After breakfast we set out walking for the old town, our destination the historic Train Station (Gare du Palais) and the Farmer’s Market located near there (Marche du Vieux-Port de Québec, 160 Quai Saint-André).
Gare du Palais is beautiful…
… and the Farmer’s Market also did not disappoint:
We bought several goodies (dried cranberries, chocolates, maple fudge) to transport home with us.
After leaving the Market we continued to explore that part of the old town. We found interesting side-streets, antique shops and art galleries. What a beautiful and charming part of Québec City; this is the stuff postcards are made of:
Our stomachs indicated it was lunchtime (overdue, actually), so we stopped in Place Royale for food and to soak up the old town vibes. We got a window seat at La Pizz Trattoria (3 Place Royal), ordered our food and watched the world go by. When it arrived, the food was delicious, of course (could it possibly be otherwise? This is Québec City cuisine after all).
Just one general grumble though: to say it’s expensive to eat in Québec City is a gross understatement. Restaurant food here is absolutely delicious, yes, but crazy-overpriced.
After lunch we continued our old town exploration. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral) was open to the public so we paid a visit to this beautiful and stately church. Although the Notre-Dame has burned down twice over the centuries, it has been located at this site since 1647. We had a peaceful and relaxing visit there as we wandered about the building:
Almost directly across the street from the Notre-Dame is a specialty Christmas store, open year round, called La Boutique de Noël de Québec (47 Rue De Buade). We just had to pay a visit there – what a sight! It was like Christmas had exploded all over this store:
Leaving the bling of the year-round Christmas store behind us, we resumed our wandering and came upon a fascinating museum – the Ursuline Museum/Musee des Ursulines de Québec (12 Rue Donnacona). Although it sounds kind of boring, it’s not – it was an extremely engaging place. The museum traces the story of the Ursuline nuns of Québec, who first landed there in 1639. The order established a boarding school for young women and prepared them for a secular life or a vocation in the convent. The museum is filled with teaching materials, personal objects and sacred artwork from the past.
Accompanying the museum is the adjacent Ursuline Chapel, which was open for us to explore. According to the chapel’s literature, one of the most beautiful ensembles of sculpted wood existing in the province of Québec is found here. The objects were created by Pierre-Noël Levasseur between 1723 and 1739 and transferred to the present-day chapel, which was constructed in 1902. The objects were gilded by the Ursulines themselves. The nave is adorned with paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries that were brought over from Europe during the French Revolution:
After leaving the Ursuline Chapel, we walked over to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (31 Rue des Jardins) and took a tour. This cathedral is the Anglican church in Québec City and, in typical Anglican style, quite spartan compared to any Roman Catholic churches we’ve visited:
Later, we took a walk to the Dufferin Terrase and went into the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site (Lieu historique national des Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis). Hidden underneath the Dufferin Terrace beside the Hotel Frontenac, this is an archaeological crypt which reveals the remains of the official residence and seat of power of governors from 1620 to 1834. Fascinating place with much history to be discovered.
After touring the remains of the fort we walked the length of the Dufferin Terrase and climbed the massive stairs leading up to the Citadel:
It was getting quite late in the day and we were becoming increasingly exhausted so we turned back before we reached the top. Seeking flatter land, we walked back to the hotel via Grande Allée, one of the main arteries of Québec City.
We went to dinner at Cochon Dingue (Crazy Pig) at 46 Boulevard René-Lévesque O. >> another successful and very satisfying Québec meal.
We returned to the hotel and rested, then turned in for the day knowing that we’d walked off many of the calories we’d been acquiring from all that excellent Québec cuisine.