A weekend of bike tours in Montreal prompted us to go to Canada. After years of drooling over images of Quebec City, we decided to drive the extra three hours and also visit Quebec City.
Quebec was everything I heard it was -- more French than France (stop signs say ARRET instead of STOP), "Old World" charm in a relatively new city, and old walls to walk around. It was easy to pretend we were in Paris.
We stayed in the center of the Old City at the Jardin de St. Anne (Ashley cannot seem to avoid St. Anne wherever she goes we find Mary's mother haunting us). It was a quirky hotel with a spinning wheel decorating a hallway and lots of exposed stone walls. In addition to being downtown, one of its best features was that it had a dining room on the first floor where you could bring a meal and eat it at "home."
It is a wonderful city for walking, and a miserable city for driving -- which suits us perfectly. Once we parked the car, we did not need it until we left town.
It is also a very hilly city. Our first clue of how hilly it is should have been when we learned about the funicular and saw stairs and elevators linking streets together. Between the stairs and the cobblestones, it is not the most bike friendly city. I did see a lot of people out running, so it is a good place to go for hill training.
My favorite part of the city was just walking around and soaking up French. I chuckled when when I saw an "Ecoliers" bus. I rolled my eyes at phrases such as "fin de la semaine" instead of "le weekend," which the French use. I think I could have spent days just sitting on benches eavesdropping on conversations in French. In some ways, a foreign language is like riding a bicycle -- you might not use the skill for a few years, but it comes back to you.
Eating was another big treat. Lots of restaurants. We left our eating comfort zone and had crepes instead of sandwiches (so it wasn't a big stretch).
Beautiful weather also helps, and we had picture perfect days.