Fairmont Le Château Frontenac & Terrasse Dufferin | Fortifications de Québec & Assemblée Nationale du Québec | Lower Town (Basse-Ville) to Upper Town (Haute-Ville) : Funiculaire du Vieux Québec | Rue Du Trésor | Quartier Petit Champlain
We arrived in Vieux (Old) Québec at 9:30am off the VIA Rail Canada. I absolutely, 100%, recommend this method of transportation. The four of us sat facing eachother & were able to complete NINE games of euchre. Card games are a road trip must – they pass the time & we had a blast. Plus, Vieux Québec is compact & easily walkable, so we didn’t need to worry about a car once inside the city walls.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac & Terrasse Dufferin
Vieux Québec is the crown jewel of French Canada & if you’re coming for the first time, look out – there’s simply no other place like it in North America. Much like a European City, cobblestone streets, rich in history, wind through the 17th century buildings, telling stories as you follow. Vieux Québec was founded in 1608 & is laden with small details & elegant charm.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is a grand hotel in Québec City. Yes, you can actually stay at this beautiful castle-like hotel pictured in the background.. It is generally recognized as the most photographed hotel in the world, largely for it’s prominence in the skyline of Québec City. In Vieux Québec, you can see the Frontenac from anywhere – just look up into the horizon.
Did you know? King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco, Ronald Reagan, Prince Andrew, Lady Sarah Ferguson, Charles Lindberg, Alfred Hitchcock, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill , & countless other personalities have graced Fairmont Le Château Frontenac with their presence.
Stroll down Terrasse Dufferin (the wooden boardwalk I am jumping on) to catch a glimpse of the incomparable views of the Frontenac & St. Lawrence River, During our visit, a firework show was presented over the river, & a large crowd of us gathered around street performers on the Terrace to watch the sky light up as we gazed in awe.
Fortifications de Québec & Assemblée Nationale du Québec
Vieux Québec is the only place north of Mexico where you can actually see a walled city! The fortifications of Québec are close to 4.6 km (2.85 m) in length. This national historic site is very well preserved & commemorates the defence system between 1608 and 1871 in Québec – Canada’s main stronghold during the colonial period.
On the other side of the wall, atop Parliament Hill, you can see Assemblée Nationale du Québec – composed of the Lieutenant- Governor & the National Assembly.
Lower Town (Basse-Ville) to Upper Town (Haute-Ville) : Funiculaire du Vieux Quebec
So what’s a funicular? A funicular is a mountainside, cable railroad. If you look closely, you can see Funiculaire du Vieux Québec pictured below & to the right of the Frontenac – seperating Lower Town (Basse-ville) from Upper Town (Haute-ville).
Haute-ville is rich in heritage with the citadelle, century old houses, historic sites & landmarks (such as our beloved Château Frontenac) & unique surroundings.
Basse-ville is an exceedingly charming area, as it is the oldest of Old Quebec. At it’s center, you can find Place Royal (the historic market square pictured to the right), narrow streets, stylish boutiques, popular restarants, & chic galleries. This area is home to about 850 people. 850 very lucky people. Can you imagine waking up every morning, walking out your front door, & stepping into the 17th century?
Rue Du Trésor
Rue Du Trésor (or Artist Alley) is a unique site situated in the heart of Vieux Québec. This open-air gallery is found in a narrow alley called Treasure Street. Nice etchings, prints, & watercolors can be found all in one place, & from French speaking locals! If you are looking for a souvenier less tacky than a t-shirt or coffee mug, Rue Du Trésor is the place. The street is as lively as ever, well lit, & covered in lovely awnings. This is a must-see.
Quartier Petit Champlain
Winner of the 2014 “Best Street in Canada” Award (yeah, I didn’t know that existed either). But it’s true – Quartier Petit Champlain has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Go during the day, & then go back to see it all lit up at night. In addition to the 900 sq ft painted mural that represents the history of the district in 1759, this little street has bountiful “fur” boutiques (Canada gets pretty cold in the winter), restaurants, and entertainment. This area is truly magical.