Quebec: The Canadian City That Genuinely Felt European

Old Quebec

I was slightly apprehensive about visiting Quebec City, having come straight from Montreal and not liking it one little bit. Why did everyone tell me it felt European? It really didn’t… anyway, I’ll stop my ranting – you can read about it here, if you want to.

My train got into Quebec at 10pm, so I caught a taxi to the Auberge Hotel, which was five miles out of the city. It was so dark, I couldn’t see anything. All I did was check into the hotel (which was surprisingly nice – much nicer than the pictures showed!) and went to sleep.

Day One in Quebec

The morning after, I overslept and missed free breakfast, so I got Uber Eats to drop me a McDonalds breakfast instead. Worth it.

I think because I’d disliked Montreal so much, I wasn’t as bothered about heading into Quebec. I kind of wanted to stay in bed, watch Netflix and blog… but I mean, it’s not every day I’m in Quebec. I wasn’t really going to waste a whole day in a hotel by myself (although it was tempting).

Fairmont Chateau

So instead, I got dressed and ordered an Uber to pick me up and take me to the Fairmont le Chateau Frontenac, which was a hotel that literally looked like a castle – and not in a tacky way, either. It was beautiful – just Google “Quebec” and it’s likely the first thing you’ll see (or, you know… just look at my picture).

The Uber driver asked if I was staying there (I was kind of flattered he thought I could afford that kind of thing), but when I said no, he just dropped me out the front.

The second I stepped out of the car, Quebec already looked miles prettier than Montreal ever did… and you know what else? It genuinely had some European vibes going on. It could have been the lack of skyscrapers, or the cobblestoned streets, or the pretty old-fashioned buildings. Whatever it was, I liked it.

Quebec also felt extremely French, which I know is a bit of a silly thing to say, but it’s true. In Montreal, people seemed to speak a mixture of English and French, but in Quebec, everyone spoke French. I didn’t feel like I was in Canada at all.

St Lawrence River

I spent the first hour or so taking in the prettiness of Old Quebec. If you worked past the Fairmont Hotel, you could walk down a wide path that was right by the St Lawrence river, and there were cruise ships coming in to dock.

I climbed the hill to the top of Battlefields Park, and got a beautiful view of Old Quebec.

After a pitstop at Starbucks for a cup of tea (yup, I’m still aware how British that is), I walked down the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec, stopping to look in a few of the shops. It was so European.

Of course, I had to check out the nearest Urban Outfitters, which was about a mile away in the actual city centre. Not as pretty, but of course it wouldn’t be, when Old Quebec is clearly the touristy area.

I got back to my hotel at around 5pm and ordered my second Uber Eats in 12 hours (this time, a pizza), and just chilled in my room.

View from Battlefields Park

Day Two in Quebec

I overslept again, which I meant I missed breakfast again, but resisted the urge to get McDonalds delivered to my door once more.

Instead, once I’d packed up, I Ubered it to Starbucks (the driver seemed very confused by this), and got some banana bread and a hot chocolate for breakfast (and yes… I was extremely unhealthy during my whole time in Canada and America. I made up for it by eating healthily when I got back to the UK).

I walked back round Old Quebec and bought some pic’n’mix on the plane (it’s been soooo long since I had any!), then went back to the Battlefields Park, and spent some more time in there. It’s a huge green space, and it’s crazy because the second you step foot in it, you kind of forget there’s a city behind you. It’s very tranquil.

Morrin Cultural Centre

I must have been there for a couple of hours, because the next thing I knew it was time for the tour I’d booked at the Morrin Cultural Centre. Whilst it’s currently a library, it was originally built as a prison, and then converted to a school. We headed down into the basement to see some of the original cells, which was very interesting.

The tour finished at 4pm, and the rain started to throw it down as I stepped outside (I mean, I was pretty lucky as it hadn’t rained for the whole two weeks I’d been travelling). Signifying the end of my time in Quebec, I caught a taxi to my hotel, collected my bags, and then got another taxi to the airport; ready to fly back to Toronto.

European Streets

Verdict? Quebec is Way Better Than Montreal!

Quebec may be smaller, but what’s the point in being a big city if there’s nothing to do? Quebec had all the charm and culture that Montreal was missing, and for that reason it was by far my favourite city out of the two.

Quebec is only an hour and a half’s flight away from Toronto, so realistically, it’s not difficult to get to. I’d like to go back at some point to take the trip out to Montmorency Falls, as they’re supposed to be higher than Niagara Falls.

However, I’m not too bothered about coming back anytime soon. I’m not ungrateful: I’ve been lucky being able to see so much of North America, but I want to stick with Europe for a while now. It’s my favourite place.

Elle Pollicott

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