-Lawrence salt herb bisque." We finished with tea and coffee and maple and sugar pie. All in quite elegant surroundings! Why isn't this in the guide?

We strollled around various sights in the area included a lovely Joan of Arc garden. We later went down to the river and to the Place Royal which was teeming with tourists.

Today we took the bus to Montréal. We haven't seen much yet but tomorrow...


Post a Comment

<< Home