Walking Tour of Old Quebec City – lower town

Photo heavy blog !!

Our second day in port on the Caribbean Princess in Quebec City we woke to this view again from our balcony.

Good morning Quebec city
Morning view from the balcony of the lower and upper city with the Chateau Frontenac

Just looking out to the lower and upper city from the ship was stunning. Even the area around the dock was lovely with the fall foliage in peak color. Our ship is docked on the St Lawrence River and will be sailing Northeast at the end of the day towards the Riviere Saguenay.

The lovely view in the port of Quebec City
Riverfront square

I was scheduled for an afternoon of exploration with the ship excursion – Old Québec Walking Tour & Tea at Château Frontenac. We were instructed to “dress in layers and wear good walking shoes”. The tour description was as follows on the Princess Cruise website ” A narrated walk to Place Royale via Place de Paris and rue Saint-Pierre.”

The tour guide meandered around the lower town, giving such a great history of the city, describing the various influences over the last 400 years. I love to look at the architecture of the buildings. She would point out the British and French influences as we walked along. One thing I noticed was the “waves” made of stone in the roads and sidewalks. Starting in the photo above you see the meandering sidewalk.

Fantastic walking tour guide
Our tour guide was easy to find with her flag

The area we were walking through was very interesting and you could see the banking influence on the city.

Imperial bank of Canada 1875
Imperial bank of Canada 1875
Shoreline of the river in 1600
Shoreline in 1600

Ahhh….an explanation for the waves. My limited understanding is they showed where the shoreline had been over the years or flooding had occurred. Most of old town / lower town was built on fill. The explanation was simple, they needed more space at the bottom of the hill.

Rue St Paul
Rue Saint Paul
waves in the brick along the roadway
Waves in the brick Rue St Paul
Rue de Barricade
Rue de Barricade

In the above photo, you see the “city walls” near the parked cars. The city wall was just 5 blocks in from the river/port. Looking back, after the tour, studying the city maps helped me to understand just how narrow a strip along the river the lower city is up against the city walls. During the tour we wandered all over the place, and it was difficult to get my bearings or understand just how narrow the lower city actually is.

Rue Saint Pierre at Rue Saint Antoine and Le Priori Hotel
Rue Saint Pierre at Rue Saint Antoine and Le Priori Hotel

In the photo above, you can see how the street changes from large stones to much smaller stonework. Le Priori Hotel is in the lower city and our tour guide talked a bit about how nice it was for a visit.

Quebec City Mural
Quebec City Mural

The Quebec City Mural was an amazing sight, painted on a building near Place Royale. I can’t do justice to the description, so I will point you to – https://www.quebec-cite.com/en/what-to-do-quebec-city/mural-of-quebecers

Closeup of Quebec City Mural
Quebec City Mural shows the 400 year history of the city

The mural was mesmerizing and it was wonderful to have our guide pointing out important figures and telling of their historical influence on the city, the province and the country.

City wall, adjacent to the Quebec City Mural
City wall adjacent to Quebec City Mural
Interesting architecture near Place Royale and QC mural
Interesting architecture near the Quebec City mural
Place Royale rooflines
Rooflines and materials in the Place Royale
Place Royale Lower town
Buildings in the Place Royale square

Our tour description stated that “Place Royale is a handsomely restored square in the heart of Lower Town boasting 17th and 18th-century stone architecture. The site of Samuel de Champlain’s first settlement, the square is home to Notre Dame des Victoires, one of the oldest stone church still standing in North America.”

Notre Dame Des Victoires Catholic Church

Our tour description was right on with our next few steps. “ make your way to Petit Champlain Street, a pedestrian-only street adjacent to the Place Royale featuring boutiques, shops, cafés and restaurants housed in 17th and 18th century buildings. Strolling musicians, jugglers and other street performers abound.” We didn’t see the jugglers and street performers, but we certainly saw the shops and cafe as we headed to the Funicular to go to the upper walled city.

Heading to the Funiculaire
Rous Sous le Fort and Rue de Notre Dame

This corner where I took the photo is just 3 blocks in from the river, at Rous Sous Le Fort and Rue de Notre Dame. You can see the track in the photo above for Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec. Our group was split into smaller groups to ride up. Our destination was the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac which dominates the city skyline.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

Just a short ride to get to the Upper city.

a view of our car coming down the hill
The descending car on the right will take us up the hill.

The line was quite short and in moments about 10 of us rode up the hill. What awaited at the top will have to be in the next post, so check back in for another edition of the walking tour.

Just a couple of observations about the lower town of Quebec City. The sidewalks were narrow, some cobbled, some paved, some curb cuts. Many streets were pedestrian only, but some were not, and you had to be aware of parked and moving automobiles. The first part of this walking tour we were up and down many streets, and this tour was NOT for someone who had a challenge walking. The tour description was very clear about this. We encountered lots of uneven surfaces and steps. In a city that is 400 years old, this is not unexpected. Having taken the walking tour, then going back and studying maps and my photo’s, I would encourage anyone with moderate walking ability to explore the lower town of Quebec City. I would love to go back and spend several days poking around. Our guide was spectacular and shared so many pieces of the history of the city, and the changes it had undergone, and the efforts to preserve it for future generations.


Canada and Colonial America Cruise Highlights -Travel to Quebec City and boarding the Caribbean Princess

I’ve been travelling and wanted to share some of my adventures on the Caribbean Princess Cruise I recently took. I’m going to break this into a series of posts because they will be mostly photos. Come along for the trip!

