Quebec City – day 2

Posted on: March 2, 2012

Writing is addictive! Once I started one post yesterday, all I could think this morning at my office was writing part 2 of my trip! Yes, sharing my experience is as exciting as planning and the trip itself! And I genuinely hope, I can help other travelers out there to explore the cities ūüôā So, here is my journey in Quebec City on the second day, which was happened to be Christmas day!

What could be more perfect than waking up on Christmas day and looking outside the window where all the grounds were white! YES! I was having a PERFECT WHITE CHRISTMAS! ūüėÄ We had a quick continental breakfast in the hotel since it was included when we booked our room. Then, we walked toward Old Quebec. Although the map showed that Old Quebec was a bit far from our hotel, we enjoyed the walk along Rue St. Louis. (Because I took lots lots and lots of pictures hahaha… and plus the white snow made the picture looked so bright and fresh!). The houses and restaurants along this street had rustic style with stones wall – which I LOVE! It felt like we were in Europe!¬†The funny thing that my brother noticed was that some of the duplex house has “1/2” in its number! Just like in Harry Potter – remember Platform 9 3/4 ?!


Rue St. Louis – beautiful architecture & unique house #

Passing Consulate General de France building, we arrived at the intersection of Rue St. Louis and Rue des Carrieres where Fairmont-Le Chateau de Frontenac was on our right. This hotel is one of Quebec City landmarks and it has the pretties view overlooking the Saint Lawrence river. We decided to look inside and as soon as I walked into the lobby, I fell in love with it – ¬†unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to spend our money to stay at this nice hotel ūüė¶ or maybe one day we will hahaha… The hotel lobby was decorated with dark wood wall and there were lots of chandeliers at the ceiling. It was so warm and inviting, yet it felt so¬†luxurious. What made it prettier was the Christmas decoration: trees, lights, wreaths. You can actually have a guided tour of the hotel at certain time for $9.50 (adult) but we didn’t join the tour; check out this website for rates & schedules.

Saint Lawrence river

Fairmont (Le Chateau de Frontenac) & the interior

During winter time, there is a wooden sledding ramp that angled in 45 degree! And you can rent the wooden slate for some cost – I totally forgot – my best guess was around $5-10 per person (*update* info from my friend, it was actually only $2.50!). When we were there, the operators of the sled were still doing some test runs. Although it looked like the sled could go in a crazy speed, it was NOT! When we watched the test run, it was ok speed. Later, my friend – whom we met there coincidentally- tried it with her nephew and she said it was a must try experience – one in a lifetime! hahaha…

Wooden sled!

Outside the Fairmont, there is a statue of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City. The statue looked so pretty in contrast to the white snow covering it. Right behind it is Old Quebec Funicular. The funicular is a slanted elevator that connects Haute-Ville (Upper Town) to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town) (wikipedia). Once you arrive at the Lower Town, you are already at the famous Petit Champlain area where lots of unique stores and restaurants are.¬†Unfortunately, the funicular was closed on Christmas day – are you seeing a “pattern” here? During our trip, some of the attractions and restaurants that we wanted to go or try were closed! I guess traveling during Christmas was not a good time, eh?! Another way to get to the Lower Town is through a stairs¬†located to the left of the Funicular. It is a bit hidden but try to find a yellow map at the top of the stairs. Once you are at the bottom of the stairs, turn to the right where there are some shops and follow the road until you find the¬†Breakneck Stairs. This oldest stairways with 59 steps was built in 1635! It is the iconic picture spot for tourist since it overlooks the pretty Petit Champlain area.

Samuel de Champlain statue with Funicular at the back


L: The Funicular; R: The yellow map near the stair leading to Lower Town

Before we explored Petit Champlain, we wanted to browse Old Quebec area first. At the end of Rue St. Louis, turn left to Rue du Fort. There is a Musee du Fort, a museum about Quebec City history. Across the building, there is Quebec Tourism information building. Along this road, there are lots of tourist shops and restaurant. Since it was freaking cold and I started shivering, we went into some souvenirs shops that were opened on Christmas day to warm ourselves. On Rue de Buade, there is Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral. We really wanted to see the inside of the church but again, it closed ūüė¶ We then walked along Cote de la Fabrique where Simons department store is but it was closed! *double sighs*


L: The street near Quebec Tourism information; R: look at those snow & icicles!

