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August 9, 2016 / Retirementallychallenged.com

GratiTuesday: European charm without the jet lag

Our second stop after enjoying a few days in Montreal was Quebec City, North America’s only walled city north of Mexico City. Based on a visit my husband made there many years ago (pre-me), we decided to allow for a longer stay so we had more time to take in the sights.

The fortifications were developed between 1608 and 1871, erected under both French and British regimes.

The fortifications were built between 1608 and 1871, erected under both French and British regimes.

Upon entering the old walls, it was easy to see why Old Town Quebec has been designated a World Heritage site. The stone buildings and cobblestone streets are reminiscent of European cities and, of course, the French influence is evident everywhere. We were eager to check into our Airbnb and ditch our rental car. This was a town that begged to be explored on foot.

This was to be our first experience with Airbnb and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Fortunately, from the moment we met our host, Frederick, and saw our apartment, it was obvious that we made a good choice. The apartment was well-equipped and comfortable, and the small kitchen would help us avoid too many expensive and unhealthy meals out.  It was just a few blocks from a busy area, but, since the apartment was located on a side street, it provided a quiet respite from the hub-bub. We were also pleasantly surprised that Frederick had put together a nice guidebook with helpful suggestions of things to do and see as well as places to eat.

As soon as we got unpacked, we put on our walking shoes and left to explore our new neighborhood, pick up a few groceries, and sign up for an English-language walking tour the next day.

 

I am so grateful when I visit an historical gem like Quebec City. Even though the streets are filled with tourists (and, there wasn’t even a cruise ship in port), and Subway Sandwiches and a few tacky T-shirt shops have found their way in, Quebec City has managed to hold on to its core beauty. The centuries-old architecture, historic sites, beautiful views of the Saint Lawrence River, and lovely sidewalk cafes invite you to explore this living museum.

Read more about our visit to Quebec City in my next post.

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25 Comments

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  1. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Aug 9 2016 4:22 pm

    I am thoroughly enjoying reading your posts on Canada, Janis. You made excellent choices of places to visit (although I still look forward to you visiting our West Coast).
    Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

  2. Kate Crimmins / Aug 9 2016 4:32 pm

    Looking forward to more stories on this trip!

    • dconnollyislandgmailcom / Aug 9 2016 4:40 pm

      Me too!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 9 2016 4:55 pm

      It really was a great trip. We packed a lot in to 30 days.

      • Kate Crimmins / Aug 10 2016 6:12 am

        30 days! That is a LONG trip! My friends just spent 3 weeks in Europe. The last week I could hear the homesick in my friend’s emails.

  3. joannesisco / Aug 9 2016 5:37 pm

    I’ve been to QC so many times over the years and yet each time feels like a new experience. It is a treat of a city and I like your description “living museum”.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 10 2016 9:05 am

      I would love to visit QC again… maybe in the fall when the leaves are so beautiful. Lucky you for being able to go there often.

      • joannesisco / Aug 10 2016 9:56 am

        I didn’t always feel that way. Struggling through several days of french with my in-laws was always stressful. Now it doesn’t seem so bad.

  4. Terri Webster Schrandt / Aug 9 2016 5:56 pm

    This sounds lovely! More people I know are using AirB&B with great success!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 10 2016 9:07 am

      We had very nice experiences for the most part. Only one would I not recommend to others. The key is to adjust expectations.

  5. Liesbet / Aug 10 2016 4:59 am

    I didn’t know anything about Quebec City, or Quebec in general, so I am really enjoying your posts, Janis. We have only stayed in an AirB&B once, in Wellington, New Zealand. It was OK, but the owner had not mentioned that she owned cats in her listing and Mark is allergic to cats… We were not too thrilled about that part.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 10 2016 9:13 am

      Airbnb hosts vary so much. Most, you can tell, are very involved and want to make their guests’ stay as comfortable as possible. Others just want to make extra money. I can’t imagine not including info about cats since so many people are allergic. I hope you included the info in your review.

      • Liesbet / Aug 10 2016 9:15 am

        We did. Our host felt bad about it and said she would update the listing. Everything else had been fine, so while very honest, we weren’t too mean in the review. 🙂 You are so right, I think most people want their guests to have a great experience and they care about the reviews as well.

  6. betsysbeat / Aug 10 2016 9:24 am

    Glad you had a good AirBnB experience! I haven’t tried it yet, but I have a friend who recently traveled all over Greece and stayed exclusively at AirBnB. She said they were on average cheaper than VRBO and had great experiences.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 10 2016 2:20 pm

      It was important to us to have a kitchen so we could prepare some of our own meals. Although not always cheaper than a mid-range hotel (Comfort Inn, La Quinta, etc) because of the Airbnb charge and the cleaning fee, for the most part we were pleased with our choices. I had been reading and hearing about Airbnb for awhile and wanted to check it out. I’m sure we will go that route again.

  7. boristoronto / Aug 11 2016 10:05 am

    Quebec city is definitely a must see when it comes to historical importance in North America. Oldest city and just plain stunning.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 11 2016 11:31 am

      It really was amazing. I will be adding two more posts (including today’s) about beautiful Quebec. Thank you for commenting!

      • boristoronto / Aug 11 2016 11:47 am

        Looking forward to seeing what else you’ve done in the Old city.

  8. rporter610 / Aug 13 2016 10:07 am

    Quebec City sounds lovely. I have wondered what it would be like to use Airbnb, and your description of your experience made me decide to try it soon. I’m addicted to international travel and wish I could afford to do more of it. Thanks for telling your experiences!

    Rin

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 13 2016 11:21 am

      I really recommend a trip to Quebec City! Airbnb was a good choice for us there; the hotels would have been pricey and probably wouldn’t have a full kitchen.

  9. edebock / Aug 13 2016 10:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing the Airbnb experience. We haven’t tried that yet, but are seriously considering it for an upcoming trip.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 14 2016 5:12 pm

      I definitely think it’s worth a try! Usually the pictures and descriptions they provide are pretty accurate. There was only one that we wouldn’t recommend, which I’ll write about soon. Still, that one wasn’t awful.

  10. runawaywidow / Feb 16 2017 4:25 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Quebec. Nice to know that your airbnb was successful.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Feb 16 2017 4:35 pm

      Quebec was so incredibly beautiful – I hope you get to visit soon. We had such (mostly) good experiences with Airbnb on that month-long road trip, we have gone that way several times since. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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