Trip Report. August 6 – 10, 2012 - Trip to Celebrate 25 year anniversary. I will post reviews of our restaurants and hotel separately. We hope this is useful.
Monday: Arrived late afternoon. Had a little difficulty finding the parking garage underneath City Hall. It is not clear that it is open because there is a garage door that closes the entrance, and of course the signage is in French. A young lady saw us trying to figure it out and explained it to us. What a nice experience with the first person we met in Quebec! It turns out that you enter your credit card, the machine gives it back, and then the door opens and you drive in and self park. There was plenty of room. There is also a pedestrian entrance that you can open with your credit card. That was useful since we bought some stuff and could drop off at our car during the week. We walked the block to our hotel and checked into Auberge Place d’Armes. We strolled along Rue St. Jean and had a great meal at the Casse-Crepe Breton. On the way back to hotel, found a pub that had a decent beer selection, D'Orsay Restaurant-Pub, and watched the Olympics and was fun to see how the coverage was centered on the Canadian athletes (as it should have been).
Tuesday: Bike tour of Lower Town with Cyclo Services. It was an easy ride, fun, and very informative (ask for Raymond – he has great knowledge of the city and of the history of Quebec). Then we found a farmers market by the port across the street from Rue St. Paul. It was very nice with lots of quality produce, fish, meats, etc. We bought some excellent strawberries and made them our lunch. Then we went for a run in Plains of Abraham. That is easy to get to by going out the gate at Rue St. Louis. Then we took a stroll around the lower town and had an early dinner at Le Lapin Saute. Then we walked down to the tents by the port area to see the Cirque Du Soleil showing of AmaLuna. We had never seen such a show before. It was simply amazing! I had bought expensive, close-up tickets and they were great, but it looked like most seats would have been just fine. Note: don’t buy the $8.50 glass of wine before the show-very bad. It had rained during the show and we were happy it stopped because it didn’t look like there were any cabs and it would have been a long walk back in the rain. In retrospect, since there was a chance of rain, we would have driven since there was ample parking.
Wednesday: Walked along wall from Artillery Park to Citadel. Then we went to the observatory that is on top of the Parliament Building. That was a very good way to get to see the city and we had it mostly to ourselves. For lunch we stopped by the L Atelier Tartares Et Cocktail on Grande Allee Est (continuation of RueSt. Louis) and loved our lunch there. Then we took an early dinner (5:00 p.m. so we could order off the lunch menu) at Aux Anciens Canadians. In the evening we went to the free show of LES CHEMINS INVISIBLES. We actually bought the $18 reserved tickets so we had a seat. I would highly recommend that since it was really crowded and many people couldn’t see very well – a bit of a zoo. Alternately, get there very early and try to get into the stands to the right as you enter. Those seats were the best. The show was amazing! Then we watched fireworks from Dufferin Terrace. That wasn’t a great place to view but was OK. Should have tried to figure that out better.
Thursday: Went down to lower town and my wife (she is an angel!) went into the shops to find gifts for our kids and relatives while I enjoyed some beers and poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese) at an outdoor café. Before dinner we went to have a Martini at the bar in Château Frontenac. We just wanted to check it out. We were in jeans and I had a polo shirt and were not sure if this would meet their “smart casual” dress code. No worries, there were some guests in tee shirts and shorts. It was very nice and not as expensive as we thought. The service and Martinis were perfect. Then we had dinner at the Creperie du Petit Chateau and afterwards went to see The Image Mill (note, bring an umbrella). A few general comments: We loved the Old Town part of the city. It is very beautiful and quaint and easy and safe. It was very relaxing. We should have found out where we could have found some music at night. Some of the restaurants had some soft music with dinner, but we had hoped to find some local bands. The Old Town really shut down after ~11 p.m. The garden around the statue of Joan of Ark in Plains Of Abraham Park was gorgeous. We wanted, one morning, to find a café where we could enjoy coffee and espresso outside, but could not find a spot and spent 20 painful minutes in the crowded Starbucks that is attached to Château Frontenac. We loved how the waitresses all said “perfect” when you ordered and voilà when the food was presented!