Notre-Dame de Quebec Cathedral

It was almost lunch time and we were super hungry from the cold weather. So, we walked along Rue Saint-Jean to find any restaurant that opened. We saw Le Casse Crepe Breton¬†and it wasn’t that crowded so we decided to went in. Little did we know, it was actually a popular restaurant in Old Quebec. While we were waiting, the line-ups began. Coincidentally, we met our friend from Vancouver here! So, they joined us for lunch. However, the wait seemed like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I know that the restaurant only has couple tables but the servers were just very slow. They seemed to take their time to clean and prepare the tables for the guests. Since my friend¬†convinced¬†me that the restaurant was one of the recommended ones, we patiently waited. After about 40 minutes, we finally seated but we had to wait for another 8-10 minutes to order our food *even when we told the waitress that we were ready to order, the waitress said that she was still busy and kept us waiting* The price of the crepe was very cheap in my opinion – around $5-6. I ordered sweet crepe: Pomme et Suisse (Apple and Swiss cheese) and my fiancee & brother ordered the savory crepes. For the savory crepe, you can pick 2 ingredients for $6 or choose some suggestions in the menu. For me, the crepe was just okay *well, not my style of crepe*. The apple and swiss cheese combination were a bit odd for me but I managed to finish it all since I was starving – while my friend who ordered the same just left a big chunk.
If you have any chance, try Paillard! My friend said the paninis were super delicious! We tried to go there twice but it was always too late at night.


L: Crepe at Casse Crepe Breton; R: Paillard on Rue Saint-Jean

After the lunch, we walked toward Marche du Vieux-Port de Quebec¬†since we heard that there was a German Christmas market there. After walking on slippery downhill road along Cote Dinan, we arrived on Rue Saint Paul where the market is. However, the lady luck was not with us and as you guess it, it was CLOSED! Arghhhh… I was frustrated! My friend suggested that we went back to Fairmont area but we had no idea how to get there by bus ūüė¶ So, we walked all the way…

Marche du Vieux-Port de Quebec

As I said before, the Funicular was closed and we had to take stairs to go down to the Lower Town. Actually, we had no idea where the Petit Champlain was. But as soon as we were at the bottom of the stairs, we saw a bunch of people to the right. Following my curious¬†instinct, we walked toward the crowd and voila, there was the Breakneck Stairs! Boy, it was a SUPERB view…. Christmas decoration along Boulevard Champlain combined with white snow on the stairs were just lovely! Yes, there will be a line up to take picture of this iconic view but be patient to take turns and be considerate to others *unlike a woman who tried to force me to out of her camera view by yelling – NOT NICE, woman! It’s a tourist area!*

Breakneck Stairs overlooking Boulevard Champlain – picture doesn’t do justice… it was so pretty! esp. with the snow!

Anyway, as soon as I saw the Christmasy decor along the Petit Champlain, I forgot that rude woman hahaha… There were Christmas trees along this street which made it super Christmasy! And then I got a surprise to find a restaurant who serves everything rabbit in the menu called Le Lapin Saute! If you ask me if I was disgusted as a rabbit owner? Hm… my feeling was mixed… In one side, I just couldn’t imagine my rabbit on the plate as food; but on the other side, I really wanted to try the food – and yes, I think I ate rabbit satay many years ago ¬†since it was a common food in my home country. My friend and her family decided to eat at Le Lapin Saute while we kept going along the street since we weren’t that hungry. Later, my friend texted me that the food was really good! And when we decided to eat there for dinner, the restaurant declined us since it was fully booked! *bummer* Anyway, I forced my fiancee to take a lot of pictures of me in front of the restaurant hahahaha….


Rue Petit Champlain – the prettiest street shop! Le Lapin Saute is the bottom picture on the far left.

While walking on this street, we saw a lot of people ate mapple taffy. It is a Canadian sweets where the mapple syrup poured on top of the snow, rolled into a stick, and ate as lollipop. Again, I followed my instinct and found the shop just at the very end of the street. While I was doing research for the trip, I was obsessed to find store that sells mapple taffy and I was so happy that I found it! It was $2 for a stick. However, I was hoping that I could rolled the taffy by myself but the seller gave me the one that already rolled… A bit disappointed but it was not a big deal – because later, I would have a chance to do it in Montreal! YAY! The mapple taffy was SUPER good! It’s hard but once you put it in your mouth, it melts immediately. NYUM! Beside the taffy shop, you can find the beautiful Petit Champlain Fresco.

