What’s the best way to take in the rich historical and cultural heritage of a place like Old Quebec City? I believe you need to be transported back in time to enjoy the ancient customs; and there’s no better way to tour Quebec City than in a horse-driven carriage ride (Calèche en francais) offered by Calèches Quebec.
The New France Feels
Visiting Old Quebec City in a calèche is as romantic as the rich 400-year old legacy of the city itself. It is a mesmerizing experience that will give you deep insight into the culture, history, and values of Quebec City.
Quebec is often referred to as the First French City in North America. The calèche rides are a part of Quebec’s history and are one of the main tourist attractions as well.
An Unforgettably Cozy Experience
I took the “Upper Town Express” tour offered by Calèche Quebec. It was a 60 minutes calèche ride and the carriage was driven by a beautiful and vigorous horse named Billy. However, the best part of the tour was the well-informed tour guide who narrated the history of Old Quebec City in a fascinating manner and brought the structures around us to life with her captivating account of the old times. The calèche driver was nicely dressed and was good at handling the long ride while the calèche itself was well-maintained and properly equipped, even included a retractable roof and blanket to keep me warm.
An Incredible Journey through Time
Riding in a horse-driven carriage is insanely romantic. Your tour becomes even more exciting as you live through the art, culture, and history of a rich civilization like Old Quebec City. The Upper Town Express tour gives you a flavour of all the must-see places in Quebec City at the rhythmic pace of the horse.
Winding Accounts of History in the Quaint Cobblestone Streets
The Calèches Quebec guide walked us through the tourist attractions like Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, The Basilica-Notre-Dame Cathedral, Scottish Quarter Esplanade Park, St. Louis Street, and The Doors (Porte Saint Louis).
Apart from the usual attractions, the tour includes some peculiar sites like the concrete fortress, Morrin Center, where you could walk down a dark foyer to enter a cell in Quebec’s first prison. Next attraction along the way was Quebec City Hall, a picturesque building that allows you to step into Europe as you visit Canada. The tour also included a visit past the 18-storey Price Building which stands out due to its unique architecture as compared to the other lower buildings. The 286-feet high grey limestone façade is also referred to as the first skyscraper of Quebec.
A Unique Vantage Point to Discover Quebec
Other attractions along the calèche ride include the Latin Quarter which is a gastronomic treat for any foodie with the best, and relatively cheaper, restaurants and busy pubs. As the horse trots down the St. John Street where a string of boutiques, and historic structures entice the tourists. For the history buffs, the tour to Quebec’s Battlements is a unique opportunity to learn more about the wars over FUR and the British Colonial era. From Montcalm House, the tour goes to Quebec Seminary that was founded in 1663 to train the priests. Hotel-Dieu of Quebec is another feature of the Upper Town Express calèche ride and runs on to the spectacular Parc de la Chute‑Montmorency, a scenic beauty that stands between the cliffs and the rivers with its stunning waterfalls.
Other notable attractions of the Upper town Express include Quebec City Convention Center, Fontaine de Tourny, Grande Allée, Voltigeurs Armory of Québec, Place of the National Assembly, Joan of Arc Garden, Quebec Parliament Building, and Grande Allée Est. The tour continues to rhythmic clip-clop as your horse takes your calèche around the Old Port and Place Royale, Antique Street (St. Paul Street), Quebec Wall Street (Saint-Pierre Street), and Palace Station.
Once you have satiated your appetite for history and culture, The Upper Town Express calèche tour ends, in a befitting manner, at the Cartier Avenue-go to place for a nice bite in Quebec!
A Memorable Old Quebec City Tour
The ride was indeed a fun way to learn more about the history of Quebec City and the calèche ride provided a poignant backdrop against which I learned about the fascinating history of the city. To book your own Calèche adventure, please visit: https://www.calechesquebec.com