Water is the essence of life, which is why humans find it intriguing. Whenever we visit a city with a river-walk or other watery feature, we find ourselves drawn to it. There is something calming about the quiet force of this life-sustaining liquid. Discovering that there are tours along the St. Lawrence River, meant that it was a no-brainer for us to sign up. Seeing Quebec City from a new perspective was something we knew would be memorable. A gorgeous Fall day would find us sailing through history with AML Cruises, which is one of the premier cruise tour companies in Canada.
We want to thank Quebec City Tourism and AML Cruises for hosting our visit. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
AML Cruises offers a 1.5-hour sightseeing tour that blends the beauty of the city with a touch of its history. We made our way to Lower Town, where the port is found. After getting our tickets, it was time to board the AML Louis Jolliet. The crew were very welcoming and offered assistance up the gangplank. Once onboard, the ship offers a variety of spaces for viewing. As we checked out some options, we ran into the captain and the person who would be offering the commentary, while we were sailing through history.
While we waited for our fellow passengers to embark, we made our way inside the main dining area. Here we found an opportunity to purchase small bites to nibble on, but we chose to forego this for now. Around mid-ship, we discovered a bar area, which was serving up a variety of drinks. We decided to grab a couple of coffees, which were flavored with a maple cream whiskey. Once we had these in hand, we made our way to the top deck to watch the departure. Once we had sailed out of the port, the whole city began opening up in front of us. The views of the city from this perspective certainly added another dimension to our Quebec City experience.
Falling for Montmorency
We started our cruise by heading downriver toward the Island of Orleans. This fertile slice of land sits in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and is home to the First Nations, which are the indigenous tribes. The tip of the island rests across from Montmorency Falls, which we had visited the previous day. Seeing it from this vantage point increased our admiration for this natural attraction. This was the farthest point that the ship reached, before turning back upstream.
As we were watching the ship make its way to the waterfall, we could hear the commentary from our guest host. Now seemed like a good time to get a closer look at the show. We made our way to the other end of the top deck and found a seat near the action. Here we found that we were sailing through history with Louis Jolliet. The persona is that of a French-Canadian explorer who was born near present-day Quebec City. We listened as he related stories from the city’s earliest days.
At the end of his presentation, he directed our attention to a Quebec specialty. While we had sampled the delectable taste of maple cream whiskey in our coffee, now he was cluing us in on a different version. In the bar, they were breaking out Coureur Des Bois, which is a maple syrup infused Canadian whiskey. While we are not whiskey drinkers, per se, we decided to give it a try. The sweetness of this unusual nectar helped soften the sharpness of the whiskey. By the time we finished our drink, we had discovered a fondness for this liquor.
Back on land, we found that the maple whiskey had whet our appetites. We decided to hang out in the port area and made our way a few blocks to Taverne Louise. The Old Port neighborhood is fun to explore and holds a variety of dining spots. We had done our research before traveling to Quebec City and found that this place was popular for their Fish & Chips. Being that we just completed our AML Cruise, it was a perfect fit to have a late lunch here. This upscale eatery was nearly empty since the lunch rush had already subsided. This allowed us to relax and enjoy the space nearly to ourselves.
Tastes of Lower Town
We started our meal with a little snack. The Tartare De Bœuf is not a usual choice for us, but the flavor was amazing. A smear of spicy mustard added a bit of punch to each bite. While we have passed over Beef Tartar in the past, this dish was surprisingly delectable. Since it was a sea day for us, we both got a plate of Fish & Chips. We quickly understood why Taverne Louis is known for its fish and chips. Made with Icelandic Cod, their battered bite is exquisite and had a pleasant crunch. The fries added a nice bit of starch, which would serve us well during our next portion of exploring. In all, we were glad that we had discovered this hidden gem.
Sailing Through History
After such an entertaining adventure, we were excited to discover more of Quebec City. The city is filled with history and intrigue. Visiting Lower Town and the Old Port areas opens up some of the oldest portions of the city. In this riverside section, we found shopping, dining, and attractions galore. Nearby, we discovered one of the oldest commercial streets in North America. With so much to see and do, you may want to book a couple of extra days for your Quebec vacation. We are sure you will find plenty to fill the time.