Mapple Taffy

On our way back toward the start of Boulevard Champlain, I was¬†intrigued¬†to entered a shop called T-Dingue¬†because its sign was a cute pig. It turned out that this boutique sells T-shirts, kitchen apron, tote bags, and other¬†miscellaneous¬†items that have logo of Le Lapin Saute and Le Cochon Dingue restaurants. As soon as I saw the tote bag with rabbit picture from Le Lapin Saute logo, I bought it – although my fiance kept telling me it was just a waste of money hahhahaha…

We then moved along toward¬†Place Royale. This area is the oldest French settlement in America (wikipedia). In this area, you can find Notre-dame-des-Victoires,¬†Centre d’interpr√©tation de Place-Royale¬†(where you can watch 3D presentation of¬†neighborhood’s¬†history!), and other historic attractions. Walk a couple houses, you can find the famous¬†Mural of Quebecers. Again, there was a bit line up to take turn for the pictures but we managed to snap some good shots ūüôā

Frescos: L- Petit Champlain Fresco near the taffy shop; Middle & R: Mural of Quebecers

Continuing, we had no ideas where we wanted to go anymore since all the attractions that I researched were already checked off from my list. Then, I opened my iPhone app:¬†Vive Cite and it showed me attractions nearby where I stood. We then walked along¬†Rue du Sault au Matelot since the app told us there was Place de la FAO fountain at the crossroads of Saint-Paul, Saint-Pierre, and Sault-au-Matelot. However, when we got there, it was nothing there. Just a statue in the middle of frozen fountain while the shops around it were closed *arrrgghhh!* So we just simply took pictures and walked back to Petit Champlain where we got declined by Le Lapin Saute for dinner ūüė¶

Cranky and hungry, we decided to have dinner at Le Cochon Dingue, the only restaurant that still opened at that time. The server was very nice, she asked us if we were able to finish in 1 hour since the table was actually booked. We said yes and promptly seated near the big window. Little did we know, this restaurant was actually a highly rated one in Quebec City! We had no clue what we would eat. My brother ordered a bison burger, while me and my fiancee ordered a Christmas special – when we asked the server what the food was, she had difficulty to explain it and summarized that it was a Quebecois Christmas meal. It turned out that it was a sort of meatball and potato stew served with sweet pickled fruit/ veggie and some sort of¬†shepherd’s¬†pie (see the picture below). I was afraid that the food wouldn’t be filling, but by the end of the meal, my stomach was stuffed! The service was very good. The food came only couple minutes after we ordered and the ambiance was warm and welcoming.


L: Le Cochon Dingue – Quebecois Christmas dinner;
R: “d’abord un sourire, puis un bon cafe” –¬†translation:¬†First¬†a smile, then a good¬†coffee

When we went out from the restaurant, it was already dark but it made Petit Champlain prettier with the little lights lit up! We took couple more pictures along this stunning street. It was just still around 8 pm when we got back to the hotel, yet we were super tired from walking all day. Me and my fiance rested a bit and decided that the night was still young.

Petit Champlain at night

We then headed toward Place D’Youville. There was an outdoor mini skating area during the winter. Nearby, there are two theatres:¬†Palais Montcalm and Capitol Theatre¬†(the rounded building). We took some pictures here and there since there were nobody around during the late night Christmas day. You can see another gate, Porte St. Jean, as a part of fortification wall that marks the beginning of store and restaurant district on Rue St. Jean. My fiancee was hungry but all the places were already close so he bought a sandwich from this small convenience store on an alley. He said the sandwich was terrible hahahaha but at least he was full when he slept.

L: Place D’Youvile: skating ring with Capitol Theatre at the background; Mid: Palais Montcalm; R: Port St. Jean

Yeah… This post is a long entry since we surprisingly covered all the main attractions in ONE day, on FEET, for the WHOLE day! We even overslept a bit the next day since we were too tired ūüėõ


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