When in Quebec, We Did As the Tourists Do

This is one time a little research might have saved us some headache. The day we were visiting happened to coincide with the Quebec Fest* (it ran from July 5-15, we were there in the middle of it) and performances that would start in the evening before we’d made it back to our RV. As it was, we had to go out of our way (on foot, when we were exhausted) to go blocks and blocks around until we could get access to the RV. We’d essentially blocked our access to it. This cloud did have a silver lining, but I’ll save that for the end.

I kept reading that the Plains of Abraham was a top 10 item on many lists of what should be seen in Quebec. We were not disappointed. So don’t be deceived by the bland descriptions you might find on the internet, this was a pretty cool stop.

We were led on our tour by none other than “Abraham” (Abraham Martin had cattle that roamed the hillside in this area which later became known as the Plains of Abraham) who took us on a tour of his grounds, in character. It was entertaining and engaging. The museum is insightful and also has a section of interactive displays for children. We also toured the Martello which was pretty neat to see and offered us some shelter during a rainstorm. We even picked up some sightseeing hints from Abraham before he went back to the museum. The grounds hold a gorgeous garden with a beautiful Joan of Arc statue at its center. Worth a gander even if you don’t have time for the whole tour.

Unfortunately, part of the Plains of Abraham grounds were off-limits due to some construction on a neighboring hotel and for the concert set-up (Quebec Fest). Another slight distraction (not a deal-breaker) was the constant loudspeaker testing for a concert that would play later that night. (This might have been welcome had we been there about a week earlier and I might have lingered closer to the stage.) The fest & construction essentially meant no access to touring the Citadel. We walked all around it but couldn’t get up to the wall which we thought we’d be able to do.

We walked over to the Promenade and explored that area. The Chateau Frontenac (it’s a hotel now) was in the distance and it felt like walking up to a fairy tale. It was the first time I’d seen a real castle.

Along the boardwalk, we came upon the entrance to the St. Louis Forts and Chateaux museum. A lot of the National museums are free in Canada this year in celebration of its 150th birthday. My kids loved this museum. It was a bit like the archeological one in Montreal because you could see the original walls and, this time, walk through a lot of the structures. These are all “underground” because the Promenade is overhead but that just added to the cool factor for my family.

After we left the museum we made our way over to the Funicular which is a glass elevator that takes visitors from one elevation to another (Quebec City is similar to San Francisco, CA, with all the ups and downs). There is a small charge for it but fun to do just to say you did. It’s more of a necessity if you have mobility issues.

From there we caught a Traversiers ferry over to Levis for lunch at a great barbeque joint, La Barbacoa. Then we took the ferry back over to Old City and it was like stepping into Europe. It really is quite picturesque and worth the sore calves from the hill-walking. (Our Plains tour guide, “Abraham”, said you can tell who the locals are from the well-defined calf muscles. Ha!) I was having serious issues with my phone and asking my husband for his phone to snap a photo became annoying for both of us. If it’d worked, you’d see some cool shots below. 

Eventually, we started making our way back to our RV which is when we learned we’d get more steps on our fitness-trackers because of the fest kicking into full-gear. We meandered through rows of vendors selling everything from cars to crafts to Quebec Fest gear and… the silver lining, or maybe it’s brown, a Nutella Café truck giving away free samples!! We each had a small little treat that made it slightly easier to bear our detour.

And with Quebec City ticked off our list, we geared-up for a long drive to my personal favorite, Prince Edward Island.

*This is no small thing. If you’re around in July (I’m assuming it runs around the same time of year annually) and you love concerts, there are big players involved. The American groups/singers I recognized (most are Canadian groups, I think) were Pink, Lady Antebellum, and the Who.

St. Lawrence River

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KID THOUGHTS ON QUEBEC CITY

A~ “And who can forget the St. Louis Fort with the dog tag free from the souvenir shop!” (Fort St. Louis and Chateaux Museum, and as part of the 150th celebration, the kids could complete an activity book and earn a souvenir dog tag with the park’s name on it.)

D~ “My favorite part of the day was the Martello Tower. These towers were also known as Bulldogs.” (Bulldogs because they were intimidating barriers)

Djr~ “I liked being able to hold a “cow” and getting ice cream.” (“Abraham” had my children look after some of his cows (stuffed) while we toured the plains.)