Road trip update: Coming back to Québec City

This is Montmorency Falls, near Québec City, Canada. I missed it the last time I was in town in 2002, because it was January, and people don’t visit the falls during the winter unless they want to go ice climbing.

I wish I had. It’s taller than Niagara Falls, and in many ways, it’s more accessible because of its cable car and bridge. Takes a good picture, too.

I know I’m not the first person to say this, but after two days in the provincial capital, I feel like I’ve been to France. Oh, I know the Québec-is-more-French-than-France thing is a travel writer cliché — but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Something else I missed when I visited Québec City almost a decade ago: All this green!

Here’s a view of the capitol building and Old Town, straddling the St. Lawrence River. I remember the grays and whites of mid-winter, but never had the opportunity to appreciate how many parks and trees the city has.

I’ll have more on our adventure in National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog. In the meantime, I wanted to make one observation about visiting Québec that might be helpful when you come here.

The culture is irresistible.

Our kids took to the Québec lifestyle frighteningly fast. They watched French-language programs on TV. They played with kids in the park who didn’t speak any English, and somehow managed to communicate just fine. Our youngest daughter even started saying a few words in French.

It is an easy culture to like, with its emphasis on good food and a slower pace of life than what we’re used to in the States.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Carrie Charney

    …And that is why kids should start learning a second, or even third, language in elementary school. They would be multilingual in no time!

  • Joyce

    Glad you and your family are having a wonderful time.  Have a safe trip home.  Joyce

  • Ladycarols

    Don’t miss Montmorency Falls in the winter! We went when we were in Quebec City one February because I saw a painting in the Montreal Art Museum of the Snow Cone that builds up at the base of the falls.  The whole scene was beautiful – ice climbers , bunnies running around in the snow, looking at the snow cone from the bridge over the falls.

    We were there again one August on a cruise. We didn’t think it was nearly as pretty in the summer. However, there wasn’t as much water then as in your current photo.

  • cjr001

    My wife was looking at some photos of Quebec the other day, noting how some view the city as visiting Europe without the plane trip. Maybe we’ll get up there some day. :)

  • TAPman

    Looking forward to reading about your experiences re-entering the United States!  Be sure to tell them you were working while in Canada!