Montreal and Quebec 2017
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
August 2017 -
Mary and I spent last week traveling to Montreal and Quebec City to experience a little French culture in North America. This was a great trip that exceeded our expectations and truly felt like a week in France. We heard that French was the predominant language, especially Quebec City. This was true to most extent but we found that many locals were fluent and happy to communicate in English. The food was great and very diverse and the sites and cultures were a great experience. Highly recommend a visit, although pick your time of year carefully as winter can be harsh in the great white north.
Montreal is a great metropolitan city with a thriving economy, strong tourism, and incredible cultural diversity. We were surprised by the cosmopolitan mix with a rich history and great food! Many transplants have made this city home as evidenced by the mix of cultures and their influence on the food. In addition to the expected French and Canadian cuisine, upscale representations of Portuguese, Spanish, South American, and Asian foods were abundant in the city. When you visit don’t forget to try a few things Montreal is known for. Poutine of course but Montreal is known to produce some of Canada’s best, you can have the traditional version with gravy and curds or add just about anything to it like smoked meat, BBQ ribs, Merguez sausage, etc.…YUM! Smoked meats are also traditional Montreal cuisine that you will find just about everywhere. Last but not least sample some traditional Montreal Bagels cooked in a wood oven. We didn’t have a car for the entire trip and found walking, the subway and Uber as great options to get around.
We took the train from Montreal to Quebec City which is smaller and more of a tourist destination than Montreal but well worth spending a few days to experience the beauty of the city, its surroundings, and food. Be prepared to spend afternoons walking the area with many other tourists as the peak months can be very crowded. Get out early if you can, before the rest of the visitors so you can enjoy some of the sights more freely. You should check the cruise ship schedules before booking and do your best to avoid the peak docking schedule. The city and surrounding areas are walking and Bicycle friendly. There are two main areas, the lower city near the river and port, and the upper city behind the fortified walls. The lower area is a bit quieter and has a higher mix of upscale shops, art, and restaurants. The upper area mainly caters to tourists with tours, buses, and souvenir shops. The upper city also contains most of the historical sites to visit so you shouldn’t avoid it. We also found a few good restaurants in the upper city. In the lower city, there are a few more local restaurants near the Marche du Vieux de Quebec. Quebec City is known for more hearty foods in addition to the traditional French and Canadian selections. Look for Pea Soup, Tourtiere (Meat pie) and Game such as Red Deer, Bison, and Caribou. Try the tire Ste-Catherine (St. Catherine’s Taffy) and Spruce beer. Take a day trip by Bicycle, tour, or car to the Chute Montmorency (falls) and Ile d’Orleans where you can visit farms, wine tasting, etc.… Most of the upper and lower city are walking accessible although bus tours and Uber are also options for getting around.