July 9th – Longueil, Quebec (near Montreal) to Levis, Quebec (near Quebec City)
It was a lovely drive along the south side of the St. Lawrence on Highway 132, a charming pastoral landscape of corn fields and farm houses. We stopped enroute for a picnic at a park on the river straight across from Trois Rivieres. Trois Rivieres was founded in 1634 by French colonists. It was the second permanent French Settlement after Quebec City.
It was a long day of driving. We made it to our campsite “Camping du fort de la Martiniere” just outside of Levis in the early evening. This campsite turned out to be a great spot with a really wonderful view up the St. Lawrence.
It was also close to Levis, the town where the ferry is, so we planned to take the boat back and forth to Quebec City.
July 10th – Quebec City, Quebec
We had a terrific day in Quebec City with our friends Joka and Bill. We took the 10 am ferry to Old Quebec from Levis. We walked around and saw the sights. The crowds were heavy. It is tourist season afterall. We had a great lunch of crepes at an outdoor café. We were serenaded by a fellow with a French accent who knew tunes from Neil Young, the Mamas and the Papas and other musicians of that era. We all enjoyed the music. The next day I walked by the café and he was there playing the same set.
After lunch, we parted with Bill and Joka. We visited the Chateau Frontenac and walked into the front doors “like we owned the place” (a term one of my good friends likes to use), and we proceeded to visit their toilets. They were some of the most beautiful washrooms I have seen. I say this with a smirk as this is the closest we will ever get to staying at the Chateau Frontenac. Rooms per night start at about $600.00. We wandered around the reception area and looked at the architecture and caught the vibe of the grand old hotel, built by the CPR in in 1893. We also spent some time browsing the photo collection they had on the walls on the lower floor of the hotel which chronicled the history of the Frontenac.
Then we headed up to visit the Plains of Abraham and the Fine Art Gallery. We had to curtail our mission after Guy realized he was missing his cell phone. Well, to cut a long story short, it turns out he left it in the restaurant we ate at. Someone picked it up there and since they were staying at the Frotenac, they took the phone back there. So Forrest received a call as he said, “from some French guy” from the Frontenac saying they had Guy’s phone. I think Forrest was the last person Guy had talked to so that’s why they contacted him. We got the phone back thankfully. It’s the third scare Guy has had with his phone. The first time he lost it was in Banff. The second time was on the ferry going across from Longueil to Montreal, and then in Quebec City. I wonder where the 4th phone misplacement will occur. Exciting times. 🙂
We walked around for a couple of hours and then got the ferry back to Levis and the bus back to Longueil. Guy can tell you a story about that. In essence, my French is not that great but I try constantly to communicate in French. And sometimes I get a little passionate and embarrass Guy. Well, when the bus came, I had notes written out with the question I wanted to ask in French. So I read it and I got passionate and I embarrassed Guy. He couldn’t stop laughing. But the bus driver did understand and he let us off at our stop.
Old Quebec City is beautiful. You can imagine that you are in Europe when you traipse around the cobblestone streets lined with wonderful old buildings, some painted in delightful colors with flower boxes hanging under the brightly colored window panes. It is a feast for the eyes. But it is definitely another world, a world of people with money and time, enjoying the old buildings and views and sites and sounds and nice food. But it is not really where the Quebecers are, except for all the nice people serving the hoards. Likely, one needs to go out of the gates of the old city to get a more accurate impression of Quebec City and Quebecers.
July 11th – Quebec City, Quebec
Guy and I walked to the bus stop and took the bus to Levis to the ferry and then over to Quebec City. We knew the route so there was no speaking broken bad French to the bus driver. We had a wonderful day together wandering the city. We meandered the streets near the St. Lawrence then up the hill and had a late breakfast at a sweet café.
Then we wandered the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham.
We ultimately made our way to the Fine Arts Museum featuring some modern art of early to mid 20th century Quebecois artists. The Art Museum was in an old jail, a beautiful old brick building with lots of atmosphere.
Afterwards, we headed out to find the Bed and Breakfast I had stayed at years ago. We tried to get in for a night this trip but they had no availabilities. I have fond memories of my 3 nights at B and B l ‘Augustine in 2006. It’s the building with the red awning below. Afterwards, we took a recommendation from a woman we queried on the street as to the best Lebanese Restaurant around. She directed us to a great place with great food.
Then we walked back to the Old City, spent a little time looking out to the St. Lawrence, took lots of pics, and said our goodbye to Quebec City.