48 Hours: Quebec City
by Allison Busacca, Alexis Chema and Husna Haq
Photo by Bill Heinsohn/Getty Images
||The castle-like Château Frontenac hotel dominates the skyline in Quebec City.|
Feeling French in a fairy-tale city.
n the October 2006 issue of National Geographic Traveler, author Olivia Stren explores the charming neighborhoods of this former fur-trading settlement, established in 1608. With its streets, shops, and cafés along the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City suggests the romance of Paris and the charm of a provincial village. See for yourself; plan a trip with these resources that highlight the best the city has to offer.
Lynn and Lawrie Stewart spent six months traveling through Canada with a truck, a trailer, and two dogs named Oreo and Oscar. From the Yukon to Labrador, the husband-and-wife duo chronicles everything from tourist attractions to the trials of everyday travel. Posts, one for almost every day of their trip, include photos to help illustrate their findings. If you want to read the section on Quebec City, go to this page. Other topics of interest are Lynn's posts on knitting and Lawrie's section on curling.
Excellent Adventures in Travel and Food
A resident of Vancouver, Baden Smith attempts to surprise his wife by taking her cross-country to Quebec City for the Winter Carnival. This blog covers his adventures on the road and at home, in food and travel. Includes cooking tips, recipes, advice on dining in, favorite restaurant experiences, and travel planning. In-text links direct readers to Quebec City websites. The site can be translated into 11 languages.
Postcards from the Mothership
"Danigirl," mother of two preschool-age sons, Tristan and Simon, knows all too well how difficult it is to travel with young kids. During a weekend trip to Quebec City, the author gives the lowdown on how to keep kids' interest without lowering the educational value of a trip. With an optimistic outlook on every situation, she tackles each location with enthusiasm and humor.
Quebec This Week
The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) compiles the best stories from the past week's broadcast, available for free download and subscription using QuickTime or iTunes. With coverage from Montreal to Gagnon, "Quebec this Week" mixes stories from all the CBC's daily programs.
Want to travel earphone-free and kiss bulky travel guides goodbye? Download free info on Quebec City sights, restaurants, hotels, clubs, and cultural events to your iPod. CityGuide compiles files on sights throughout the world, then offers free iPod downloads with a quick registration. Your ears remain free to absorb surrounding local sounds as your eyes peruse the CityGuide files that include a brief descriptive paragraph on attractions, including business hours, credit cards accepted, and price range.
For local news and events, log on to or pick up a copy of the Chronicle-Telegraph, Quebec City's only English-language newspaper. This weekly publication claims to be North America's oldest newspaper, dating back to 1764. Be sure to check out the quirky "Things of Fame" section in which the paper reprints anachronistic snippets of stories from its extensive archives.
This online service provided by Quebec's Department of International Relations posts translations of articles originally reported in French by Quebec newspapers and news services. Only a couple of new stories appear each week, but the site includes hundreds of articles from the past year.
Telegraphe City Guide
This online magazine caters to visitors and Quebecers alike, offering reviews of local attractions and diversions, from museum exhibitions, festivals, and restaurants, to dogsledding and spelunking. Telegraphe also includes historical and cultural background on Quebec City, as well as neighborhood maps, links to Quebec City-related newspaper articles, and a slew of colorful photos.
Destination Quebec Magazine
The Quebec Ministry of Tourism's splashy online magazine caters to visitors by covering cultural and family-friendly events throughout the province in informative articles. Consult "Gourmet's Pleasures" to learn about the region's delicacies, and "Follow the Guide" for themed trip ideas.
Canada's newsweekly publishes topical features on current events, society, business, politics, and more. Peruse the print version, or visit the website for special features like blogs, news updates, and photo galleries.
CBC Radio One Quebec City
Quebec City's Radio One 104.7 airs national and local English-language programming from the CBC, the national network. Tune in to shows like "Quebec A.M." in the morning and "Breakaway" in the afternoon for interviews and news from a Quebecois perspective.
CHYZ 94.3 FM
Laval University's student-run radio station broadcasts in French, but plays tunes from around the world and across the musical spectrum. CHYZ programs feature Acadian folk, West Coast rap, Maghrebian electronica, and much more. The independent station also prides itself on giving airtime to local French-Canadian musicians. Listen online by clicking the "en direct" button at the top of its home page.
Worldweb.com Interactive Map
This clear, easy-to-read Worldweb map lets you choose from categories like lodging, dining, shopping, and art galleries, then highlights chosen sites on the map. Click on the site for a name, description, phone number, and address. Zoom or try the satellite map for different views of Quebec City.
World66 Interactive Map
World66's map follows the same format as Worldweb's (both use Google Maps), but offers a different assortment of sites—check out Internet cafés. Zoom in and out, try the satellite view, and click on sites for details.
Kamouraska, by Anne Hébert (Crown, 1973)
This Quebec-born poet, playwright, and novelist incorporates both French nouveau roman and North American postmodernism into her work. Kamouraska—translated into seven languages, winner of the Paris Book Prize, and made into a feature film—is the story of one woman's obsession with forbidden love that leads to despair and murder. This Quebecois love triangle reminiscent of Anna Karenina throbs with passion and destruction.
Sacré Blues, by Taras Grescoe (MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 2001)
Take an entertaining tour of Quebec City culture—complete with musings on poutine, Céline Dion, native people's displacement, and Quebec's 890 distinctive curse words—with smart and occasionally wicked Grescoe, a regular National Geographic Traveler contributor, as your guide. The reading's fun and easy, and the lively mix of reportage, anecdotes, statistics, and interviews is well researched and enlightening.
Shadows on the Rock, by Willa Cather (Vintage Press, 1931)
The year is 1697 and 12-year-old Cécile Auclair lives with her widowed father in the bleak, isolated French settlement overlooking the St. Lawrence River that is 17th-century Quebec. The writing, slow-paced and soothing, reflects day-to-day life in the city, a gentle rhythm of village feuds, homemaking, and French Catholic customs.
Séraphin: Un homme et son péché (Séraphin: Heart of Stone) (2003)
A lush, unspoiled setting, a heartless villain, a distressed heroine, and a sweet ending—director Charles Binamé's period drama is a fairy tale come to life. Séraphin Poudrier, mayor and village bully, demands pretty Donalda's hand in marriage as payment for a debt owed by her father. Séraphin dominates the entire 19th-century Quebec outpost of St. Adele until its people make their own demands.
L'Ange de Goudron (Tar Angel) (2001)
Days before receiving his citizenship papers, Algerian immigrant Ahmed Kasmi discovers that his 19-year-old son Hafid destroyed government files (a terrorist act) and disappeared into Northern Quebec. What follows is an hour and a half of raw emotion—fear, anger, bewilderment, persecution, and relief—as Ahmed charges the streets of Quebec in search of his son. Denis Chouinard's film offers a glimpse into modern Quebecois immigration issues.
Mon Oncle Antoine (1971)
This bittersweet comedy tells the coming-of-age tale of Benoît, a 15-year-old orphan who goes to live with a foster family in a cold, rural Quebec mining town one Christmas in the 1940s. As Benoît encounters adulthood—sex, death, and responsibility—the film explores the social conditions of old, conservative Quebec that led to the Quiet Revolution in the 60s, a period of rapid social and economic change.