Confirmed: my favorite part of my grand detour was my trip to Quebec City.
We stayed in Old Quebec, a little bit outside the walls. Old Quebec was a fortified city, and the walls have been maintained through the years. The walls reminded me of my history lessons: cities were fortified to protect inhabitants from invaders, and at the center or least accessible part of the city is where the royals or generals lived (those living closer to the walls were expendable). Nerd-ing aside, the old town itself was beautiful and well-maintained; Old Quebec is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List (Historic District of Old Québec).
Why I love Old Quebec:
- the old town vibe without the old town smell
- the cobblestones and general walkability of the area
- the walls surrounding the old city and the leveling: upper and lower
- the boutique shops, independent bookstores, and boreal restaurants
- the Chateau Frontenac and the view of the Saint Lawrence river
We declared the Chateau Frontenac (Fairmont) our home base. We frequented 1608 Bar while we were there because it was such a great place to unwind. I really liked Bistro Le Sam because of the natural light and the scenic view. For coffee, we visited three out of the four locations of Cafe La Maison Smith in Old Quebec; the one on rue Notre-Dame was my favorite.
PS: Everyone spoke French in Quebec City. I noticed that it was a tiny bit harder for the locals to switch between English and French in Quebec City than in Montreal. It was still quite easy to get by, and this is coming from someone who speaks zero French. The biggest hurdle: all of the books were in French, so I couldn’t read any of the local works.