- Published: Friday, 16 October 2015 07:00
- Written by Dan
Dispatch by Daniel Puiatti
Photos by Will Allen
Quebec City, capital of the province of Quebec and one of the oldest European cities in North America (it's over 400 years old!) It's at once recognized for its incredible history and fantastic cycling opportunities. The city’s unique location, rich history and incredibly well preserved buildings have garnered it recognition from UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has developed an international reputation as an iconic Canadian city. Needless to say I was incredibly excited to be heading back.
Our journey through Quebec City starts bright and early as we rendezvous with Guy Methot, an avid urban cyclist who has been riding the streets and trails in Quebec City for over a decade. Guy tells us to meet him at the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, as it's one of the best ways to bike into Quebec City. The promenade sits at a portion of La Route Verte cycling path that runs along the banks of the St. Lawrence and winds around the outskirts of Quebec City. Guy tells us that this portion of La Route Verte is best enjoyed early in the morning or late in the evening when it is less busy. It's a great tip, always try and pedal during off hours!
Meeting Guy Methot and heading out towards Quebec City
We begin our ride flanked by the picturesque St. Lawrence River on our right and the beautiful and unique architecture inspired by Northern France on our left. The trail runs through a variety of historical sites and winds its way towards the Château Frontenac and towards Old Quebec. The sky is clear and the path is just about empty. It's a perfect day for cycling.
The ride is fairly easy, and flat, compared to the hilly landscapes of the Eastern Townships and the Saguenay region. As we ride along Guy points out the bushes running along side the trail. He motions for us to stop and promptly rushes off to grab a handful of bright red fruit. It's Rose Hip, the edible fruit of the rose plant that is packed with Vitamin C. I grab a few and chow down. Delicious, sort of like a tangier persimmon, and it makes a fantastic herbal tea.
Delicious Rose Hip!
After about a half hour of departing Promenade Samuel-De Champlain we arrive at Rue Saint-Paul in Old Quebec. The streets are bustling with people and so we decide to park our bikes and go for a stroll. Every corner is alive with activity and we pass street performers, musicians and countless historical sites.
Walking through Old Quebec and Rue du Trésor
We make our way to one of my favourite parts of Quebec City, Rue du Trésor, a narrow alleyway lined with unique Quebecois artwork. I remember coming here with my mother when I was much younger. She would spend hours looking at the art and chatting with the artists. I'm happy that it seems to be exactly the way I remember. There is still art everywhere and the artists are all more than happy to spend time chatting with you about their work. If you are ever in Quebec City you need to stop off and experience this fantastic slice of culture as almost all visual mediums are on display here. It's a perfect reflection of Quebec's vibrant arts scene.
We wrap our walking tour up with a fantastic lunch at Restaurant SSS and head back to our bikes to the final leg of our cycling journey. Whew!