QUEBEC

What to see - part 1

Part 1 Beloeil Chocolaterie Belge
  Montreal City Tour
  TC-40 From Montreal to Québec - St Louis du Ha ! Ha !
  Beaupré Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré
  Montmorency The Falls of Montmorency
     
Part 2 Ile d'Orléans the best French Fries west of Belgium...
  Quebec City Tour
  T-C 20 From Québec to Rivière-du-Loup
  Rivière-du-Loup Whale Watching !
     
  other pages Quebec : overview and history | other provinces | articles
  Articles La Nouvelle France | the French and Indian War

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Beloeil : Chocolaterie Belge "La Cabosse d'Or"

In Beloeil we visited the Chocolaterie Belge, La Cabosse d'Or.

The owner Jean-Paul is an amiable and charming man, and the quality of his products is excellent.

Of course...

On their website you can find an interesting article about their history.

http://www.lacabossedor.com

La Cabosse d'Or

Montreal : city tour

In Montreal we visited "Le Vieux Montreal" and the port. Picturesque old houses, beautifully restored, many shops and a plethora of small restaurants ! The City Tour bus leaves at rue Peel, for a tour of approximately 3 hours through Montreal. Remarkably, in Montreal all street names are French, but the center of the city exclusively wears English names, preceded by "rue" and "boulevard"...

The city of Montreal is certainly not lacking in interesting sights.

Dorchester Square, Place Ville-Marie (the entrance to a real underground city with shops, banks, restaurants, and hotels, so that people don't even have to go outside during the winter. Chinatown, only three by eight blocks large, but crowded with shops.

And of course the basilica Notre Dame, with a very nice interior and a magnificent wedding chapel, in which a two-year advance reservation is necessary...

Then there is the port, and the artificial island of Notre Dame (where in 1967 the world exhibition took place. The entire island was built with the sand that came out of the subway ! The Casino of Montreal (the old and restored French Pavilion), La Ronde (an amusement park that has been bought by Six Flags), recent and older residences, and the busy shopping street rue Ste-Catherine.

Montreal : basilica Notre Dame 1

Montreal : basilica Notre Dame 2
   
Montreal : basilica Notre Dame 3 Montreal : island of Notre Dame 1
   
Casino of Montreal Montreal : church of St Joseph

The church of St Joseph is also worth a visit. It is a place of worship, where repentant penitents creep up the seven hundred and forty wooden steps on their knees, all the while muttering prayers. Afterwards they can then be carried to the University clinic, to have their knees repaired...

Other points of interest are the Universities of Montreal (two French and two English), and the Lookout Point on Mount Royal, with a stunning view over the city. We also mention "Le Village", a community of gays, lesbians and transvestites. The list of sights is simply endless !

Everywhere there are extensive social services, virtually free medical care, homes for seniors, more than 200 kilometers of separated bike paths, beautifully maintained parks, free schools, several buildings that were bought by the state, in short, a very social community. Federal (23%) and provincial (27%) taxes are of course at a corresponding level...

Most Montreal residents greatly preferred the International Exhibition of 1967, rather than the recent Olympic games, which were infuriatingly expensive, and mostly developed into ego-trips for the local politicians... We also learned their name for Senior Citizens ; they are called Recycled Teenagers...

TC-40 : from Montreal to Québec

On the way to Quebec, the landscape changes, with more pine trees than trees with leaves, and less than 100% agriculture. We also saw (or felt...) that the quality of the road gradually decreased, and that the sides of the road were not too well maintained. Between Montreal and Quebec there are two major cities, Drummondville and Victoriaville.

St. Louis du Ha! Ha!Almost all of the intermediate towns bear the name of a saint, Saint-here and Saint-there, so much so that they had to come up with saintly names with hinges, probably because they ran out of regular names... Which is why there are peculiar names such as Ste-Agathe-de-Lothbinière, Ste-Eulalie, or even worse, St-Apollinaire (probably the patron saint of the French water Apollinaris...).

Across the entire province we encountered many villages with remarkable names, but the undeniable topper is undoubtedly "St. Louis du Ha! Ha!"... It is the only town in the world with two exclamation points!

As to the language, in the province of Toronto everything is indicated bilingual English / French, but in the province of Quebec everything is exclusively French. Which of course provides nice if rather chauvinistic linguistic gems such as "le Covoiturage" for car pooling, and "Prenez un ticket au Horodataire" for "take a ticket in the parking meter"... Even local advertizing regularly yields verbal infections such as "Buvez du Schtroumpf, c'est vraiment Smooth" (Drink Schtroumpf, it's really smooth)...

Beaupré : Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré

The landscape outside Quebec is densely built and somewhat messy, in that residential dwellings, industrial buildings, factories and small shops are all rather haphazardly mixed together.

The Basilica of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré is a famous place of pilgrimage, and it is the oldest shrine in North America. Actually this is the fourth version, since it has been rebuilt three times, and the last time was in 1923. The basilica is built like a monument, and its front is turned toward Quebec. It would however have been more logical to point it to the incoming ships, along the St-Laurent river.

Beaupré : Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré 1 Beaupré : Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré 2

The exterior is rather austere, and the facade has a nice design, even though it is somewhat exuberant. Even the towers, extraordinarily enough, have been entirely built in stone. Above the entrance stands Ste-Anne, covered in gold leaf.

Beaupré : Basilique Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré 3Ste-Anne is particularly invoked by addicts and the infirm, and several miraculous healings have been attributed to her. Therefore many crutches and all kinds of physical supports are exhibited...

The interior of the basilica is covered with mosaics, and the ceiling is quite exceptional. The quality of the mosaics may perhaps be somewhat less than German mosaics, but the result is certainly most worthwhile!

Where once stood the third church of Ste-Anne a memorial chapel has been built, where pious believers once again can "lobster up" the (wooden) steps on their knees, in memory of the steps that Jesus had to climb when he appeared before Pontius Pilate. Fortunately this chapel is not too far from the basilica, so that the exhibited crutches and supports can probably come in handy for someone else...

The general impression of the basilica is its splendor, although the church was built in a period of war and hardship. Maybe a waste of money, but beautiful nevertheless !

Montmorency : les chutes de Montmorency

The falls of Montmorency are proudly announced to be 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls. That is correct, but they are also some 400 meters smaller...

les chutes de Montmorency 1 les chutes de Montmorency 2
   
les chutes de Montmorency 3

However, the view could be far more beautiful if the top would be slightly widened, and especially if the right side, which is now a gnawed and pulverized stone slope, would be planted more carefully.

Instead, at the bottom of the waterfall a large sound and light show and several galleries have been installed, that completely clash with the natural environment...

** Continue reading with Things to See - Part 2 **