Quebec city, quebec, canada
From the moment the train conductor shouted at me to disembark the train in French at 5am I was in love with Quebec. Booked into accommodation in the old town, I decided to stretch my legs and hoof it. I can barely describe the exhilaration of braving the unknown so early on a cold November morning, finding myself climbing steps over the city wall and winding my way through the cobbled streets. For someone who has been to Quebec, it is hard to say the word without sighing and wishing you were back walking along the promenade, shading your eyes from the glare off the St Lawrence.
Aux Anciens Canadiens is a Québécois experience from start to finish. A white stucco building with red trimming, the historical building and dining rooms were built in 1674 and are truly charming. The set menu and service were worth every backpacker's precious penny.
Melburnians know that as exciting as a city can be, the fringes too need to be explored. I booked a late season day tour of the Quebec countryside through the Tourist Information Centre and departed on the best of late autumn days - chill but clear and still warm in the sun. Our pleasantly-accented guide took us to a number of spots including the Basilica Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, but by far the highlights were the Chute-Montmorency, a half-frozen waterfall, and the quaint Isle d'Oleans where we winded our way around the island to a chocolaterie and indulged is some divine milk chocolate that never made it back to the land down under.
In what I am sure is a hallmark of Canadian cities, just outside the citadel lay the Plaines d'Abraham, the site of an historic battle between the British and the French cultivated into sprawling parkland. The Battlefields Park is sparse on trees but this only serves to make it into the ideal inner-city snowshoeing destination in winter. I missed out on Quebec snow by only that [ ] much and I would dearly love to head back for a Christmas!
The beautiful Fairmont Château de Frontenac hotel is a familiar site, and not one to be missed from any angle, day or night. As you wander the city the Château draws you in and you find yourself again and again at yet another alley off the Place d'Armes, marvelling up at the green roofed turrets.