Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Québec City!

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I don’t really have that much to say about our recent, quick visit to Québec City as all we did—apart from the concert—is what we always do there: amble about, do a little shopping, look at art, enjoy the romantic “old city” feel of the place, and eat at great restaurants. We were not bored, but it’ not much to write home about. But Jean took such great pictures there, I have to say something!

Quebec City street


It did strike me, this time, how we never, ever seem to stay at the same place twice when we visit. We were spotting our past hotels all over. This time out, of course, was a new one, Hotel le Grande Allée, just outside the gates of Old Quebec. Having achieved cost reductions by using travel points, it was by far the biggest room we have ever had in Québec City: It featured not only a sitting room, but two full bedrooms. Interesting, but rather more than a couple requires.

Gates to Old Quebec

Gates to Old Quebec, just down from our hotel

It was on a super-busy street, teaming with bars, cafes, and restaurants that were going strong Saturday night. So can affirm the hotel had pretty good sound proofing. Steep to park there, though.


The weekend weather could not have been better for our visit: Sunny both days, with a high around 21.

Hotel Frontenac and field

The weather, she be perfect


For meals, we went to the reliable Crémaillère for dinner before the concert, and found it still had excellent service and very fine food. I shall have to contact Where to Eat in Canada to see why they don’t list it.

Sunday lunch was at a randomly selected place where I had a great platter of antipasto’s like duck pate, house-smoked salmon, roasted red peppers, prociutto, and olives. Jean had the cheese platter (no surprise).

Quebec terasse

We had lunch on a térasse something like this. (And yes, this is a photo of Jean’s)

Sunday dinner was the coolest, though, as we went to restaurant Toast!, which was entirely enjoyable. We were able to dine in their recently “open for the season” covered patio, which has a very neat atmosphere. Service was great but not stuffy, as evidenced by the staff uniform of a red plaid shirt over black pants. And their menu is just appetizers—no main courses. Which was perfect, because we weren’t starved, but everything sounded so good.

So we were able to share four: An amazing mushroom crostini; very nice asparagus and crab; le foie gras, specialty of the house; and a lamb and gnochi creation. Each with a matching glass of wine. The small serving sizes left plenty of room for dessert, which was (big surprise) chocolate for me, cheese for Jean.


We did look at art, seriously considering one painting (which we’re still considering), but made only small-ticket purchases while there, of items such as chocolate truffles. And shoe laces. (Really.)

Street art

This piece of street art was not for sale


We had two near encounters with the student protestors: we heard their pots clanging away nearby while having lunch, then after visiting the Assemblée Nationale at night. We returned to our hotel room, turned on the TV, and saw a “live” shot of protestors at the Assemblée Nationale. Meaning they must have arrived five, ten minutes after we left.

Assemblee Nationale fountain

Assemblée Nationale shortly before being overrun by student protestors

I admire their tenacity, but jeez I wish they would put it toward something actually worth fighting for!


Our audiobook for the journey was Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore. It was the first book of his either of us had read, and we both really liked it. Very interesting weaving of all these Impressionist painters with a fantastical element. It also allowed us to great enjoyment out of lines such as “Accident. Couldn’t be helped.” and “Not that Prussian shit!”, which no one understood but us. That’s always fun.

More photos in the gallery

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