In the last two months, I have been working and studying excessively at McGill University. I have been in campus past midnight several times in a week and eating a lot of Korean foods located at a building nearby. When Labor Day comes, I planned a trip to Quebec City to treat myself and detached from all the stress coming from university life and finding a job. I am traveling alone, without any expectation of the city, to explore this beautiful place all by myself.
Chateau Frontenca from the Citadel during the day
Currently, I am writing this post on Dufferin Terrace, sitting in a chair outside the Starbuck café in Chateau Frontenac. It is 9.39 in the morning and tourist starts coming to the terrace. There is a lady singing classical music in front of the chateau, I see people taking photographs of each other, Indian and Chinese tourist go on and off their bus.
Quebec Cityscape taken from Observatoire de la Capitale
From my three days trip, these are the highlight and most enjoyable moment to me:
- Hike to Montmorency Falls
I took the fifteen minutes trip from the city by Uber, costing me CAD$20 for a one-way trip. The admission to the waterfall is less than CAD$5, but you might have a difficulty in going back to the city. Luckily, there is an Uber dropping a passenger in the falls, so I could find my way back easily. Once you arrived at the terminal building, there is a bridge to get closer to the waterfall where you could find the stairs to the top of the hill. Mind you that there is a lot of staircase and it is quite challenging to get to the top (but is possible if you take it slowly). There is several “checkpoint” on the way to the top where you could take photograph and rest. After reaching the top of the stairs, I walk further to the suspension bridge above the waterfall to take some pictures.
Why is it enjoyable? If you are lucky, you will see a rainbow at the foot of the fall. And as you get closer to the waterfall, feel the water splashing your face. The view from the second checkpoint is the best, in my opinion.
- Sunrise and Sunset at the Citadelle
I am staying at Hotel Cap Diamant, a nice place in the city and is very close to the Citadelle, so I could wake up at 5.30 in the morning and watch the sunrise by 5.50 am at the top of Citadelle facing Chateau Frontenac. There is an entry gate if you walk across Dufferin Terrace, next to US consulate building, leading to the hill (do not mistaken it with the stairs at the end of Dufferin Terrace, which leads to Abraham’s plain).
Sunrise from the Citadel
Sunrise from the Citadel
Sunrise from the Citadel
Quebec City at Night
When I watched the sunrise this morning, only a couple was there beside me, which make the place a great spot for having time alone. I found the sunset to be very gorgeous; the backdrop of the city lights mixed with the orange sky is just perfect. And if you have the time, wait for one more hour after the sunset to see the cityscape at night, which is equally amazing. I like to spend my time listening to classical music while taking the photographs (bring a tripod if you are a professional). The wind is strong up on the hill, so make sure you are appropriately dressed like an astronaut.
- Touring Around the City on Foot
The old town area is not very big and it is possible to see 70% of the historical site and museum in one day, which I did on the first day. I visited Rue de Petit Chaplain three times in different time (early morning, noon, evening) despite not buying anything there. Make sure you visit Notre-Dame Basilica de Quebec, which has amazing architecture inside and outside. Also visit Morrin Library, which was a prison and then converted into college. There is a guided tour (CAD$9-15) for 45 minutes every hour, which is worth your time. For the sake of enjoyment alone, I walked on Dufferin Terrace over 10 times in my three days stay, just because it felt amazing to have wind blowing to your face and listen to the street musician.
Rue de Petit Champlain in the morning
- Sunset from Levis
One and a half hour before sunset, take a ferry across the Saint Lawrence River (CAD$3.55) and wait for the sunset. The ferry is available every 30 minutes in the evening and took only 15 minutes to get across. In the ferry terminal at Levis, there is a Tim Hortons store, where I pick up a big cup of hot tea to drink while waiting for the sunset. Beside the ferry terminal, there is a small park with very convenient chairs and beach-chairs where you could see the city over the river.
Sunset from across Saint Lawrence River
The City at Night
Why is it enjoyable? I spent my time waiting by reading a book and listening to classical music (a recurring theme, isn’t it?) while waiting for the sky to turn orange, then dark blue. I just love the experience of seeing the sky change its color and the city lights turned on one-by-one.
- Listening to Street Performers (Especially Claude Berger)
This activity is actually not planned in my trip, but I found it to be the most enjoyable experience during the three days trip, seriously. I was passing the street in front of Chateau Frontenac on Saturday night after having the sunset from Levis, to found a small crowd around a street musician named Claude Berger. He is very good at playing saxophone and singing old-time songs, which made you feel the city is becoming more romantic as time goes by. There is a love in the air. I sat for more than an hour and listen to his performance, as the crowd grew larger and larger.
The next thing you know, people are dancing on the street and the environment gets lively pretty fast. You may want to come early and reserve a seat in front of the Manoir Hotel, where he usually performs. Some of his performances that I love are “My Way” (his last song), “What a Wonderful World”, and “Stand by Me”.
Terrace Dufferin at Night