After a lovely trip to Montreal in 2012, I was overjoyed to return to Quebec for a trip to Quebec City. Much to my delight, the exchange rate to Canadian dollars worked in our favor this time around, and the ticket is much cheaper than a flight to Paris. The old fortified city did not disappoint. Historically fascinating, visually stunning, and nutritionally lacking, this trip had all the makings for a wonderful experience.
We stayed in an airbnb in an awesome neighborhood called St. Roch. I can’t recommend it enough – although described as “up and coming” it was really hip. It was about 30 minutes walk to Old Quebec, and although very hilly it was nice to get a real sense of the city. The best part was that there were no other tourists around. The neighborhood is filled with French restaurants with a down-to-earth twist. Although we attempted to go to L’affaire est Ketchup, it was booked. We tried the sister restaurant Patente et Machin. I loved the two servers there, both burly food-lovers (and one being a Philadelphia Eagles fan), who made sure we understood every detail of the menu, reciting it in both English and French. We also adored La Cuisine and went twice! A local spot with classic board and video games, they also have an “at home” vibe. We were the last ones in the place while facing off in an unsettled game of chess. When we absolutely could not eat another bite of French food, St. Roch wow’ed us once again with Hosaka-ya Ramen. Hot steaming bowls of ramen comforted us on a rainy summer night after a long day of sight-seeing.
One of my favorite days was spent on the Ile d’Orleans. As soon as a Quebecoise mentioned, “the island is our orchard,” I knew i had to go. We tried ice cider, which is made from frozen apples in Quebec’s freezing winters. The result is a much sweeter cider. We tried strawberries, chocolate, and even had lunch at the Panache Mobile, a food truck version of Quebec City’s most renowned restaurant. It was only fitting we climbed a million stairs after lunch to check out the top of Montmorency.
Of course, wandering through Québec City’s cobblestone streets and hearing French spoken left me blissful for many days. The stunning Chateau Frontenac had musicians playing classic French romantic music, and I feel for it very hard.