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Trip to Montreal, Quebec City, and anywhere else in Quebec this summer

Trip to Montreal, Quebec City, and anywhere else in Quebec this summer

Old Jan 26th, 2022, 05:17 PM
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Trip to Montreal, Quebec City, and anywhere else in Quebec this summer

My wife and I are planning to travel to Northern Vermont and Quebec for about two weeks this summer, July or early August. I've been to Vermont at least 15 or 20 times, and this trip we'll fly to New England from Florida, and go to either Stowe, Burlington, or both, for perhaps 4 days. We'll then drive to Quebec for perhaps 10 days. If the total trip ends up 15 or 16 days, not the end of the world. I'd hoped to visit Nova Scotia, as we love Scotland (Nova Scotia = New Scotland), but we'll probably do that on another of our frequent trips to Maine. It looks like it's too far of a drive from Quebec.

I'm 63, moderately healthy, wife is 58. We'd probably go to Europe this summer if no COVID, but have wanted to go to Montreal and Quebec City anyway, so this seems like the year. If there's a COVID scare, I could stay in New England, and if there's a crisis while I'm in Quebec, I'll drive back before they close the border.

I like waterfalls, mountains, etc, as Florida is Flat. Don't need to go somewhere for sand and palm trees, they're all around me. My wife is more of a big city vacationer, I'm more smaller locations like Stowe or Woodstock Vermont, or Portland Maine, but we compromise with each other. We both like to visit quaint little towns as well as the big cities. One of our favorite cities in the world is York, an ancient walled city, and I think that Quebec City is somewhat like that. We're into historical buildings, architecture, little shops, museums (although I sit sometimes while she walks for hours through museums), good food, etc.

Multiple questions.

1. How long should we allot for Montreal vs. Quebec City vs. day trips, assuming 10 days there. Feel free to adjust to 11.
2. I understand that there are great waterfalls near both Montreal and Quebec City. Any hidden gems?
3. Any recommendations for day trips, or for staying overnight somewhere outside of the two cities?
4. Although I speak English and can get by in Spanish, I speak no French. Is this an issue? I'll certainly learn enough to be polite.
5. Any great sites in Montreal or Quebec City that we need to see? Assume that we'll have looked through some guidebooks, but won't know the less famous but still great places.
6. Does it matter when I go if it's going to be July or August? Is one month better than the other?
7. Any great local restaurants I need to go to besides the few that appear in the Guidebooks?
8. Anything else I should know or should have asked?

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Senator Steve.

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Old Jan 27th, 2022, 02:37 PM
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Hi SenatorSteve,

Yes, it's a long way to Nova Scotia from Vermont. Nova Scotia doesn't really remind me much of Scotland, although you will see kilts worn at the Citadel in Halifax. I find however there is a unique Nova Scotia charm, some pretty stunning ocean views and topography to be had from places like Peggy's Cove, as well as great seafood, so definitely worthwhile to visit at some point. 10-11 days would actually make Nova Scotia possible but Quebec certainly would mean you'd get to spend more time actually visiting places, rather than having long road days. And you're right about Old Quebec being a charming walled city; I remember feeling like I was in Europe when I first visited.

There truly are a ton of choices in southern Quebec that I don't know how to whittle it down but I can answer some of your questions.

1. Tough to know what split works best for people, but here's an idea, a kind of city-scenery compromise. 3 nights Montreal, 3 nights Quebec City and 4 nights somewhere scenic. There are lots of really beautiful regions around Montreal; the Laurentians and Eastern Townships in particular, although heading to the Charlevoix region might be worth considering given your time frame, possibly going to Tadoussac for whale watching. I've never stopped in the Charlevoix although remember fondly driving past as the vistas are stunning. Tadoussac I spent 2 nights; I'd recommend a whale watching boat while there, even thought I did have the pleasure of seeing belugas playing near the shore.
4. I wouldn't stress too much about this, It is possible that you will run into a unilingual French-speaker who can't speak English but doing more touristy things, less likely. Most people in the service industry are regularly serving English speakers.
6. Don't think it really matters between July or August.
7. Montreal had an amazing and innovative restaurant scene, which was truly one of the joys of being here; sadly many of my go-to restaurants have closed as a result of the pandemic shutdowns. At the moment, delivery & pickup is all that's occurring here. This should hopefully not be the case by the time of your visit and I hope the outdoor dining terraces will be in full swing at that point (likely I suspect) as they can be quite festive.

