Montreal & Quebec Day 7: Old Town in the Rain

We began our first full day in Quebec with the breakfast provided by the hotel. It was sad. The croissants looked so bad I didn't bother taking one, instead taking a decent, moist blueberry muffin, cereal, and some watermelon.

Then, bundled in raincoats and equipped with umbrellas, we ventured out. It rained on and off the entire day and was generally overcast. I was smart and kept my guide book in a ziplock bag. Hence, I could keep referring to it in spite of the weather. However, the rain prevented me from taking many notes. Instead, I took many pictures from which you can tell how overcast and wet the day was.

Here is the route we followed. We explored much of Upper Old Town before lunch and Lower Old Town after lunch. We walked in a stop-and-start fashion, attempting to be in churches and under overhangs during the heavier downpours.

I'm not sure if it was the weather or simply the pervasiveness of old, solid stone buildings, but the whole town feels very European. (I'm thinking back to my trips to England as a kid during which it rained most of the time.) It certainly felt more European than Old Montreal, possibly because Old Quebec felt more consistent than Old Montreal. Old Montreal has buildings of a variety of ages, some fairly modern like the World Trade Center, whereas Old Quebec has pretty uniformly old buildings. Meanwhile, Upper Old Town hides its modernity: an ancient-looking seminary near our hotel, we realized, actually houses an indoor basketball court.

One unphotographed site we found on our walk was Rue du Tresor (Treasury Road), a short street where, despite the rain, many densely-packed artists exhibited their wares. (The overhangs were wide enough that they nearly covered the whole street.) The street is an attraction; the artists there have their own association promoting it.

Due to the rain, we didn't get to climb the Promenade des Gouverneurs to the Citadelle. However, explored the Citadelle the following day.

As planned, we headed to Aux Anciens Canadiens, a distinctly Quebecois restaurant, for a late lunch. Before going there, we changed into dry clothes in the hotel so we'd be more comfortable while eating. Here's my review of the restaurant.

After our long late lunch ended between four and five p.m., we explored Lower Older Town, still in the rain, before returning to our hotel.

In Lower Town, we looked around the Old Port. Although like everything else in Quebec it has a history dating back centuries, it didn't seem old at all. It was a pretty standard port. In fact, we found most of Lower Town pretty ordinary, lacking the history and coherent feel that Upper Town has.

Rue St-Paul has many restaurants. It's a bit surprising they could all survive -- the streets were empty; none of the tourists massed in Rue du Petit-Champlain seemed to make it to St-Paul. The following day I realized St-Paul gets, at times, a lot of foot traffic, as it is on the natural path from the cruise ship terminal in the Old Port to the steps that lead to Upper Old Town.

We found the walk back to our hotel in Upper Town easy. I wonder who bothers to use the funiculaire.

From this day's damp adventures, the pair of shoes I wore hadn't dried by the time I flew home two days later.

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