Since arriving in Montreal last August (wow, has it really been that long?), we had been eventually planning on venturing out of the city to do some sightseeing in Quebec. And now that the cold, snow, and ice has disappeared for the season, we wanted to visit Quebec City. In case you aren't familiar, it's the capital of the province, and it has a history dating back to the 1600s. We'd heard it was someplace we needed to see, so we jumped in the car and made the 2.5 hr trip last weekend.
After an interstate trip that looked a lot like rural Georgia in spots, we arrived. You might have seen pictures of the old city, but our hotel was in the Saint-Roch area. Quebec City is a lot smaller than Montreal, and we were able to walk to several shops and restaurants that were close to the hotel. This area definitely didn't have the charm we'd heard about, and since it was close to the University of Quebec, there were a lot of young people out and about. On skateboards. Making noise. Yes, we're old. We didn't venture into the historic part on the first day, but we did have a good dinner at a French place called Pied Bleu.
On Sunday morning, we took the bus to the historic district, and after an excellent breakfast sandwich/coffee at Paillard, we met at the designated spot for our walking tour. We usually do walking food tours in new places/countries if available, but since those options didn't look that appealing, we stuck to just walking. Our guide was very friendly and knowledgeable, and as a lifelong resident, she was able to explain the history in ways we'd never be able to research. The other people on the tour were mostly American tourists, and since Quebec gets a lot of cruise ship dockings, let's just say we were the youngest people on the tour. But everyone was very friendly.
Even though we aren't history buffs, the architecture was quite amazing to see. Quebec is one of the oldest cities in North America, and it's the only walled city outside of Mexico. It also has a lot of the narrow, winding streets that are common in many European cities. And there are a LOT of steep hills. So many that there's a "funiculaire" (cable car) in the middle of the city for when your feet have had enough and you just want to get back to where you started without walking uphill.
After our tour finished, we had lunch at a crepe place, and then I took a solo walk to the top of the embankment overlooking the city. It used to be a military installation, and now it provides an amazing view of the entire skyline. The weather was gorgeous, and I ended up getting a nasty sunburn on my neck because my skin hasn't really seen the sun since last year.
There's not necessarily a lot to do in Quebec activity-wise, so a weekend is probably the most you'd want to spend there. There are some surrounding rural areas that we heard were fun to visit (even a blackberry farm/winery that we wanted to check out), but a lot of those businesses haven't opened for the season yet. The crowds in the historic district already seemed a bit uncomfortably large, so I can't imagine what they're like in the high season.
If you ever visit Montreal, I'd highly recommend taking a couple days and driving up to Quebec. Just make sure to wear sunscreen.