One piece of good news is that if things are still somewhat restrictive here, there Is a lot of appealing things to do in the great outdoors in southern Quebec, even in greater Montreal and greater Quebec City; examples: strolling in Old Montreal and Old Quebec is lovely to get a sense of the history, lots of interesting biking excursions to do in greater Montreal (and Ottawa as well, which is within 2 hours of Montreal), Parc Mont Royal is terrific for hiking.

WIshing you a great trip whatever you decide.

Daniel


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Old Jan 30th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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Both Montreal and Quebec City are food-crazy. https://www.restomontreal.ca/ and https://restomontreal.ca/ are booking services with extensive restaurant lists. Places are sorted by area and by type of cuisine. There is some user input. They also identify AVV restaurants – that's the French translation of BYOB. Some, certainly not all, allow diners to bring their own wine, usually with no corkage fee. Often these are the smaller, fun spots.

Quebecois ride bikes even in winter. Possibilities range from guided tours through daily rental to by-the hour commuter bikes. Googe shows plentiful sources.

Check with city tourist authorities for special events. Note that one of the world's biggest jazz festivals has traditionally been held in downtown Montreal at the start of July. If it goes ahead this year, it will make finding a hotel last-minute almost impossible. That city loves summer events from grand-prix to fiddle music so advance reservations are a good idea.

During the summer Quebec Citadel atop the Plains of Abraham, site of the major battle between the English and French long ago, sees the troops of the Royal 22nd Regiment – the legendary “Van Doos” – march out for flag-raising. The Citadel and its museum can be toured although it is still an active military base. No ceremony in bad weather; the bear-skin hats don't like rain. Wonderful views across the St. Lawrence River too.

Tour of the Citadelle and the Museum - La Citadelle de Québec ? Musée Royal 22e Régiment

Changing of the Guard - La Citadelle de Québec ? Musée Royal 22e Régiment

Bonus: Here is Batiste, the traditional mascot of the regiment

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-p...-18-1133899379


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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 07:48 AM
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You've gotten a lot of good advice so far. Definitely spend more time in Montreal - it's much bigger and varied. Both cities are great for just walking around. If you are so inclined, Montreal is perhaps the best city in North America for bicycling - there are nice dedicated bike trails everywhere.
The Eastern Townships are a very nice getaway from Montreal, the Charlevoix area is a great getaway from Quebec City.
The western half of the Eastern Townships are basically flat, mostly open farmland, as you head further east away from Montreal, the topography becomes more mountainous and Vermont like. There are about 2 dozen beautiful wineries in the Townships, with the epi-center being the little town of Dunham. There are also apple orchards, cider mills, lakes,mountains and beautiful parks. The Eastern Townships have some very pleasant and civilized road biking paths - many are paved and flat. Some towns to consider as a base would be Bromont, Sutton, and Magog.
The Charlevoix area offers spectacular scenery, plenty of hiking and whale watching. Baie-Saint Paul and Tadoussac would be nice bases.
Anywhere outside the metro areas of Montreal and QC are going to be primarily French speaking (all the highway signs are in French), so it would be good to have a smattering of French phrases.
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 11:24 AM
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Daniel, Southam, Zootsi:

Thank you for your advice. Based on this, I'll spend more time in Montreal than Quebec City, and do more research on the Eastern Townships and Charlevoix.

Deeply disappointed that Nova Scotia isn't more like Scotland, but I still intend to visit when I'm on a trip to Maine, like I was last summer.

Almost certainly the Omicron variant will have played out in the next month or three; I just hope that there's not another new variant by this summer (or ever).

My wife and I don't drink beer, but we both drink cider and wine (and in my case, Scotch), so it sounds like we'll visit some wineries or cideries.

I'm fairly fluent is Spanish, which has the same base as French, so I'm sure that I can pick up enough French before the trip to at least be polite and ask and understand some simple Q&A. I always find that people appreciate if you've at least tried to learn a little of their language.

I need to spend more time in Canada. I've only spent any significant time in British Columbia, and if Trump get's re-elected in 2024, I may need to move to another country, and Canada is the top choice. Oops, I'll try to be non-political.