My trip began in the early morning on October 19, 2022 departing from the Salisbury Maryland regional airport. I took a short 30 minute flight to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The aircraft out of Salisbury is an Embraer ERJ-145, a small jet with a 2 & 1 seating configuration. I love to pick a seat on the left side and don’t feel crowded by a seatmate on this small aircraft. When I got to Philadelphia, I realized my inbound and outbound gate were the same, so no shuttling to another terminal, and I would re-board the same aircraft for the flight to Quebec City. I had a layover, long enough, to grab some breakfast at Qdoba in Terminal F.

Great airport breakfast - Qdoba
Breakfast bowl, with eggs and taco toppings from Qdobo in Terminal F

I’m glad I had a hearty breakfast, because my next meal was in the late afternoon. My sister flew from Las Vegas, on a red eye, and arrived in the city before I ever left Philadelphia. She had a very long night! We were staying halfway between the airport and the port in Quebec City, and given the taxi fare for each of us just getting to the hotel, we were not interested in venturing too far out. The hotel location was chosen because it was one of the few where I could ensure a handicap accessible room, with 2 beds, in a building that was also accessible for my sister.

My sister and I walked from our hotel, Hôtel & Suites Le Dauphin Québec, to a place called Bières & Frites. It was the only place walkable in the vicinity other than Tim Horton’s which had closed early. Bieres & Frites, was not the healthiest choice for lunch/dinner, but it was delicious, from my point of view. My sister, not so much! I ordered a Hot dog with fries and she got the traditional Quebec Poutine.

Bières & Frites
Sister doesn't like the cheese


Not a fan

Honestly, the look on her face was priceless! She did not enjoy Poutine at all. But….the beer was good~!~ And so was the bottle of wine and dessert we took back to the hotel for later in the evening. 🙂

We spent one night at Hôtel & Suites Le Dauphin Québec before boarding the ship. The hotel was excellent with a great coffee bar, self serve in the lobby, and a little breakfast box to enjoy in the morning. There was fresh fruit on offer in the lobby, and they did have menus for local restaurants offering delivery. In all, the room was perfect for a disabled person, and they were so kind to allow my sister to check in very early. Her overnight flight and early check-in allowed her to get a long nap before I arrived.

On departure, they summoned a taxi for us, and explained to the driver our destination at the port, in Old Quebec City. That trip was a delight, the driver acting almost as a tour guide as he navigated his way to the line up downtown in the port. The fare, for the 2 of us was less than each of us paid to go half the distance from the airport. Needless to say, we felt thankful to the hotel for contacting the right taxi company.

We were able to board the Caribbean Princess within a few minutes of arrival. My sister and I were sharing a handicap accessible cabin, A303, on deck 12 of the ship. We used the forward elevators and our cabin was just across from the elevator lobby. The cabin was massive. Plenty of room for someone using a wheelchair or a walker. Big restroom with a roll in shower and lots of grab bars, and a seat to use while showering. Storage was plentiful with a large wardrobe for hanging garments and shelving behind one door, as well as 4 drawers for each nightstand and 3 at the desk area. There were 3 glass shelves in the bathroom for toiletries, and shelves in the shower for your personal shampoos etc. My only storage issue was there were not enough hooks in the bathroom up high for hanging robes.PRO TIP – I always pack heavy duty hook magnets and used them on the back of the bathroom door and on the wall for various items. Only a couple of power outlets on the desk and another PRO TIP is to bring a cruise approved power supply with multi outlets and usb charging points.

A303 Caribbean Princess
A303 – Deck 12 – Handicap accessible cabin – Caribbean Princess

The balcony was great, with a ramp for a wheelchair, was about 5 foot deep x 12 foot wide. It was the entire width of the cabin.

The best part of all, when entering the cabin, was we were on the starboard (right) side of the ship, facing the city. The view was amazing!

After embarking, we both settled into the beautiful lobby area of the ship, and ordered cocktails. And, as was to be the situation for the rest of the cruise, my sister was constantly being greeted by lovely crew members who remembered her from her earlier sailing on board for 5 weeks over the summer.

meeting old friends
Meeting old friends onboard

When travelling with Princess cruise lines, the ships feel like home. We have both been on well over 20 sailings, some together and some not over the years. We’ve sailed several times over our birthdays, and I try to make it special for my sister. One thing I do is “decorate our cabin door” for her birthday. I try to find things that are easy to pack, and will go on the door with a few magnets. (It helps to find your cabin when you are out very late too)

Birthday decor on the door

Part of the benefits to sticking with a cruise line is their loyalty programs. We enjoyed every evening going to the Platinum and Elite cocktail party. There are always appetizers and special cocktails to enjoy before dinner.

Elite cocktail party
Mary enjoying a specialty cocktail

The next best thing is we used the ship as our hotel for the night, and didn’t sail away until the following evening! That meant, we were able to dine aboard or off ship. We chose to dine onboard, at one of the ship’s specialty restaurants, The Crown Grill. We were celebrating Anne’s birthday when we boarded, so the venue was perfect and so was the meal.

Ribeye steak in the Crown Grill
A prime rib-eye, cooked to perfection
Filet and Lobster
Surf and turf for me

We knew we were going to indulge and celebrate Anne’s birthday, and Princess Cruise Lines did not disappoint us with this delightful meal. The dessert for Anne’s birthday was just as lovely.

Princess signature chocolate dessert
Princess special birthday dessert

Wandering the ship after dinner, we stopped in the Good Spirits lounge, and my sister again encountered another friend in the crew. She brought a small gift to him, in the form of a Costco size bag of beef jerky. I’m sure there was a story there, but it was apparent to me he enjoyed seeing her and receiving the gift!

Anne & friend from Good Spirits
Anne’s favorite bartender in Good Spirits

Our journey was only beginning and we had 14 days on board the Caribbean Princess. We sailed from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale Florida, and I will be adding some of my adventures in upcoming posts.

Do you have a favorite cruise line or a favorite way to travel? Share your story in the comments.