Canadian Border Agent: Why are you travelling to Canada?
Me: We want to eat croissants.
CBA: don't you have croissants where you come from?
Me: Yes, but we've heard the ones in Quebec are MUCH better!
CBA: (extends him arm to hand back our passports with a big wide smile) Enjoy your KWUH-SAHN! (croissant with thick French accent)
and just like that, EVERYTHING was in French. The street signs, advertisements... all French. Road markings are mainly the same. We made sure our GPS had the latest Canadian map and also featured gas stations and restaurants if we had any travel needs. Yes, gasoline is extremely expensive up there.
It was a long drive to Quebec City. But when we arrived... it was like being in Europe, except people are nicer and prices are reasonable.
I was taking a pic of the family when a guy speaking only French offered to take the pic so I could jump in. Hand over a $800 camera to a complete stranger who does not speak the same language? sure.
They close off Rue St Jean each evening. We spent that time strolling up and down sampling food and local beverages from the various café'.
We stayed within the fortified old city, at the Manoir Victoria. I had researched croissant places months ahead, and one was just outside our hotel window.
We loved Paillard and enjoyed breakfast here every morning. for $7.99 you get croissant with egg, cheese, bacon/ham, a fruit cup and a coffee.
Local wine and steak tartare at Le Hobbit.
We ate quite a bit of steak/salomn tartare. #1 son LOVES the stuff and always requests it, unless there is a "soup of the day", he's a sucker for that too.
Walking back to the Hotel after dinner, we heard live music and laughter coming from this alley across the street. Kat and I went back to check out local music and blanche.
The crowd sang along with a guy that quickly ripped through CCR and Johnny Cash songs. A group of happy girls did some line dancing. They also had an impromptu exhibition of strength (arm wrestling). Pitchers of Blanche were going down easily in the Bar Les Yeux Bleus!
I prefer to explore a city by foot. I can walk for miles. #2 son has shorter legs. When he spotted that double decker site seeing bus, I knew resistance was futile. When Kat saw the shuttle service to the Montmorency Falls with cable car ride, I knew it was best to go along for the ride. We were real tourists on guided tours! The extra history lessons were a nice addition that I did enjoy.
Quebec was experiencing a heat wave. I thought it was funny at first, but it was hot and humid.
We had just one hour between our city tour on the double decker bus, and the shuttle to the falls. We needed lunch in that time as well. I had resigned to being raped by some place that had a great location. I ended up being surprised.
Bistro 1640, I'd go back again, they were not cheap, but I didn't feel like they took advantage of me (or maybe I'm easy?).
BLANCHE DE CHAMBLY! great service too. The nearly $20 for a salad didn't surprise me, but it came with shrimp and a choice of soup or liver pate'! not a bad deal at all! It was all delicious, a pleasant surprise.
So good it deserves its own portrait.
Poutine, Ceasar Salad with shrimp and Steelhead Tartare.
Cable car ride at Montmorency Falls.
Pedestrian bridge over the falls.
Crepe stop on Rue St Jean, a touch more of the blanche.
Escargot! #2 son tried one and liked it. The other two kids picked at the cheese and sopped up the garlic butter with bread.
We'd arranged reservations at Chez Boulay for the evening.
Everybody was well worn down by our 8 PM table time. I was the bad guy asking the family to resist the urge to use electronic devices at the table. I should have explained my expectations ahead of time. My general rule for fancy restaurants (ones that require reservations, have cloth napkins and pour the water from a bottle not a pitcher) is to refrain from gazing and poking at an iDevice for extended periods of time. Everybody was a bit cranky and my urges were not well received. The food was good, especially the goose and duck confit.
(pic above was taken the morning after we ate at Chez Boulay, when everybody was in better spirits following a good nights sleep). We mostly enjoyed the duck/goose confit as we drove to Montreal. Kat would load up a crispy (old) baguette slice with confit and we ate as we drove along at 100 KPH. It was greatly appreciated.