Well, I should say “liked” because when I sat down to write this post I did a quick calculation and realised it’s been almost a decade since my visit. But I did like it when I was there and I’m sure enough of the things I liked were integral to the city and so would still be there for me to like today.
One thing that has changed is the hotel I stayed in, once The Loews Le Concorde, it closed in 2014, and for while was mooted to have a future as retirement apartments, but it seems it has reopened as a hotel. I don’t know what it’s like these days and it certainly isn’t a pretty building, in fact it’s the 1970s architectural equivalent of running through a jewellery store covered in glue. Twenty plus floors? Check. Geometric shape? Check. Strange moulded plastic sculptures? Check. Topped off with rotating restaurant? Yay! Check. But I liked it when we were there, and it helped cure me of my phobia of high rise buildings, which was just as well because the following year’s trip was to Kuala Lumpur, but that as they say, is another story.
Anyway back to Le Concorde, one of the good things about staying there was that when you’re in it , you can’t see it. But what you can see is the fabulous view down to the old city and the rather more conventionally attractive Chateau Frontenac. I say “conventionally attractive” because even though I’m being rude about it, Le Concorde with its ’70s glamour is a guilty pleasure.
The trip was my first, and to date only, trip to North America. We flew with now defunct budget airline, Globespan. And if I though it strange that we flew from Glasgow to Manchester and then via Keflavik, it was probably for the best that I only found out later that it had lost its transatlantic license and had to fly within 200 miles of land at all times.*
We had a fabulous view over Greenland though.
I don’t have very many photos to share, our trip was after I’d switched to digital, but before my days with iCloud, so they sit on the hard drive of an old laptop, waiting for the day when I’m not too lazy….The few I have are ones that followed me through technological upgrades.
I don’t need photos to remember the cold though, it was my first experience of “proper” cold. Layering meant a jacket topped with a coat, and it wasn’t even Winter.
It was a dry cold, the reason why the “old” city is mostly new, it’s burned down and been rebuilt repeatedly. During frozen winters there was simply not enough water to douse the flames. I also came to understand the reason for Malls, in the department stores of the old city I had to peel off and carry layers, and was still too hot. At the Mall I could check in my coat at the cloakroom and walk around at a comfortable temperature.
I liked Quebec City because it ‘s very walkable, from the Le Concorde it was a nice walk down to the old city, across to St Roch or down to the Mall (though I think this was a mile or so).
It was fun to see the city preparing for Winter, awnings being raised over entrances in readiness for the snow. Since the ’50s the city has celebrated Winter with a Carnival and it must be magical. We should go back and find out.
And the river. Flowing out of Lake Ontario its tidal at Quebec City but still has about 500 miles to flow before it reaches the open sea. Tracing it out to the ocean on our return flight really brought home its vastness.
It’s a city surrounded by nature, there are mountains away to the north and apple farms on islands in the river. We visited a sugar shack and gorged on maple based produce, MrS played the spoons and we itched to dance to the half familiar tunes played on the pipes.
If you want up to date information then you can find it here. But I’m sure you can do all the things I liked; walking around the old town, soaking up the history, have a drink at the Chateau Frontenac (I had a cocktail but the choice is yours). You can even visit that revolving restaurant. Go on indulge your inner 007**.
*I was already slightly ruffled, on one of the stops, technicians examined the window in the row behind , where a passenger had reported a leak, “it’s probably ok ” is NOT what you want to hear in relation to planes.
** there’s talk of a female Bond after all