The old town in Quebec City was very much like old parts of many European cities, either in France, Belgium or Austria (depending on the street I couldn’t decide what it reminds me of). The architecture was very similar, the streets were narrow in the European way. Even the overall atmosphere felt much like in Europe. It gave me a hard time sometimes as it felt weird being there knowing very well I’m in Canada. But on the other hand, what else to expect from the city with so much French and British influence? Quebec City is over 400 years old which makes it one of the oldest cities in North America, and the only one north of Mexico City that still has old city walls. In 1985 the Old Quebec made it to UNESCO World’s Heritage List as one of the only 3 still inhabited places in North America.
I was advised to bring good walking shoes to Quebec. It sounded kind of silly to me, until I’ve realized the city’s location. The old town lies on the high cliff above St. Lawrence River and is divided to the upper and lower parts. And boy, the walking there is pretty challenging sometimes with all the uphills and downhills, some of them being really steep (at least there’s a funicular if you don’t feel like walking all the way up) But it has some good sides too: thanks to the hilly location the city is very picturesque and has so many places to offer stunning views of it (more about it in another post).
Even if the city offered lower rates for inhabitants to live within the city walls and start their businesses there I had a feeling that the Old Town is mostly for tourists. It was beautiful and all but it somehow lacked the authenticity to me. On the other hand the life outside the walls (or even on the walls) was going on until late hours. So I think Quebec City has everything you can wish for – it’s pretty big yet feels cozy, it has a beautiful old town and lively neighborhoods just outside it. And it has a really awesome nature getaways very close from the center (they deserve a separate post too).
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Within the city walls there are so many buildings and so many streets that deserves your attention that the best you can do is walking aimlessly around – you can be sure to discover some more hidden gems around each corner that guidebooks don’t really tell about. The most distinctive building there is Chateau Fronterac that overlook the whole city and is easily spotted ever from far away. The Chateau is actually a hotel, probably the most photographed one in the world. I must admit it looks really impressive. I had a really lovely time in Quebec and I really wouldn’t mind returning there!
And you, would you like to visit Quebec City?
If you think of visiting Canada or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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