Montreal & Quebec Trip Report

Old Oct 30th, 2016, 03:12 PM
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Montreal & Quebec Trip Report

DH and I went to Montreal and Quebec at the end of September. It was a great trip! We are in our 50s, very active, and like museums--especially those that focus on history.

Montreal Hotel
We were flying from the west coast so we had some flight delays. I called the hotel and told them we wouldn't be there till 12:30 or 1:00. Well the taxi driver got the wrong place so we got to the hotel closer to 1:30. We booked rooms in the Lofts du Vieux-Port. (hint--tell the cab driver to go to the Auberge due Vieux-Port hotel in old town). The night manager was very accommodating--he walked us the 2 (very short) blocks to our apartment that was on the corner of Blvd St. Laurent and rue St. Paul. Unfortunately, there had been a mess up with the lock so we sat outside in the nice night air while bar hoppers walked past us--it was a fun, peaceful scene. The night manager finally got the right person to open the door and he even brought us a nice bottle of Pinot Noir for our troubles. The apartment is above a cafe. There was live music Saturday night but it ended at 10 pm and the singer was good. If you stayed on a higher floor, you probably wouldn't hear it. The apartment was roomy and well lit and very nice for us. They actually have 24 apartments in the area--something for everybody!

Montreal Restaurants
Saturday night we ate at Les 400 Coups and did the tasting menu with wine pairing. The food was excellent. The staff were extremely knowledgeable and really fun to interact with. The sommelier had lots of interesting info. This was the best meal of our trip.
Sunday night we ate at Chez l"Epicier. We did the tasting menu here as well. The food was good but not as good as the night before. The staff were more reserved but very attentive etc. It was more expensive than Les 400 Coups. I would definitely go with our Saturday night dinner if you had to choose one place to eat.

Sights
We slept in a bit on Saturday since we didn't get to sleep till about 3 am. So we started at the Archeology and History Museum which was very interesting. Then we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral which was truly gorgeous and amazing. We walked around old town and looked in shops. That was about it.
Sunday--we took the Metro out to Oratoire St. Joseph which was really very interesting and we enjoyed touring the grounds etc. We ate lunch at a little cafeteria type place there on the main street and it was quite good actually. Then we went to the Musee du Chateau Ramezay which was interesting as well. The one thing I wish we had done was rent bikes and ride the path along the river. It was so pretty and such good weather. All in all, we could have seen many more sights but it was to wander around as well.

Quebec
On Monday, we rented a car downtown and drove to Quebec. There were several reasons why we did that over the train and it was very nice for us. I liked the drive. DH and I grew up in rural areas so just driving past all the farms was fun.

Hotel in Quebec
We stayed at the Auberge St. Antoine. It was gorgeous. A beautiful room and they upgraded us to a room with a patio. We sat out there in the afternoon sun and had a lovely happy hour before going to dinner on Monday. The hotel has incorporated so many pieces they discovered when they expanded--bits and pieces of china from the dig etc. It was lovely.

Restaurants
The first night we ate at Legende. It is really a neat place. Lots of small plates and good wine. Fun staff really know the various ingredients and recommend the right foods. It was an enjoyable meal.
Tuesday night we ate at Restaurant Toast. The staff were very kind and helpful. It was a good meal.
Wednesday night we ate at a small place that was closer to Legende than our hotel. I had venison ravioli that was such great comfort food. Oh it was good. I can't remember the name though-phooey.
One lunch we ate at Paillard in the upper city. Oh my that was excellent. The wait wasn't bad and the help was amazing.

