Quebec Oh Quebec!

Quebec, oh Quebec… why did you leave me? After enchanting me with your delightful little cobblestone streets and quaint town squares and charming architecture and pretty little art shops and beautiful parks and delicious food and your charming French-accented English speech and your many many alluring ways, why did you leave me? Yes, yes, you are right, I’m sorry… Yes, it was I who left you! Buckling under the pressure of life’s million little cares, I had to leave you. But this I promise you… I’ll be back. And we will spend many an enjoyable day together… Promise!

Obviously, I enjoyed the trip to the province of Quebec and especially to its capital Quebec City very much. Surrounded on three sides by the waters of St. Lawrence and St. Charles rivers, Ville de Quebec (Quebec City’s French name) is one of the oldest cities of North America.

 
QOQ-river

Quebec City was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608, a French explorer and diplomat. It was the first permanent European settlement in the territory of present-day Canada and the capital of New France, the French colony till 1867.

Old Quebec, a historical neighbourhood of Quebec city, is utterly charming. Its cobblestone streets and quaint shops bring forth images of Europe. No wonder Quebec City is sometimes called ‘Petit Paris’! Old Quebec is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

 
QOQ-market1

Upper Town in Old Quebec is located on top of Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond) promontory, provides a beautiful view of the St Lawrence river below. A statue of Samuel de Champlain stands prominent on the square.

 QOQ-statue1

The Chateau Frontenac, said to be the most photographed hotel in the world, is an imposing structure and dominates the city’s skyline spectacularly.

 
QOQ-chateau-front

Built in 1893, the hotel was the site of the Quebec Conference in 1943, where Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt met to discuss world war 2 strategy. If you would like to check out the rates for a weekend’s stay, here is the link.

 
QOQ-chateau-front-closeup

Also, located in the Upper Town is La Citadelle, a functioning fortress. Quebec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico. The ramparts of the city stand strong even today, along with the citadel. Work on the citadel was started in 1820, and guess why? To prevent attacks from the United States! Seriously… in 1812, the US had tried to conquer Quebec City and other parts of Canada which were British holdings while fighting a war with Britain over the blockading of the oceans by Britain. Needless to say, the attempt failed and today the citadel is a National Historic Site of Canada.

 
QOQ-citadel

Century-old great looking houses of the for-generations rich and famous populate the residential areas of Upper Town. Historical sites and beautiful parks add to the uniqueness of the area.
 
Lower Town, located at the foot of the Cap Diamant, is the commercial center of Old Quebec. This is the location where Samuel de Champlain built his original settlement, remains of which can still be discerned and are marked. I can doubtlessly say Lower Town is my most favourite spot in the entire city.

 
QOQ-street3

Place Royale, a public square was named so in 1686 after a bust of King Louis XIV of France was placed in the square. Once, this was the commercial center around where the merchants and businessmen lived, who during the French-British wars moved to the Upper Town for its safer environments.

 

QOQ-place-royale

At one end of the square stands the Fresque des Quebecois (fresco for the people of Quebec), a huge mural on the face of a building. Completed in 1999, this mural encompasses the local history of 400 hundred years in a canvass of 420 sq meters.

 
QOQ-fresco

In addition to the daily life activities and the four seasons, 16 of the prominent historical figures are also represented. The details of the creation of this mural are very interesting.

 
QOQ-fresco1

On the opposite side of the square is the Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires (Our Lady of Victory church). Built on the site of the Champlain’s first residence, it is one of the oldest stone churches.

 
QOQ-church1

And then there is the Rue de Petit Champlain, the most picturesque street ever.

 
QOQ-street2

In addition to wonderful arts and crafts shops and restaurants, the narrow stone-paved street has a little area with benches and swings and live music where you can sip your wine and chill out.

 
QOQ-street1

The whole Quartier Petit Champlain area is indeed beautiful.
 
By the way, Rue de Petit Champlain is the oldest street in North America! Yep, I know, I have been repeating the word ‘oldest’ a lot! :-)
 
To be continued…

~Ria

23 Jul 2015

Drifting in Daylight in Central Park

Today is the official first day of summer, but the weather has taken on the airs of summer a while back. And what a summer it is shaping up to be! An imminent trip to Canada (Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa), an invite to a summer wedding in London and an end-of-summer visit to San…

21 Jun 2015

An Amazing Street Play

Back in New York… or shall I say the freezer? I had thought that below a certain level of cold – say minus 10 – it is all the same, which is too cold. But no, no, no… there are 50 shades of cold below freezing! And the bone chilling, face freezing cold of this…

22 Mar 2015

Thangassery… a Gem on the Seashore

After visiting my friend Dilly at Thangassery, I had this question that I could not find an answer to… why hadn’t I visited the place earlier? Dilly and I have been friends for donkey’s years, I knew of the beauty and historical importance of the place… maybe it is true that there is a right…

01 Feb 2015

A brand new year… with no elephants!

If there is one event that signals the winter festive season in New York, it is the lighting of the Rockefeller tree. This season it was to be on Dec 3rd. And of course, I wanted to go and watch the tree come alive in all its glory. But alas, it was not to be.…

21 Jan 2015

New York City Marathon… a not to be missed event!

Someone recently asked me… what’s so special about the marathon? Why are people, generally not interested in athletics, so keen on running it? The easiest answer was ‘prestige’. Prestige and pride. The sense of accomplishment. The immense way it makes one feel good about oneself. It is not about the running – in fact, running…

23 Nov 2014

Zombies, Zombies Everywhere… Are You Scared of Them?

It is not that New Jersey lacks a place in the Guinness Book of World Records… no, not at all. The tallest sand castle… the most wooden train whistles blown at once… fastest time for carving 1 ton of Halloween pumpkins… largest group Stop, Drop & Roll demonstration, whatever that is…. New Jerseyans hold plenty…

21 Oct 2014

Possible Jumper…

I think I have mentioned that the salt mine that employs me, is located in Times Square. Yes, right bang in the middle of the universe. Yesterday, we were all at work when the public address system sputtered up. Usually that thing is used to announce fire drills, but this was in the afternoon and…

17 Oct 2014

Thousand Islands Castles… Truly Majestic

The castle was designed with soaring spires and high ramparts, after the castles in the Rhineland, the neighbourhood where he grew up. A self-made millionaire, he had risen from a kitchen worker in a hotel to the proprietor of the great hotels Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan and the Bellevue-Stratford in Philadelphia. And when George Boldt…

26 Sep 2014

Single House Islands… So Many of Them!

Oh yeah, we were talking about the Thousand Islands. What really really enchanted me about the place were the cute little islands with just one home on them. Of course, these are summer dwellings as it will be physically impossible to live in the middle of a frozen river in the winter. Or would it?…

23 Sep 2014