February 10 - Quebec City, Quebec

Stepping outside the hotel front door, it was immediately apparent that I was no longer in a place like any other in Canada. A change from the traditional Maritime province style wood buildings to the European stone and brick was one thing. Walking down the street to hear only French being spoken and not a single multinational logo on any shop down Rue St. Jean was also something different to the very commercialised world we now live in.

To get to Rue St. Jean, the main restaurant street and route to the old town (Vieux Quebec) I had to walk a block to a lift (elevator) that took me up the side of the cliff face, about the height of about 3 storeys. Upper Quebec (Haute Ville) is on a hill that has cliffs on all sides apart from the North East which is protected by the city wall that goes all the way around the old town.

From here I walked down Rue St. Jean to the entrance to the walled city. In front of the gate is Place d’Youville where the world’s biggest winter carnival really begins. The streets were suddenly full with people and things going on. Ice skating, snow and ice sculptures, musicians and other entertainers were everywhere.

I had not yet had breakfast so I walked to the end of the street to a nice little traditional French style bakery.

After feasting on freshly baked croissants and hot chocolate I wandered back along the inside of the city wall to Rue St Louis and where the snow sculptures lined the walk way to the huge Ice Palace. This is built from blocks of ice and uses nothing but snow and ice in its construction. This thing is pretty big!

On the Plaines D’Abraham the carnival had constructed what is called Village Mister Christie. Here a lot of activities and fun was happening all day and night for the entire 17 day length of the carnival.

After an exhausting 7 hours of wandering about the city enjoying the carnival and the canoe race across the frozen Saint Lawrence River I headed back to the hotel to relax. At 9pm I went back to the Ice Palace and was just in time for a light and music show where they illuminate the palace which is very impressive to see. I sat and watched ice skating in front of the Capitol Theatre Hotel where a fiddler played as people danced and skated seemingly unaware of the –18 degree Celsius temperatures.

Related Pages

Travel Guide - Quebec
Travel Guide - Quebec City
Photographs of Quebec City

Travel Diary

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