We really enjoyed our recent visit to Quebec City, such a friendly and lively place, with an enticing mix of the old and new existing comfortably side by side. Where to start? We have so many highlights. How about outside? One large space that we grew to love very quickly was the Plains of Abraham. Such a delight to wander, a place that has always held a fascination for me since childhood. Boredom alert! Not so interesting pieces of my past are shared below. Old stuff.
I remember as a child reading about General James Wolfe and how he was victorious in battle on the Plains of Abraham against General Montcalm and his French forces. Those childhood primer history books were old even then, written and first published when Britain still clung to notions of greatness based on empire, and were British biased to say the least. They did not go into any great details beyond the triumph of Wolfe. Not much mention of the intricacies and dubious presence of two empires busily exporting their European wars to far flung places and messing things up there. Hmm.
Anyway, younger me wasn’t too concerned or aware of missing nuances – I mostly liked the maps showing how opposing forces were arrayed. Yes, I was a nine year old armchair general. Such a strange child… Getting back to the battle on the Plains of Abraham as told in my history book, I was always bothered by the thought it wasn’t much of a personal victory for Wolfe, given that he died in the battle. Come to think of it, older me still isn’t convinced that’s the best way to win…
Bloody history acknowledged, today the Plains of Abraham are a vast green space providing city dwellers and visitors quiet places to overlook the St. Lawrence River and the town of Levis on the far bank. It’s a busy waterway down there, so if watching boats is your thing, there’s always something moving.
Along with the rolling fields of grass and areas of military significance, there are hundreds of leafy trees, dozens of welcoming benches and tables, as well as planted garden areas where a person can sit and stare, or sit and doze. Or both, one after the other…
We did stay awake long enough to visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) which is situated overlooking the park, and if we were slightly sleepy before heading in, the collection of contemporary Quebec art dating from 1960 to the present certainly woke us up. What a vibrant and thought provoking array of work it was. New stuff! Highly recommended if you get the chance.
I’ll leave it here for this week, with my head mentally, if not geographically, still wandering the plains, and feeling much relieved my bloodthirsty battlefield map loving younger self grew up into a pacifist. What a site, though. Did I mention how much we enjoyed it there? Here are a couple more photos:
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!