Quebec City, Wednesday Sept. 17
Canadian weather forecasters are no more accurate than their American counterparts. Today has turned out to be another cool and rainy day. Luckily, a good portion of the day was spent inside.
Breakfast was at another small restaurant near the hotel. The restaurant options are numerous, we are trying, but not succeeding, in eating at all of the options. While out walking, we were even able to direct a family seeking shelter from the rain to a nearby restaurant of reasonable prices.
Our first stop was Parliament. This was the provincial, not national, parliament; similar to our visit to the British Columbia Parliament we toured in Victoria last summer. We were early for the English tour so we took pictures outside. The fall flowers were colorful and there is a large fountain in the street in front of the building. Some of the gardens in front of the Parliament Building are used to grow edible plants. The harvest is used both in the Le Parlementaire restaurant in the building and to a local community food group.
Around the building are numerous statues depicting historical figures in Quebec history. The facade of the building has more sculptures in various nooks and crannies. The clock tower has a series of four lights that are turned on when the Legislature is in session.
The Parliament Building is home to the National Assembly of Quebec, a one-house legislature. The Senate was abolished in 1968. Legislature was in session so we were unable to enter that chamber but we did take in the former Senate chambers. I am not sure how much legislating was happening today; our tour guide indicated that many of the members of the opposition party were in Scotland to observe first-hand the separation vote occurring tomorrow.
Our next stop was the Plains of Abraham and the Discovery Center. The Plains of Abraham was the site of the 1759 battle between the French and the English. The English won the battle and New France disappeared as Canada became part of the British Empire. The Discovery Center is a multi-media presentation (with additional exhibits) of the 1759 battle, history, and significance of Quebec. The rains came down as we walked part of the plains (it is a big park) and so we headed back to the Parliament Building.
In the Parliament Building is a restaurant, Le Parlementaire, which was originally only for members of Parliament, but is now open to the public. We came here for a late lunch and to get out of the rain. You have to go through security again in order to enter the restaurant but it was worth it. Of course the interior was very nice and the food was even better. I think Chris is becoming a foodie, savoring the presentation and aroma of the meals we are having. I do not believe it will extend to the actual cooking process however.
The rains were still coming down hard as we left the restaurant so we returned to the hotel to discover we had an invitation from it to a free cocktail reception this afternoon. We took it easy, one glass of wine and one Coke plus some snacks.
Our evening was spent at the Palais Montcalm listening to Les Violons du Roy, a Quebec chamber orchestra. The building has a nondescript exterior dating to 1932 while the interior was redone in 2007 in rich wood tones with excellent acoustics. We sat behind the orchestra, a location we first tried in Miami Beach and have grown to like it. You have a much better view of the musicians.
I can not tell you what the person said who made a several minute introduction, nor any chatter during intermission, or any information from the program since it was all in French. But the music was great; from Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. A French pianist, Alexandre Tharaud, was the soloist.
Ed and Chris 11:15 pm