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Getting a taste of Europe in Quebec City – Cross Canada Adventure

WTF? I thought we were backpacking across Canada… how the hell did we take a wrong turn and end up in Europe?

Wait, never mind. We haven’t accidently wandered into a small town in France, although you could be excused for thinking that we had. The melodic tones of people speaking French float through the air as we walk past stone turrets, peaked roofs, melodramatic Gothic Cathedrals and narrow, steep cobblestone streets.

However, instead of warm European sunshine our faces are hit with the bracing chill of October breezes. Winter is coming soon and we are almost all of the way across this enormous country. Will we finish our trip backpacking across Canada before the first snow descends upon us?

Random Snowball Fights

Although we haven’t seen a proper snowfall yet this year while backpacking across Canada, there seemed to be some leftover snow here in the older part of the city. Perhaps it was pushed into a pile there in an earlier snow storm and hadn’t melted yet.

Either way, here is a great action shot of Lee hitting me in the stomach with a snowball. Don’t worry I got him back!

I Love Old Town Quebec City!

When you are visiting Quebec City, the absolute best part of the city is the Old Town. This is the part of town which really makes you feel like you have traveled back in time. It is surrounded by a huge stone wall which was built by the French and British Armies and inside the wall most of the buildings are original from the 1700s and 1800s.

Be sure to find the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac, which is one of the major icons of the city. Its claim to fame is that it is the “most photographed hotel in North America” and when you see it you will understand why. We took a walk along the Dufferin Terrace, which is the boardwalk east of the hotel that looks out over the beautiful St. Lawrence River.

The Chateau Frontenac
The Chateau Frontenac

Whenever people ask me about the most beautiful places we visited while backpacking across Canada, Quebec City is always top of the list.

Old Town Murals

A highlight of the Quebec City Old Town for me were the Trompe-l’œil murals which were painted on the sides of the buildings. They were so detailed and realistic in their faux-3D that I felt like I could walk right into them. Some of them depicted city scenes and others showed scenes of industry or how life used to be a few hundred years ago.

Old Town Quebec City Murals
Old Town Quebec City Murals
Another Amazing Mural
Another Amazing Mural

River Ferry Rides

If you want to get fantastic views of the Chateau Frontenac and the Lower Old Town and have the experience of being on a boat on the river, there is a Ferry that you can take to Levis. It only costs around $3 and runs throughout the day. We didn’t even bother to get off at the other side because there is really nothing there, but we had a lot of fun sailing back and forth and enjoying the view.

Couch Surfing with a Rat

One of the most memorable things about our time in Quebec City was that our lovely CouchSurfing host Caroline had a rat in her house!
Don’t panic, we weren’t staying in disgustingly dirty rodent-infested hovels when backpacking across Canada. Caroline lived in a lovely apartment which was very clean!

This little creature was actually Caroline’s pet and she lived in a cage in the living room. She had a French name that I couldn’t even pronounce let alone spell, but Lee and I called her Ratatouille. She was the sweetest little thing in the world and we quickly made friends. Unfortunately, the little fuzzy darling has a cancerous tumor and probably won’t be around for very long. Poor thing!

Lee and His Little Rat Friend
Lee and His Little Rat Friend
Best Friends Forever!
Best Friends Forever!

Au Revoir French Canada!

When we leave Quebec City the next stop on our journey backpacking across Canada will be New Brunswick. Stay tuned to hear about our adventures there!

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.


  1. Those murals are amazing. The depth and detail makes them come to life. Were they commissioned by the government or were they private ventures?

    • The murals were commissioned for the city’s 400th anniversary celebrations by the Commission de la Capitale Nationale, an organisation responsible for developing and promoting the capital. They are gorgeous, aren’t they?

  2. Quebec city is beautiful. The last time I was there was a long time ago in grade school but I still remember the tour they took us on. Even at 13 I could still appreciate it. and awwww at the rat!!!! I probably would have wanted to take it home lol.

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