I had heard of a few failed tries of Referendum in Canada to determine whatever Quebec, a French speaking province, should secede from Canada and become an independent state. We were told that French is the primary language in Quebec; therefore, we brought a French-English dictionary with us on the trip. I know the dictionary was not a necessity but it would be fun to learn a few words and it would also show that I tried to communicate in the native language there, always a bonus when engaging the locals.
When we entered the Quebec Province from New Brunswick, we noticed right away the bilingual signs we had seen the last couple of weeks turned into French-only signs. Luckily I have been to France a few times and still remembered some basic French words pertaining to driving. We stopped at the 1st Welcome Center to get some information and were greeted with “Bonjour”. Yes, we were definitely in a foreign country now. I asked for a carte but he didn’t seem to understand me. We soon switched to English and he told me that they had a few maps for sale there. I didn’t expect it as we were able to get many free maps and tourist booklets at New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia. My first impression was that tourism probably wasn’t important to Quebec or perhaps because I didn’t speak French.
We arrived at Quebec City and spent a few hours there. The city had a European flavor: cobblestone streets, outdoor cafe, stone buildings and French signs. We didn’t know anything about Quebec City, where to go and what to see, and we didn’t have any map there so we were driving partially blind except for my GPS. Whenever we go to a big city, our instinct is always go to the old town and the old town is usually right next to a river. We followed that rule and soon knew we were in the right place. We saw the famous Le Chateau Frontenac (see the picture Kadia took of us with Le Chateau Frontenac in the background) and window-shopped at the Basse-Ville (Lower Town). We also walked around the Parc des Champs de Bataille. It was an interesting city, definitely worth to go back to, but not in winter though as we learned that Quebec City can get very cold in the winter (like -20° C). But there is the famous Winter Festival (Carnaval de Québec). Maybe we will brave the weather but hopefully it will still be a friendly country the next time we visit.