travel journal: a week in quebec

one final summer hurrah

A few years ago, we did a family trip up to Quebec in September. It was my final year in college, and, thanks to quarter system, we had just enough time for a last summer hurrah in early September.

Why Quebec? Well, to be honest, I was probably still hyped up on French, having just studied abroad in Paris the year before. It was foreign enough to feel fresh, but also not too crazy a trip to plan.

We spent a week in Quebec, splitting our days between Montreal and Quebec City, and renting a car to drive in between. The weather was perfect. Sunny, but not too hot. Blue skies all around. Perfect for walking around and exploring.

My impressions: Montreal is a really cool city. It exudes culture while still feeling urban. Quebec City on the other hand, is about as close you can get to a quaint European town without leaving the continent, and I for one was perfectly content wandering its cobblestone streets and pretending the central hotel was a castle. 

Most importantly, this trip marks the first time I encountered the kouign amann. The beginning of an undying love for the Brittany pastry. And because of this, and this fact alone, this trip is an important part of my life and worldview. ūüėá

day one: arrive in montreal

flew into Montreal in the late afternoon. 

<<<< grabbed a light dinner at a nearby cafe.

Cafe Aunja

day two: montreal to
quebec city

brunch before hitting the road for the drive up to Quebec city

<<< very important pit stop

yes, they sell kouign amanns by the slice.

yes, as my first encounter, i thought this was the norm for a long time

LE CARTET: Website // Yelp


trois rivieres, port neuf

days three + four: quebec city

Ah yes, the hotel. Perhaps the most picturesque hotel on this continent. It looks regal, straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, something that feels too charming to be an actual functioning hotel in the 21st century. Something that feels too storied to exist on this side of the Atlantic. And around it, the cutest old town. We stayed at an Airbnb a short distance away, so it was easy to walk over to the town center without having to live in the midst of all the river cruise tourists.  

scenes from the charming streets of vieux quebec

two sides of the same river

of course the other side was so quiet it almost felt like trespassing on a private community…

moment of appreciation for these pristinely maintained facades 

is this not the most european looking place outside of europe? 

and then you add horse=drawn carriages and we’re officially in a fairytale

checking out the local market to make use of that airbnb kitchen

The side trips:

–¬†Mount Morency falls

–¬†Sainte Anne de Beaupre

– Chaudiere falls

perhaps the best part of exploring canada with a car is the abundance of nature just a short drive away

but did u even go to canada if u didn’t eat poutine?

these cheese curds were a little too bouncy imo

fromagerie victoria


day five + six: back to montreal

After a few easy days in Quebec City, it was back to Montreal. While Quebec City is pretty much a tourist destination, Montreal is a true city, one that has its own things going on besides tourism. In the few days spent there, I don’t really recall getting a good sense of the city. I got the sense they have a good food culture, that it seems like a cool place to live, culturally, but we pretty much stayed in the main touristy areas, which, as most touristy parts of town do, got a little tired.¬†

I think it’d be interesting to visit for a business trip, or something that allows for a little more quotidien exploration.

Montreal is a very architecturally beautiful city. 

St. Joseph‚Äôs Oratory – basically what I decided to equate as Montreal’s Sacre-Coeur. Kind of because of the domed architecture…but mostly because of the many many stairs it takes to get up there.

But like Montmatre, it’s always worth it for the views.

the eats

montreal does carbs well.

these cannolis are still some of the best I’ve ever had

as for the bagel situation, i love how passionately people feel towards bagels in general, but i’m pretty agnostic towards bagels at large

maison Christian faure // website

la cornetteria // WEBSITE

fairmount bagels // WEBSITE

st viateur BAGELs // WEBSITE

marche jean-talon // WEBSITE

On day seven, we took an early flight out of Montreal. I think it was a solid amount of time to spend there. Any more time, and, like any family, we’d probably drive each other crazy. Any less time and it would have felt more stressful and rushed.¬†

Canada is one of those places I always think to visit, but never prioritize. Because it’s *right there*, like America’s hat, theoretically easy to get to, easy to plan. No language barrier for the most part. But because of the accessibility, I never end up going. I think my next trip to Canada though will be focused on the west side, perhaps Vancouver paired with a healthy dose of nature at a national park.¬†

[ Last Edited: AUGUST 2018 | Last Visited: SEPTEMBER 2015 ]

see also

a wandering guide to paris
the los angeles guide