JE ME SOUVENIR. IT’S THE MOTTO OF QUEBEC AND MEANS I REMEMBER. TRULY APT BECAUSE QUEBEC CITY IS GENUINELY UNFORGETTABLE
WORDS ANINDA SARDAR
PHOTOGRAPHY ROSHNI MANGHANI
It’s like a little piece of Europe that has been transported to North American soil in a ship centuries ago. The cobbled streets, the quaintness of the cafés, Quebec City has a charm that will have you fall in love with it within the first 20 minutes. We started off at the Montmorency National Park, which is yet another fabulous waterfall. Not quite as spectacular as the Niagara that we had seen over a week ago but far far prettier as it cascades through the red, ochre, yellow and orange that are the signature colours of a Canadian Fall.
No tour of Quebec City is complete without a proper guided tour of the Battlefield Park and the La Citadelle de Quebec. Home to the Le Regiment Royal vingt deuxiéme or the Royal 22nd Regiment, the citadel of Quebec is essentially a polygon shaped fort on top of a hill overlooking the Saint Lawrence river at its narrowest point. It’s in the middle of a beautifully kept park with manicured lawns and spectacular views of the city itself on one side and the river and countryside on the other. The guided tour of the citadel itself is pretty fantastic and shouldn’t be given a miss, especially if you’re a history buff. Also, don’t be startled by the inevitable midday boom because a gunner climbs the ramparts to fire a blank shell from an old WW II vintage cannon each day at noon. An old tradition that continues to startle tourists till date.
The old city itself is within walking distance of the Battlefield Park and is charming as charming can be. This being the heart of French Canada, there is of course a Notre Dame cathedral at the centre of the town, named after the more famous and historic Notre Dame in Paris. The best way to explore old Quebec is on foot, which is exactly what we all did with the occasional pit stop thrown in where Mahatva, Aniruddha, Abhishek and I downed copious amounts of smooth Canadian beer and accompanied by some excellent nachos.
The bustling town of Quebec however becomes quite the ghost town as night falls, and rightly so because the temperature dips quite sharply. So if you plan to step out in the evening be prepared. We were, with our layers of sweaters and coats or jackets and were quite thankful for it. The locals of course look at you a little strangely because they are used to 35 degrees below zero! But they will also tell you a cure for the chill – a dish of fries in gravy topped with cheese curd called Poutine and shots of vodka or gin or whatever suits your liver. Don’t you just love Canada?