Sight seeing
Monday afternoon we walked through Old Town, exploring the main shopping street and we enjoyed the killer stairway! We stopped by Notre Dame de Quebec and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Really enjoyed both of those. And then we walked up the hill where you are standing across from the Citadel. It was a beautiful view along the river.
Tuesday it was cold and windy. We went to the Citadel and had an interesting tour. I wish we could have gone into more buildings. They have a great museum there and we really enjoyed seeing the history of the "Vin Doos". Then we went to the Ursuline Chapel and toured the building where the old school used to be--which is a museum. I found it to be fascinating.
Wednesday was pouring rain and windy and cold. Fortunately, our hotel was right next door to the Museum of Civilization. We spent all morning there. Really interesting exhibits. Then we walked over to see the Victory Church and DH really wanted to see the Fort Museum. Skip it--it's a 30 minute narrated light show using a model to display the key battle of Quebec.
We also spent lots of time in between sights just looking at shops or buildings etc.
The only thing I was not prepared for were the cruise ships disgorging thousands of people each day in Quebec, It was September and the streets of Old Town were crowded. I can't imagine what it would have been like in July or August.

Thursday we drove back, turned in the car and hopped on our flight home. As someone who spent the first 12 years of her life in Western Pennsylvania and learned more about the French and Indian War than I did the Revolution, it was very interesting to hear "the other side" of the story. I didn't know Washington "invaded Canada". And seeing/hearing more about where the Acadians started was something I wanted to do. Last year we went to New Orleans which is so much more of a melting pot of different cultures where the province of Quebec was much more strongly French. It was a quick trip that just skimmed the surface but we enjoyed it and had good weather for most of the trip,
StantonHyde is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2016, 10:05 AM
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Nice trip, nice report. I suspect if you had stayed further north in Montreal, say the Plateau or Mile End neighbourhoods, you would have felt a more modern multi-cultural atmosphere. The Citadel is one of my favorite historic sites in Canada. During the summer the regiment stages an impressive flag-raising ceremony, complete with a feisty regimental billygoat mascot. I know a few of the restaurants you toured and applaud your receptive and open attitude to the table. If you do return, you might look into the bring-your-own-wine opportunities, known as AVV (apportez votre vin.) And yes, George Washington was an English general first. The issues of the European empires in North America, from the battle at Quebec City through to the War of 1812 and suppression of the Indian nations, is complex, particularly for the First Nations aboriginal peoples. I suspect school students in what is now Canada only learn a gloss of the dynamics.
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Old Oct 31st, 2016, 10:40 AM
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George Washington didn't take part in the invasion of Canada in 1775 but he was the rebel commander in chief at the time and sent armies under Generals Montgomery and Arnold (yes, THAT Benedict Arnold) to occupy Montréal and Québec under the mistaken assumption that the recently conquered Québécois would welcome them as liberators. Montréal was briefly captured by Montgomery whose forces then joined Arnold in an ill-fated attack on Québec on New Year's Eve. They were soundly beaten back and returned south. it was nearly another 40 years before the Americans again invaded Canada and they were once again chased back across the border.
laverendrye is offline  
Old Oct 31st, 2016, 03:48 PM
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Forgot to say that we went with the chef's tasting menu at both Montreal restaurants. Great experience!!
StantonHyde is offline  
Old Nov 3rd, 2016, 06:49 AM
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I personally didn't go to Montreal restaurants ever but i heard a lot of good Experience about Montreal restaurants and i wish to go there soon.
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 12:09 PM
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Sounds like a wonderful trip!
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Old Jan 15th, 2020, 11:30 AM
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Congratulations on making such good use of your time in Quebec province. I particularly applaud your visit to the Citadel in Quebec City, one of the country's great attractions. A quibble: the Royal 22nd's nickname is Van Doos, an English corruption of the French number vingt-deux. A doubtful legend has it that the magnificent goat is descended from an animal in Queen Victoria's stable. The current beast is about 10 generations away, every one named Batiste (spelling of this common French-Canadian name does vary). Wikipedia says the regiment is the biggest in the Canadian army. Some historians argue the English/French battle on the Plains of Abraham was a key event in the history of both the US and Canada, PS: The troops don't march in rainy weather because moisture harms their ceremonial bearskin helmets.
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