New France Festival, Quebec City, Canada, August 2011

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Joyce has visited Quebec City many times. I looked forward to sharing the sights she'd seen and was not disappointed. On the drive up we stopped in Burlington, VT, for an overnight stay and a visit with relatives of Joyce. I'd lived in Burlington for parts of 1967 and 1968 while in college. With the exception of the church at the head of Church Street and a bridge over the Winooski River the city was unrecognizable. The formerly derelict waterfront had sprouted condos, restaurants and a boat basin. Church Street's become a pedestrian mall complete with upscale restaurants and boutique shops. The campus of University of Vermont had grown from human size to a sprawling collection of new buildings swallowing the open ground I'd remembered.

I'll never again laugh when reading stories of people who let their auto GPS systems take them places unintended. Driving north to Burlington, not having done a sanity check of the route the machine selected for us, the roads changed from four lane divided Interstates to two lane well maintained state roads to rutted county roads depositing us at a ferry terminal on the ‘wrong’ side of Lake Champlian. With the next boarding two and half-hours away we'd plenty of time to eat ice cream, stare out onto the lake while considering the error of our ways.


Our Hotel in Quebec, The Old City

Our Hotel in the Old City of Quebec

We stayed in Old Town Quebec, inside the city walls at the Hotel Cap Diamant. on Sainte Geneviev St, just below the Citadel. Old Town Quebec's is listed on the United Nation's World Heritage Convention of historic sites. Photo upper center; a street view of Hotel Cap Diamant. The Diamant's garden offered a quiet, comfortable place to enjoy breakfast. We were just a short walk from the bustle of tourist filled streets.


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Parade of Giants

Parade of the Giants

The parade of Giants is a highlight of Quebec City's Les Fetes de la Nouvelle France (New France Festival). We watched the parade from just inside the St. Louis gate. One person is inside the giant, which runs on rollers, while one or more guides show the way. The giants represent figures from Quebec's history. In the photo above, lower right, Felix Leclerc, a musician and leader in the Mouvement souverainiste du Québec (Quebec sovereignty movement). Upper left, The Great Spirit of the Nations pays tribute to the first inhabitants of Canada. The character of a woman reflects the matriarchal dominance in those cultures. Lower left, Marie-Victoire symbolizes all the women of New France - the grandmother, the mother, the wife, the daughter. Dancers, marching bands, visitors, locals dressed in period costumes accompany the Giants.


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New France Festival - Parade of the People

The People's Parade

Locals, invited quests and groups, tourists, all are welcome to join the parade. Period costumes are available for rental. In the photo above, upper left, a fire dancer entertains the crowd. Lower left, Musketeers reenacters show their fencing prowess. Center bottom, in a gesture to the English role in Quebec's history a band marched the streets in kilts accompanied by Highland Pipes. Lower right, the breed of horse I'm most suited to ride. Center right, people of the first nations bring their unique heratige to the celebration. Upper right a Voyageur celebrates a rare visit to town. Furs brought Europeans to Canada. French Voyagers controlled the trade until the English drove the French military out of Canada. Top center, Crowd participation was encouraged, often demanded, by parade participants. Moi was taken in hand as a prospective husband for one of three farmer's daughter. My hands were considered too soft for farm work though and I was quickly abandoned. Top center, For a moment Joyce travels back in time joining the citizens of New France.


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The Citadel

The Citadel

First built by the English in the early 1800's, the fort was reactivated in 1920 as a military base by the Canadian Army. It served and still serves as the headquarters for the Royal 22e Régiment. Members of the regiment have been and are now all French speakers. In the photo above, upper left, a view of the St. Lawrence River seen from the ramparts. To establishing local noon before clocks became common the globe inside the iron cage dropped at noon. Upper right, during The Changing of the Guard the new guard marches in to relieve the old. Lower left the unit mascot, Baptiste, joins the Corporal of the Guard reviewing the new guard. Bottom center, a view of the fort's main buildings. All are built of local sandstone quarried by soldiers of the regiment at the time of building. Photo, lower right, “JE ME SOUVIENS” (I Remember) is the motto of the regiment and of the province of Quebec.


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Scenes of Old Town Quebec

Scenes of Old Town Quebec

The portion of the city inside the walls is compact. Street, lanes and alleys twist and turn throughout presenting a maze to the directionally challenged. The Upper Town is dominated by the Citadel, the Lower Town by the waterfront. Upper right, the Château Frontenac overlooks the boardwalk, show above, lower left. Thought you get by without a photograph of a horse? Silly rabbit, you must be kidding! Lower right, Carriages roam the streets from dawn to well after dark. Bottom center, the site of the horse extravaganza, Cavalia, lies just beyond the boat basin. We had 4th row seats, horse head high. I was in horse lover's heaven the entire show. We enjoyed a ferry ride on the St. Lawrence River. It's so wide at Quebec City it's easy to forget it's a river. Upper left center, cranes wait patiently for the next cargo ship to dock. Upper left corner, on an otherwise undistinguished wall in the lower town a fresco, one of 11 in the city, adorns a building wall.


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Joyce and I

The Two of Us

With apologies to Lionel Bart and the Broadway show Oliver …Food, food, glorious food! We enjoyed French cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the photo above, upper right, crepes and wine for lunch. Joyce is the one with mushrooms on her crepe. I prefer not to eat fungus :–) Lower left resplendent under a red awning we raise our glasses to … the city of Quebec, our gracious host. Center left, more wine please. Upper left, Joyce joins the canoe man in song. Lower right, Joyce waiting for the Parade of Giants. Bottom center, moi and Joyce enjoying a ferry tour of the St. Lawrence off Quebec.


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Updated: November 18, 2014