Exploring and Experiencing Ottawa - Montreal - Quebec

Bonjour!!!

It's been a while since I last blogged. So, I am back! Whew! :D

And to make up to y'all, I will share with you the wonderful trips I had to Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. This route is my most visited one over the last 3 years. And I am just grateful to have witnessed the best of 4 seasons in the 4 trips I had. More importantly, I was with special people in each of these tours.

I must tell you, when you come visit Toronto, you cannot afford to miss exploring these nearby towns. It is my most recommended tour itinerary.

You can actually check a number of agencies when booking for this trip. From my experience, I booked 3 of my travels with Taipan Tours and the recent one was with Tours4Fun. 

It is easier to book with Tours4Fun because you can just go online. They offer better hotel accommodations. The hotels are surely 4 star in terms of facilities. I like our hotel in Old Quebec because it is situated right at the heart of the city. And if you are with a child, Tours4Fun would be a better option. Also, the bus has outlets for recharging your batteries. However, you would not have a choice but to go with the group for lunch and dinner because their usual stopover places do not have nearby restaurants where you can dine in alternatively. In fact, I was a bit disappointed on their choices of restaurants. I only liked the last one we went to during our last day on the way to Thousand Islands. By the way, I recommend that you opt out for dinner when in Quebec. There are a number of places you can choose from when you get there. 

Visit their website at Tours4Fun.com





If you want to have value for your money, I'd say Taipan Tours would be the better choice. The hotels are average but they are good enough for me. For most part of the trip you'd get to stay in your hotel room from 8 pm to 6 am the following day only. All you need is just a decent place to sleep over for the night. Take note that their hotels though, especially for the standard package are far from the city center. 

On the other hand, I appreciate that Taipan tours gives you the option to not join the group during lunch or dinner if you want to save money, somehow. They'd usually stopover somewhere you can find fast-food diners nearby. And what I liked best about Taipan tours is the free wifi access! Cool, right? However, booking a tour with them is not as convenient as with Tours4Fun. You have to book in person and pay in Cash or Debit only. Also, if you're traveling with a child 2 years old or below, you may need to pay about 80 CAD unless you book ahead so you can secure the free slot for the child.  





Visit their website at Taipantours.com


Both Tours4Fun and Taipan tours will take you to almost the same attractions. And you can actually choose which one to go for because the tour packages usually do not include admission to these sights and you will need to pay separately for each of them plus the 9 CAD per day tip. In total, you may spend another 100 - 150 CAD including entrance and meals for the 3 days. 

Common Attractions:

Ottawa

Canadian Museum of Civilization - If you are the type who is keen to know about history, then this is a good place for you. But for me, I would love to stay outside the museum and enjoy the scenery of the river while sitting on a bench with my Beaver Tail's dough pastry and a cup of hot chocolate on Spring or Summer time.

Parliament Hill - old government buildings which are good for picture taking. Funny but my photos looked like I was in London with the parliament building at the background.

Montreal

St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal - the biggest church I have ever been to which can host up to 3,000 people. Make sure to go to the front of the church where you can have an overlooking view of the city. 

Notre Dame Basilica 

Olympic Park and Montreal Observatory Tower- Guinness Book record holder for being the tallest man-made leaning tower in the world.

Biodome - good for the kids to enjoy as there are a number of animals you can see inside. I personally did not appreciate it though. And the admission is around 18 CAD!

Quebec City 

The city is a beauty to behold. You will only get to walk around and explore for 3 - 4 hours so be sure to do a little research before getting there. I'd recommend that you visit the Chateau Frontenac, the Christmas Village, Notre Dame Basilica and the Parliament of Quebec.  Enjoy the walk through the small alleys for some window shopping during summer or spring time. You will definitely love their authentic French cuisines. ALSO, do not forget to try their Maple Gelato!!!


Thousand Islands

This tour is only available during summer and spring time from May to September. You will get to visit a part of the US and see the shortest international bridge in the world that connects Canada to US. Remember to put your phone to flight mode during the cruise or you will get roaming charges. 



Here are the itinerary and snippets of my trips:


Autumn


The first trip I had was back in early November of 2012 with my sister and my nieces. It was a Lovely Autumn then. Of all the cities included in the itinerary my personal favorite is the charming city of Old Quebec. I fell in love with the city in 4 different seasons! Old Quebec city is love. It is indeed the little France in Canada. People there speak French predominantly and only understand a little of English. You can find authentic French restaurants all over the place. What I loved about visiting Quebec during Autumn and Winter is getting to have the surreal feel of Christmas atmosphere. I so love the stores filled with Christmas decors and lights. This place is definitely a must-see!



Outside the Civilization Museum in Ottawa


Outside the Parliament Hill in Ottawa
That's the St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal on my background



I love this alley decorated with little and giant Christmas trees

There are restaurants all over the place


St. Lawrence river view from the Chateau Frontenac 


Winter

I went there with my mom and my close friend, Jhazy last year about the same time as in 2012. However, the weather was more like winter already. It was cold and snowy, especially when we arrived in Quebec. And because of this, there is little that you can do really during this season. I was just so thankful that Jhazy and I were able to experience going through the Holy Doors in Basilica of Notre Dame de Quebec which only opens every 40 years. The trip was indeed one of my cherished memories!


at the Parliament Hill, Ottawa



In Montreal



Outside Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal


With my Mama in Old Quebec

Mama and Jhazy






Summer

I personally believe that this would be the best time to go if you wish to enjoy doing and seeing many things. This time, my travel buddy was a really dear friend of mine, who's almost like a sister to me, Carrie. We enjoyed the weather, sights-seeing and food tripping. Not to forget the endless chats! Haha. Plus, on the way back to Toronto, we had a bonus from the Taipan tours guide, he brought us to the Apple Pie factory! And we feasted on delish desserts. Yummy!






at the Kingston stopover

This photo was taken in front of the St. Joseph's Oratory of Montreal



Inside the Basilica of Notre Dame de Quebec

Enjoying our dinner at the Bello Ristorante - I loved their Pizza and Pasta!

Uhm.. sorry I needed to take a photo of this romantic moment. :)



Old Quebec


Old Quebec going to Parliament Hill


Spring


As it is spring, you can expect rain showers in between the stops. But it was still O.K. And here's the best part during Spring, you can see the gorgeous Tulips and the lovely Cherry Blossoms! 

I was really ecstatic to travel with 2 of my most favorite people in the world - the royal family - Monet and Rodel plus Kean! Just a background, we call ourselves the royal family because Rodel's pet name growing up is King so since Monet is his wife she is rightfully the Queen and I am the Princess, being always the third wheel in this relationship. Haha! Now we got the little prince to add to our royal circle. We had the best decision of booking with Tours4Fun this time because they had the child as free of charge. Of course, we missed Chu, the one who initiated to have this trip in the first place! 


The Royal entourage. Haha!


Parliament Hill, Ottawa

One of the most recommended restos in Quebec. A bit pricey though but worth-it!


In one of the streets in Old Quebec

Old Quebec

Old Quebec

The beautiful cherry blossom and the grand Chateau Frontenac

Parliament of Quebec



Each season and trip is worth cherishing for me. I always get to experience something new every time. 

Overall, I must say it again, go and experience it for yourself! 

For now, Au Revoir! :D



Comments

  1. Great guide! Thanks! I love the photos! My fave is the one with the cherry blossoms, so pretty! :)

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