We set out for the day and made our way down into the heart of Québec City to begin our wanderings.
Walking down Rue Saint-Jean we came upon Saint Matthew’s Anglican Cemetery and Church (755 Rue Saint-Jean). I love old churches and cemeteries so we went into the cemetery grounds first to have a look.
The graveyard was opened in 1772 and it boasts what is reputedly Québec’s oldest gravestone:
After touring the graveyard we headed back to the street to admire Saint Matthew’s Church, which dates back to the 1870s. Beside us, a woman entered the building and invited us in, saying it was open to the public. Much to our surprise, the interior of the church had been converted into a public library: the Bibliothèque Claire-Martin! It made for an interesting mix of books, architecture and liturgical symbols all sharing the space:
We later learned that church conversions are not an unusual thing in Québec City; for some time now, church attendance has fallen off significantly in Québec, leaving many churches empty. These empty churches are then converted into some type of functional building (library, store, community centre, etc.).
Leaving the library/church, we continued our exploration of the old city. We stopped to purchase tickets for a walking tour, taking place later that day, then took lunch at Bistro 1640 (20 Rue Sainte-Anne) in the heart of the upper town, opposite Hotel Frontenac. I had a smoked meat dish (with so-called “baseball mustard” – I had to ask the waiter exactly what that was), garlic coleslaw and fries, and Vince had braised pork poutine. Excellent.
Just before 1:30 we proceeded to the tourism office (12 rue Sainte-Anne) for “The Grand Tour” walking tour with Tours Voir Québec. It was a very large group so we were split into 3 or 4 sub-groups to comfortably accommodate everyone. For our tour host we were lucky enough to get Anne Tanguay, who was absolutely awesome in every way. Anne was highly personable and engaging with her anecdotes and information about Québec City. We spent the next 3 hours exploring upper and lower Québec City, enhanced by Anne’s expertise on the history and character of each area we approached:
We finished the tour at about 4:00, then walked around the lower town on our own. I had ice cream (real ice cream, made with cream!) from the Sugar Shack on Quartier Petite Champlain >> orgasmic!
We then walked all over lower town, checking out the shops and the docks where the cruise ships come into port.
We slowly made our way back to the hotel for a short rest, pausing at the National Assembly (Provincial Parliament) to grab a few shots of the buildings and statues:
At 6:30 we went to Avenue Cartier, where there are numerous restaurants up and down the street. There was plenty of choice but we ended up at Pizzédélic Cartier (1145 Avenue Cartier). We both had the Penne Arrabiata >> absolutely delicious while being a little on the hot/spicy side (appealingly so).
On the way back from Avenue Cartier, we stopped at Chocolats Favoris (65 Boulevard René-Lévesque O.), which is a specialty ice cream store, so that I could have my daily (or twice-daily in this case) ice cream fix >> I was not disappointed. I found it difficult, though, to decipher the all-French menu which contained many words I was not familiar with. It was all good though – how can you go wrong with really good ice cream?! Vince did not indulge but I made up for the two of us:
We got back to the hotel about 8:30PM, exhausted. There had been a lot of miles covered today on foot. We rested, listened to music, then called it an early night.