A visit to the quite remote area of Saguernay and Gaspé in Quebec City. As both places are quite small I chose to walk in their respective national parks to try and make amends for all the good food I’ve been eating on the ship. It was great to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery.
Parc du Saguernay
Florillon National Park – Gaspé
I was surprised to learn that many of the original settlers in Gaspé came from Jersey and Guernsey – where I lived and worked for a few years back in the 1990s. As a result I saw many Jersey surnames I recognised. They fished cod and then salted it and shipped it to Portugal and Spain (I ate a fair bit of salted cod in Portugal as it is still popular there). There is even a cemetery specifically for those who came from the Channel Islands. Who knew?
We had an overnight stop in Quebec City which meant lots of time to enjoy this wonderful city that feels way more French than Canadian.
The area around the docks is full of antiques shops, cafes and 3D murals.
Then I headed to the upper part of town – good for accumulation of floors on your iPhone- and went to see the changing of the guard at the Citadel. Quite reminiscent of the UK version but with a regimental goat – an idea from Wales
While at the citadel I also opted for the tour of the Governor General’s residence – her second one as her first is in Ottawa. Btw – a very impressive Gov Gen who has been to space and speaks six languages plus lots more. Note chandeliers meant to look like icicles.
Then on to the lovely Chateau Frontenac Hotel – am old Canadian Pacific Railway Hotel now owned by Fairmont. I stayed here over 20 years ago and this time I did the one hour tour which was fun.
A train trip from Quebec City to Baie St Paul – the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil. The train runs along the St Lawrence River although as the tide was out there was a lot of mud – but still it was a very nice two hour journey.
En route we travelled past the famous and very high Montmorency Falls (1.5 times the height of Niagara).
And then a quick visit to the Quebec City old fruit and veg market. Love the way they displayed their produce. And the pretty building is the train station in Quebec City with the cool fountain in front of it.
Last time I was in Montreal was when I worked for HSBC Canada in the mid 90s. First stop was actually HSBC to get some cash and I’m pretty sure that was a branch I had visited once before.
Montreal is bilingual and not only has two languages in common use it also has a distinct old and new town to explore. The coloured building below is a convention centre and the weird shaped apartment block is called Habitat 67 and was designed for the World Fair by Moshe Safdie. It aimed to utilise minimal space while also ensure every apartment would get maximum natural light. Way ahead of its time.
A highlight for me was the stunning Basilica of Notre Dame with beautiful blue interiors. It is built on a slope so everyone – including the people at the back – gets a great view. It is an Anglican basilica from the 1800s but includes a lot of Jewish as well as Christian histories and it was designed by a Roman Catholic Irishman!
Finally I wandered past the McCord Museum and saw they had a Balenciaga exhibit on – so I absolutely had to stop in and take a look. Lovely.
Lovely to be back in Quebec even though it was pouring with rain.
First stop the spectacular St Anne Canyon and waterfalls. It was warm but very wet hence was forced to purchase on of those ponchos I always swore I’d never wear – but I guess “never say never”! Even in the wet this was a great trail.
Then a visit to Iles D’Orleans which is pretty and houses some very “local wineries” where everything is done by hand from presssing to labeling and they mostly specialise in ice wine.