Cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and the language of love. Could this place be anymore perfect? My husband and I (eek I get to say that now!) just returned from an enchanting week in Quebec City and Montreal. It was my first trip to Canada and I had no idea what to expect. It was such a magical place to visit and I am so excited to share my trip.
Living in San Luis Obispo, California, we often have to fly to another major airport for connecting flights. Many times the cost and process of checking into a flight here is more of a hassle than driving to Los Angeles or San Jose for a flight. We decided to drive and take the red-eye flight out of LAX on Saturday night. I’m not the best at sleeping on airplanes. In fact, I kind of suck at it. Sometimes I find that leaving on a later flight I’m drowsy enough to pass out a little bit.
We arrived in Quebec City late Sunday morning and were instantly met with cold, drizzling weather. That did not stop us though and we jumped right into exploring. Our first stop was Les Trois Garcon for some much needed food after two long flights. We ordered our first of many to come Poutine dishes to share. I indulged in a delicious burger and fries. In Canada they dip their fries in mayonnaise and this restaurant had four different kinds to choose from. I decided to try the maple and rosemary mayonnaise and it was delicious!
Armed with an umbrella and a salted caramel hot chocolate from Chocolato, we continued exploring the city in the chilly weather. I was completely awestruck by all the amazing architecture. Every corner we turned was another historic building bringing history to life right before our eyes.
We made it all the way to the iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac when the skies opened up and we were caught in a complete downpour. Weather: 1; Krissy and Cole: 0. Knowing we couldn’t continue on, we made our way back to our condo and settled in for the night.
Day two brought blue skies, crisp cold air, and the true feeling of fall that I don’t get to experience on the Central Coast. This full day of exploring included a TON of walking and so many amazing places. A few or our favorites included the Citadelle of Quebec, the St. Lawrence River, the Saint-Louis Forts and Chateaux Historic site, and the quaint historic neighborhoods that make up old Quebec.
Tuesday was our travel day to Montreal. We took the three hour Orleans Express bus ride that weaved through the gorgeous fall trees of the countryside. The comfortable and smooth ride included free WiFi so we could stream some of our favorite Netflix shows to help the time pass by.
Wednesday was our first full day to explore Montreal. We filled the day with so much history. Our first stop was the Basilique Notre-Dame. I’ve always had a fascination with historic cathedrals. The amount of work and every little detail that goes into these is nothing short of breathtaking. We spent quite a bit of time here taking it all in.
Our next stop was the Musee d’archeologie et d’histoire. I’m an archaeologist so of course this one made it on my must-see list. It was one of the best set up museums I have seen and highly recommend it if you are in the area. My favorite part was the glass floors where you could see all the excavations beneath you. Truly made you feel like you were part of the experience. I also enjoyed all the video reenactments of history they had throughout the exhibits.
Our Wednesday night ended with an adventure. Randomly, the travel book we had mentioned an unmarked speakeasy door in downtown Montreal called Big in Japan. We set out on a search for it, got lost, was helped by a local, and finally located the hidden door. It was amazing inside! Sophisticated, intimate, and classy with some of the best mixed drinks.
We set Thursday aside for some brewery hopping. My husband and I love beer tasting and neither one of us had tasted much Canada beer before. We decide to take an Uber ride to Chambly and check out Unibroue Brewery first. There were positive reviews online and being used to breweries in the United States, we didn’t think anything of it. Unfortunately we arrived to find out that the brewery was not open to the public and only the location where beer is brewed. Not wanting to completely waste our $40 Uber ride, we decided to walk along the nearby Richelieu River and came across this gorgeous waterfall spot.
After grabbing a few photos we continued to the next brewery stop, Les Trois Mousquetaires, only to find the same circumstance. Not open to the public. We made our way back to downtown Montreal and found Le Saint Bock. Open to the public and best variety of beers on tap! I tried my first smokey barleywine (2011 Harvest Ale in Lagavulin Whiskey Casks) from JW Lees and it was amazing!!
Friday was our final full day in Montreal. After our previous day of lots of car time and not much fun time, we decided to stay local. Our day was filled with 6 miles of walking, historic buildings, amazing street art, and a ton of fun random bars we popped into for drinks. We finished the day with the perfect ice cream shop stop!
Reflecting on the entire trip, we made our trek home on Saturday. Quebec City and Montreal were absolutely gorgeous. While we experienced so much, there was still a lot left we did not get to do and I look forward to returning one day. I highly recommend exploring this region of Canada. There is so much to explore and see. By far one of my favorite trips!
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