Île d’Orléans – Off the beaten path in Quebec

It had been a while since we visited our friends Art and Nicole on this beautiful island, about a twenty minute drive from Quebec City.  So when we decided that it was time to re-visit, we picked up the phone re-connected, and before you knew it, we were packing our bags.  Don’t you just love it when you can pick up where you left off with good friends and get right into it?  This was our 4th visit to the island, the anticipation and excitement of the 12 hour road journey also brought with it a heightened buzz.  I love road trips and I was definitely looking forward to being in classy Quebec again.

A bit of history on the island.  It was first discovered in 1535 by the French explorer Jacques Cartier.  The island is about 5 miles wide and 22 miles long.  It is located on the St. Lawrence River, and is not at all densely populated.  A visit to the island gives you a glimpse into rural life in Quebec.  On weekends people from the city drive to the island to escape for the day.  It is best in the summer where you will find fields of strawberries, raspberries, roadside stands selling baked goods, maple syrup, fruit and vegetables. Charming French colonial houses dot the landscape as do many churches.  A view of the Laurentian Mountains and the St. Lawrence River can be seen from any vantage point which gives the island a sense of peace and tranquility.  Some of the houses have the curved bell-shaped roof designed for snowy weather, some of the rooftops are also colored bright to detract from the long, cold and harsh winters in Quebec.

The highlight of the trip each time had to be our hosts home and location.  Their beautiful French colonial stone home is over 250 years old.  Their home has appeared on a couple of local historical magazines. The backyard overlooks the Laurentian Mountians and the St. Lawrence River.  Nicole has turned her backyard into something quite extraordinary.   The pictures below will show you the breathtaking views.  Click on each picture to get a full view.

There are various seating areas in the back garden where one can take in the views and relax.  You could find a shady spot grab a book and unwind, you could listen to French music and put your feet up in another part of the garden, or simply de-stress and catnap in the fresh open air overlooking the mountains.  Pre-dinner drinks and appetizers were always served before the sun set, followed by another table set up for the main meal.  All our meals were al fresco style.  This is what I had wanted to experience again, this is why I had wanted to visit and I was surely enjoying the slow pace, the scenery, the mountains and the sunsets in the back yard.

We decided to spend a day in Quebec City.  The Chateau Frontenac in the picture below is a grand old hotel in Quebec City which opened in 1893.  In 1953, this hotel was used as the filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Confess” featuring Montgomery Cliff and Anne Baxter.

Ending the day with a spot of lunch at the Gallery of Contemporary Art before we rushed back to the island to relax and take in the mountains one last time in the backyard.

Till we meet again Quebec, Au Revoir.

Linked to Angie’s FF #80

45 comments

  1. Bonjour Loretta! Quel plaisir de revisiter l’île d’Orleans ce matin par tes magnifiques photos! La maison de tes amies est superbe ainsi que les jardins. C’est une maison typiquement québéquoise de l’époque et ses vues panoramiques sont à couper le souffle. Mon grand père maternel a installé la plomberie du Chateau Frontenac lorsqu’il fut construit. C’est un endroit très spécial pour ma famille. Merci de nous avoir invités à te joindre durant ton séjour!

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    1. Merci Johanne, you’ll have to do a translation sad to say :). My French is not that great, but I did understand a few words, would love to hear what you’ve had to say about this beautiful island. Thanks for stopping by and reminiscing about Quebec. Love that place.

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  2. I have a question: how did you compose the collage of pictures? I love the image sizes and grouping. When I use the compose a gallery function when loading pictures, they are thumbprint size. Thanks Loretta! Such a gorgeous post!

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    1. Johanne, it’s simple. On that same drop down menu where you see the thumbprint size, there are other options as well. Try them, I think for this one I used “square” and I divided the columns in 2. I try to use various ways of presenting, I was pretty pleased with these results, you can preview them and make changes accordingly. Hope this helps.

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    1. Can’t get enough of Quebec, Montreal is just gorgeous, as is Quebec City and this wee island that we always frequent on our visits. Sometimes I feel I’m in France when we visit, it definitely has a European flavor. Thanks for stopping by :). My friend should give tours of her beautiful garden with the mountains and river right in her backyard, no wonder the plants are so happy there. My camera worked overtime in her backyard. It was hard to select pictures for the post.

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous – how lucky you are to have friends that live in such a beautiful place. Wow – a 250 year old home! In England we visited the family of my brother’s stepson and the house was so quaint made out of stone and you knew it would last forever. A little on the damp side but so homey.Sounds like you had a great trip – road trips were always our favorite way to travel after we did so much flying for many years 🙂

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    1. Thanks Judi, thought you’d appreciate this post. Love older homes don’t you? They have a charm and character that cannot be replicated in these modern homes. It was especially lovely with the mountains and the river in their backyard. Yes, it’s great to have friends who have beautiful homes in unusual settings. I wrote another post last summer where we visited a friend in Cornwall, England – her home was really old and gorgeous too. If you feel like reading it, it is under my Travel section (Cornwall). Off on another road trip this week. I hope you’re enjoying summer? Thanks as always for stopping by. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Ana, it truly was spectacular! I feel so fortunate to have friends like them in such a quaint setting. I’ve been traveling a lot this summer, in and out of blogging, so haven’t stumbled on your blog for quite sometime, but Ive been thinking about you and wondering how you were. Off to catch up on your blog right now. I hope you’re enjoying summer.