Still reading any other comments or advice.

Thank you all. I love the Fodor's Travel Blog community. So helpful, such nice people.

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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 02:16 PM
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Steve - I totally agree with your comment on 2024 - Quebec would be a very nice place to be - I'll just leave it at that. On the wineries: most of them are quite beautiful and nicely set up. However don't expect Napa Valley type wines. Many of the whites are quite good, and a few of the reds are fair to middling. However their ice wines are world class.
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Old Feb 5th, 2022, 02:22 AM
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Mr. Steve,

If you make your trip to Nova Scotia in the future you may want to add 2 other Atlantic Provinces to your trip, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. They are very different from each other and offer beautiful scenery, amazing seafood, friendly folks. We love PEI and drive 2 days from Philadelphia to spent several weeks on the island each year, prior to Covid. It is about 6 hour drive from Bangor, Me going via 95 and Take 2 to 16 to the Confederation Bridge. I have listed our favorite places in PEI here Halifax and PEI

If you need more details let us know. We have been to all 50 states, most of Canada, Scotland,Ireland England, and Italy but always find the time to return to PEI.

Tom
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Old Feb 5th, 2022, 11:03 PM
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Don't be too deeply disappointed Nova Scotia's not like Scotland. It would be like expecting New England to be like England because of its name. But we all know it's not like England. Or New York to be like Yorkshire. Nova Scotia's the same way. In many ways, it's more like Maine. But the Scots were some of Canada's founding pioneers, not just in Nova Scotia, but also in other provinces such as in BC and even in Quebec. Nova Scotia just happens to be the only province with their moniker, but they're no more Scottish than anywhere else in the country. Vancouver Island, for example, was settled by Scottish coal barons, but you'd never know it these days.

Canada has so much in common with the USA. Generally speaking, Canada's provinces share more in common with their immediate US neighbour states than anywhere else in Canada. Nova Scotia's got more in common with Maine than it does with BC. BC shares more in common with Washington and Alaska than it does Ontario. Quebec, despite its French language, has more in common with New York than it does with, say, Alberta. (I'd even argue Montreal is more of a kindred spirit to New York's Brooklyn or Boston than Paris or Vancouver). Alberta has more in common with Montana than it does with New Brunswick. Ontario has more in common with Ohio and Michigan than it does with PEI. And so on.

Last edited by RogerLeonAWL; Feb 5th, 2022 at 11:16 PM.
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Old Feb 7th, 2022, 07:51 AM
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I have spent a week, twice, in Quebec City. It's a good stand-in for Europe and one of the most beautiful cities anywhere. I find it endlessly fascinating, and there are tons of street performers doing some amazing things during the summer as well as festivals. Of course, I don't know what it will be like THIS summer. Get croissants at Chez Temporel. None are better, even with a transatlantic plane ticket.
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Old Feb 8th, 2022, 02:47 PM
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Thank you

Thank you all for your input.

I'm disappointed to hear that Nova Scotia isn't more like Scotland, but it makes sense.

I'm looking forward to Quebec Province this summer, assuming no 5th wave of COVID.

When I go to Nova Scotia on a future trip, I'll also go to PEI, and consider New Brunswick.

Thanks again



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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 04:41 PM
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Here's the thread from my 2019 trip to Montréal (5 nights) and Québec City (4 nights). Highly recommend the day trip to Chute Montmorency and the gorgeous Sanctuaire Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré from QC. Loved both M & QC. Plenty of photos on the website portion of trip report.

Colorful Québec: Mai Tai Tom's 2019 Journey to Montréal & Québec City

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Old Mar 3rd, 2022, 07:00 AM
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Everyone goes to Montmorency eventually if they have enough time as it's close enough to QC and pleasant enough. For me, it left no impression whatsoever. I got there on my second visit to QC, as there is so much great exploring to do in both the upper and lower towns.

A more worthwhile excursion is visiting the National Longhouse Ekiokiestha if you are itching to get out of old Quebec. There is also the Musee du Chocolat, which is a small shop that provides a good excuse to eat chocolate. Not that anyone need an excuse.

Last edited by shelemm; Mar 3rd, 2022 at 07:14 AM.
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Old Mar 4th, 2022, 07:45 AM
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"Everyone goes to Montmorency eventually ..."

Below is one reason why they do.


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