Quebec City

The last stop on our Canadian road trip was Quebec. We stayed within the walls of Old Quebec at the charming and oh so beautiful Hotel Marie Rollet. My photographs with a diaper clad D scurrying on he bed do not the room justice. By day six or seven of your road trip with a toddler.. you realize that you are no longer on top of everything. Your luggage that started out as four bags has now somehow mutated into six.. counting the canvas bags full of things that no longer seem to have a place. We did not shop.. we are not big shoppers.. but visually it seemed like our belongings had doubled. I usually remembered to take photographs of our meals well after we were three quarters into it.

With all that said.. we loved Quebec City. It was everything I had imagined Montreal to be. We were few minutes walk away from Chateau Frontenac and the boardwalk like area called the Dufferin Terrace with a picture perfect view.

We opted to stroll down the Côte de la Montagne, a steep winding street that connects the upper town and lower town instead of taking the funicular.

Then we took the steps down to the Breakneck Stairs. We window shopped.. ate some more gelato : ) at Madame Gigi Confiserie and just enjoyed the lovely weather.

We were told repeatedly that our lack of French speaking abilities will become a huge problem in the Quebec region but that was completely untrue. The people were so accommodating and never did I need to pull out my iphone to use my translator app (yes I came prepared! )

We had dinner at the Restaurant 1640 and breakfast the next day at Pain Beni.. both on the Rue St. Anne and just across the street from the Chateau. All very nice but nothing I fell in love with. Though I must the mention staff at 1640 were amazing.. so friendly. You can really tell a lot about a person by the way they interact with your child..

All in all a wonderful trip. So lovely and serene..
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From the picture perfect Ottawa we headed towards Montreal, which just our luck happened to be under construction. Yes, a major part of the city consisted of road blocks, detours and orange cones. So after going in circles and D tried from the long drive and now in hysterics, unfortunately we were already tired of Montreal.

We were staying in the Latin Quarter, at Hotel Quartier des Spectacles aka Abri du Voyageur Hotel an interesting choice and I mean that in a good way. But if I went again I'd want to try something different.

We were a bit far from Old Montreal but it didn't bother us much, we're walkers, we hardly felt the distance. We strolled the streets.. or should I say street of Old Montreal (was disappointing that there wasn't more to it). We ate crepes and gelato; Maple Delights had a very nice selection. A superb French onion soup at A l'Aventure and delish spaghetti at L'Usine De Spaghetti. D was thrilled at the amount of gelato he was getting to sample and his excitement over pasta was so adorably funny.

After a few average breakfast we finally stumbled upon Universel Restaurant Cafe on our last morning there. The food delicious, portions for great, the staff so friendly, D was enamored by the host who played peek a boo with him. Wished we had found this place sooner.

We drove up to the top of Mont Royal Parc to get a view of the city.. nothing special. St. Joseph's Oratory on the other hand was a delight. When I entered the basilica it took me by surprise. I loved the modern feel to it. The oratory itself was moving, seeing all those candles, all those prayers. And the openness of the space, the view, the height.. it was just what we needed before we headed out of Montreal.

I don't know what it was? Was it that my expectations were too high? Or was it that Montreal kept reminding me of a less awesome New York City while I had anticipated Paris.

The highlight for us was the Chinese Lantern Festival in the Jardin Botanical Gardens. We attended the opening.. it was our last night there. We arrived a little early and were so glad we did.. the gardens were beautiful. But what was even better was that we got to see the lanterns in daylight before the hoards of people arrived.. and yes there were hoards. It was interesting seeing them without the lights and then with. I would definitely recommend stopping by if you are going to be in Montreal in October.

Coming soon.. Quebec City.
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