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      1. Yes thats very fortunate indeed. Happy for you dear. Have fun. And yes I have been missing you on the blog. But I guessed you must be busy. Loved all your pretty pics👌☺

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  4. Definitely way different in winter! To think that was my very first snow experience, in Quebec!!! Of all places. It was zero below with the wind chill blowing pins and needles on your face and that every time you breathe in it hurts so bad! I was close to having frostbite on my fingers and toes despite the two layers of gloves and two layers of wool socks. Yes, it was miserable. Lol! That was my memory of Quebec. 😉 But I knew it would be pretty when not snowing because I loved the quaint old houses lining up downtown Quebec. Your friend’s place is absolutely charming! Glad you got the chance to enjoy your summer!

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    1. Ha ha, that sounds like Quebec in the winter time. That was my first taste of Quebec when we went on our honeymoon to QC on January 1st 1980. Who takes their wife to Quebec in the middle of winter??? I knew this man was different from the time we were married. Ha ha!! Actually “good” different, he never goes by the book. In all honesty though, not sure I remember much of that honeymoon, I froze to death LOL! But we’ve been back 4 times since then in the summer, and I just love this wee island that our friends live on. I have a picture of the Chateau Frontenac and the 2 of us posing in front on our honeymoon in 1980, then 20 years later with our kids in that same spot, then 35 years later a few weeks ago, again in that same spot. Love travel, love the experiences, good or bad, off to Toronto on Thursday for a few days. We used to live there, so love it. I hope your summer is going well too and that you’re enjoying N. Carolina.

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      1. Yeah honeymoon in Quebec in winter? He really is something else. If not, he wants to prove his love and affection for you that even the freezing temps cant keep the warmth of his feelings away. It will instead melt away all that coldness. 🙂 why dont you write a post about the three photos taken at different times? That sounds like an interesting story to tell.

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  5. Wow, beautiful pictures! It shows how much fun you had. I have walked inside the Chateau Frontenac and awed at its interiors…magnificent! Your friend’s home looks absolutely stunning. Quebec is very romantic with its French charms.

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    1. I love Quebec in the summer time, and you’re absolutely spot on, it is so romantic. It’s like having France right in your back yard. Great to hear that you’ve been inside the Chateau Frontenac. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Thanks Fae, it truly was special. Such a small island, chock full of character and friendly locals. It also has such a great history, imagine being discovered in 1535? Wow! Off to Toronto tomorrow for a few days, we used to live there. Wanted to share with you what we will be seeing there when we visit – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/art-and-architecture/the-aga-khan-museum-is-a-world-class-showcase-for-islamic-art/article20614627/

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  6. Oh Loretta, I loved this post. Your pictures are gorgeous and I wanted to be there to experience it myself. I’ve been to Canada but not Quebec. Of course I would want to go at time of year. Those folks are tough to weather their winters. I can only image the relaxing dinners that you celebrated with your friends. I would love to chill at bit more when entertaining!

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    1. Thanks Julie, it was hard to choose the pictures, I took about 200 of the back garden alone :). Yes, Canada like the USA is enormous. We’ve visited a few provinces over the years, not so much when we lived there, but when we moved to the USA. Odd eh? Yes, the dinners and pre-dinner drinks were the best part. We all took part, so it made entertaining less stressful. In fact on the last day, I asked if I could take over their kitchen, I cooked everyone a very tasty chicken curry with all the trimmings. Thanks for your visit. xxx

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      1. What a wonderful treat Loretta! I am sure your hosts loved your cooking. It was a perfect was to make your hosts feel like honored guests too. There are so many places that I haven’t been yet, and so many I want to return to. I need at least 100 years!

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  7. Wow, what a wonderful trip. Judy and I are going to Quebec at the end of August. We are flying to Montreal, then visiting a friend who lives east of there. Then we’ll stay at a small town called Cap Chat on the Gaspe Peninsula, stopping at Quebec City on our way back to Montreal. We also want to see the garden at Reford.

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  8. Loretta,
    Wondering how I missed this post….I have been to Quebec once and absolutely loved it.Your gorgeous photos make me want to go again. Your friend’s 250 year old house is simply out of this world! It is like something I would see in the movies!

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      1. Loretta, We visited Quebec city and all its touristy spots. It has been many years now so I don’t remember the details but I do remember the crepe place 🙂 No surprise there!

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