Quebec City, day 2. Kim and I have taken our time getting up and head back to St. Joseph street around 10:30 to find breakfast. End up eating the most amazing sesame seed baguette sandwiches at this little boulangerie not far down the road called La Boîte à Pain. I have found baguette sandwiches in Montreal, but nothing ever came close to what you can find in France. This sandwich did more than come close; it surpassed the French version. Definitely recommend this place for breakfast/lunch/snack/just to enjoy the smell.
Afterwards we returned to Jean-François’s apartment, packed our things, thanked our host and jumped in the car to locate our next airbnb residence. This time we had to cross the river to the south shore, ville de Lévis. After a bit of confusion, we got on the ferry and headed across the river.
A few hours and two ferry rides later we were parked and back on the Quebec side of the river, looking for something to do. Jean-François had left us a nice long note about the best places to see and some cool events happening in the city. We decided to go look at some of the historic buildings and find somewhere to grab a pint. We wandered up this cute winding cobblestone street, and heard some smooth jazz music coming from an open door not far away.
I peeked my head around the door. “Are you open?” I asked in French of the elderly bartender (there was no one in the bar and it sounded like the band might just be practicing). He chuckled and said, “Oui, oui bien sûr.” After ordering a pair of Boreale blondes, we decided to sit and play a game of chess while listening to the band – who, it turned out, were three teenagers (at least one of which was probably related to the bartender) – who were still working on their routine. Regardless, they were pretty good, and we enjoyed their music. We asked the bartender to take a photo for us – it’s not the best quality, but definitely a fun memento!
After our game of chess, we decided to go see the free Cirque du Soleil show down near the river that was being performed under a huge highway overpass (maybe that’s why the bar is empty? Everyone’s at the Cirque du Soleil show?).
We arrive at the show 15 mins or so later after getting directions from a very friendly pedestrian carrying a soccer ball and a gym bag. Things are just picking up – costumed performers are walking through the standing audience, and a couple of them jump up on stage, shouting into megaphones. They directed us to dance, jump, wave our arms, and do the wave. Then, once they had everybody’s attention, more and more performers gathered onstage and began their first choreographed dance of the evening. As always, the Cirque du Soleil performance was very…fun. Their costumes were silly and fancy all at once, and the characters didn’t so much talk as emit noise. Throughout the show, there were firedancers, hula hoopers, flying trapezists, and a number of other dancers, musicians, and clowns. My favorite part was a number that included a few trampolines that at first were out of site, so when you see the first guy fall, it doesn’t look purposeful. But then he bounces right back up and other performers join in. Though the show was pretty short – only about 45 minutes long, it was still amazing that we got to see Cirque du Soleil for free! Where else can you achieve that feat?
After the show, we ate smoked meat at a little restaurant on the way back to the ferry (this is a Montreal must, btw) and caught the bus home. The next day we drove through the old city to see the sites we missed before – the boardwalk in front of Chateau Frontenac, Rue St. Jean, the Old Port market, an art fair we just happened upon near the Grand Allée, a cute garden with a statue of Joan of Arc, and a cool park with a historical lookout. Check out the beautiful views!