Weather: overcast but clearing by afternoon
Air Temperature: 15ºC
What a wonderful day in Quebec – an absolutely beautiful day! We docked early in the morning, about 7am, at a pier close to the city. Quebec is such a lovely city – spread out on the hill with lots of historic buildings.
The options for today were two bus tours. One was a half-day tour out to the countryside, which would take in the beautiful scenery of the Laurentian Mountains and the renowned Lac-Beauport area. The other option was a full day tour that combined the highlights of the historic city of Québec with the picturesque countryside that was just a short drive away from the city. This included visits to the Shrine of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Montmorency Falls and the Île d’Orléans.
Although we thought it was going to be a rainy, dreary day, our spirits were high as we started off on our Quebec adventures. I was going on the full day tour with 32 other guests. For the first half hour or so, we drove through the quaint neighborhoods of the small island called Ile d’Orleans. It was as if we had taken a step back into time – it was so picturesque and quaint.
Our next stop was a visit to the famous Montmorency Falls. These waterfalls are 1½ times as high as Niagara Falls but not as wide. They are amazing – the water tumbles over a 272-foot cliff and the roar was so loud we could not hear one another talk. The highlight of this stop is the bridge-walk right over the top of the falls – what a unique way to see the falls from above!
Once we were all back onboard the bus, we headed out to our next stop – the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre. The drive out to this church was through rural countryside, and we were pleased to see that many of the maple trees were starting to change colour, making the views even that much more beautiful!
The Shrine to St Anne was stunning. Inside, we marveled at the intricate details of the mosaic and stained glass work. Our guide Renee led us through the shrine and the associated chapels, telling us all about the history. This is one of the most visited Catholic churches in North America, with over 1.5 million visitors each year.
The next stop was lunch! We ate at a quaint country inn-style restaurant that epitomized Quebecois style. The food was delicious and the atmosphere cheery. By this time, the mist had completely burned of and we had bright sunshine for the rest of our tour, which was a very good thing because the afternoon’s schedule included several walking portions through the historic section of Quebec City.
First, we drove through the famous National Battlefield Park, Cap-Diamant, also known as the Plains of Abraham, which was the site of the historic battle where the French surrendered to the British in 1759. This beautiful 250-acre park is now a favourite place for people to come and walk and relax. We stopped for a photo option at the overlook that offered us a spectacular view out over the St Lawrence River and the city.
Lastly, we came right into town and followed our guide on a short stroll through the historic section of Quebec – including the Place-Royale which is a restored market square typical of the 17th and 18th century stone architecture, located in the heart of the Lower Town.
We were all back on the ship by about 4:30pm, which gave us plenty of time to relax and get ready for our next event of the day – the captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party. Because it was such a beautiful sunny, warm evening, we held this event on the back sun deck. What a fantastic way to end a beautiful day – by drinking good champagne while looking out over the beautiful city of Quebec!