June 25 – Québec City

We awoke to a rather steady downpour on Monday morning.  However, by the time we were getting underway from the campground, the precipitation had stopped and rays of warm sunshine were making their way through the pine canopy.  Our hopes for a nice day were soon dashed as the rain showers returned.  I-91 heading north through Vermont was punctuated with farms,

pasture lands,and signs warning us of potential dangers.

An hour later, we arrived at the border

where our crossing into Canada was the smoothest yet.  We were surprised that there were no questions about liquor, and disappointed as we had intentionally depleted our supplies of far-less-expensive US wine and beer to ensure we were under the strict legal limits to bring into Canada.

The 200 miles from the border to our destination just south of Québec City ran past a few farms

but the route was generally lined with thick stands of trees.  And then there was the ever-present series of rain showers and downpours which accompanied us.

We arrived at our campground mid-afternoon and after checking-in and getting our motor home hooked-up, we crossed the St. Lawrence River

and ventured into Québec City.

A brief bit of history:   French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608, just one year after Jamestown and 12 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.  Few cities in North America have reached this milestone.  He named “Kébec” (a word from an Amerindian language meaning «place where the river becomes narrow).  During the 17th and 18th centuries, Québec City was the center of New France, encompassing all of what is known today as Eastern Canada, the Eastern United States, the Great Lakes and Louisiana, extending from Hudson’s Bay in the North to Florida in the South.

Québec City was under French control between 1608 and 1759 except for a brief period between 1627 and 1632.  In 1759, the famous battle of the Plains of Abraham would alter the course of the colony’s history that had been, until then, relatively uneventful.  The English won the battle and took control of the city, then later the colony.  The following year, France signed the Treaty of Paris, thus transferring ownership of New France to England and putting an end to the Seven Year War.

Our destination was the historic “Old City” (which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985) where our first stop was at the Citadel.

The present-day home to the 22nd Regiment of the Canadian Forces,

it was begun by the French in 1701 although the current five-star-shaped structure was not completed in 1831.  The Citadel overlooks the Old City, which it was designed to protect, and its outer ramparts encompass the Old City.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon wandering the streets of the Old City.

Former Armory and present day Information Center

Le Château Frontenac

The Post Office

The Parliament Building

and its impressive statues both in front of the building

and on the building’s façade.

Other Fountains and Statues throughout the city

Tourny Fountain

Samuel de Champlain

Joan of Arc (fittingly on the Plains of Abraham)

We also found several wonderful old churches, including the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Church, first Anglican cathedral built outside the British Isles.

And there were many street scenes,an occasional side street art show,

other local charactersOften lined with excellent restaurantsOne of which, Le Café Paris  on Saint Louis Street, we ate at before returning to our campground … where the heavens again opened up and we listened to the rain throughout the night.

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