We began today’s explorations with threatening skies but the sun soon shone on these two happy travelers. Today’s theme was to appreciate the role of the St. Lawrence River as the gateway to North America in the colonial era, before the advent of roads, railways, etc.
A 90 minute cruise on the river aboard the Louis Jolliet was disappointing from a scenery standpoint, as there is quite a bit of industry downriver from Quebec City. If you just want to see Quebec City from the water, the ferry to Levis is a much better deal. However, the narration by the costumed guide (portraying the explorer Louis Jolliet) was excellent, covering the history of Quebec City, the river, and the surroundings. The cruise reaches Montmorency falls, but your view is limited by a bridge. We will cover the falls in more detail in a future post. If you do take this cruise, be sure to wear warm clothes, as the temperatures on the water are always cooler than on shore.
We bicycled on the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence River, following dedicated bike paths which were built on abandoned railroad rights of way. These rail trails feature limited inclines, making them ideal for cyclists of all abilities. The trails here are of excellent quality, and feature many bonuses such as small parks and public art.
Our day ended in Lower Old Quebec in The Petit Champlain neighborhood at the Place Royale. Today the square is a center of tourism, but has a distinguished history as the location where Samuel de Champlain established a fur trading post in 1608, earning it the title of “birthplace of New France.”