We had our fill of the city yesterday, so it seemed like time to head out to the country. We also learned that William and Kate would be in town as part of their Canada tour, an event undoubtedly to be attended by legions of their admirers and non-admirers alike. That cemented the decision for us. First stop is the Montmorency Falls. At 84 meters, it’s higher than Niagara Falls.
Here again was another site related to the Battle of Québec. General James Wolfe made his first attack here at Montmorency Falls. However, French forces, having the strategic advantage of height and fortified positions, inflicted disproportionately heavy casualties on the British. Wolfe withdrew to recover, while the French gained confidence and perhaps lowered their guards a bit. Later on Wolfe would alter his approach and was ultimately successful, though he did not live to see the victory.
Montmorency Falls didn’t take whole day, so we decided to head to the Île d’Orléans. Sophie had told us that it was a beautiful area. We took the short hop over the bridge and took a counter-clockwise loop around the island. There are 6 villages on the island. The landscape is mostly rural with farmlands, orchards and vineyards. And strawberries for sale everywhere. Apparently it was the island’s main crop at the moment. We stopped by a farm stand and paid $7CAD for a big basket, probably 5 pounds or so. By the time we left the island, it was almost gone.
We stopped by Café Resto in Ste-Pétronille for some pricey prepared lunch. Next door is a famous chocolaterie, though in an oversight we neglected to try it. In our defense, strawberries > chocolate. I was thoroughly beat after the day’s activities. We stopped at small park in St-François at the tip of the island. The observation tower was roped off, but the gentle breeze was what we were after. It was the most satisfying nap yet.
Having completely circled the island, we overlapped our own tracks to get back to a vineyard, Vignoble Ste-Pétronille, which was recommended by the guidebook. Their dessert wine was purported to be excellent.
Not wanting to go home yet, we stopped by the famous basilica of Ste-Anne de Beaupré. It’s big and ornate. Also intriguing was the somewhat tacky-sounding Cyclorama de Jerusalem next door. I think I’d rather visit the real Jerusalem, however.
For dinner we stopped at Restaurant Thang Long. We knew that this place was BYOW. However, everybody took this seriously and every table was supplied with a bottle of wine, and every guest that arrived had one under their arms. We sat down but felt pretty left out. So we asked the waitress for the location of the nearest establishment. Conveniently it was about 50m away. This place is Vietnamese in name, though I didn’t recognize very many dishes. The food was good, partly because we were quite hungry. I could have sworn I used to make #2 back in graduate school, albeit with lesser ingredients.
Back in St-Roch we found a big crowd in front of the church. Turned out there was an out-door concert given by the Québec symphony orchestra and featuring some well-known (but not to us) crooners. For a small city, Québec certainly has a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately it also started raining, and we decided to come back to chill inside. Through the open window I could hear a loud cheer from the crowds. Dancing Queen was coming on…