Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Hiking 5-8 miles; mostly developed trails.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. This program is staffed with an expert Study Leader who will also serve as our Group Leader and who will act as our premier resource in making the most of independent study time, offering local knowledge and insider tips to discover Québec City beyond the highlights. We will greet everyone and have introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with appetizer (soup or salad), choice of entrée (chicken, fish, steak), dessert of the day, and beverage choices including coffee (regular/decaf), hot tea, water; other beverages are available for purchase from the bar.
Evening: Returning to the hotel, our Study Leader will provide expert commentary as we stroll through the streets of the Old City to the famous Château Frontenac to form our first impressions of Québec and begin to explore the city.
Activity note: Walking up to 6 miles throughout the day; city streets and sidewalks, mixed terrain trail.
Breakfast: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are many options from a simple pastry and coffee to a full cooked breakfast.
Morning: We will regroup in the hotel lobby and set out on our first walking field trip through the Plains of Abraham. Walking from east to west, we will follow the nature path that runs along the cliff. Long before the historical battle of 1759, the area situated just outside the city wall was famous for the diversity of its natural resources. Walking in the footsteps of the country’s first herbalists, we will pass through the XII World Forestry Congress Commemorative Garden that contains 28 different species of the boreal forest as well as specimens from all over the world. Heading towards the west, we will climb on the fortifications for an overview of military and civil architecture. On the way, we will learn about the various districts marked by the presence of French, English, Scottish, and Irish who left a significant legacy of architecture, economic, and political heritage. As we reach Cap Diamond, we will have an amazing view of Québec’s natural harbour made of three very ancient geological formations.
Lunch: At the famous Château Frontenac, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with appetizer (soup or salad), choice of entrée (prepared specially for us as hikers), dessert of the day, and beverage choices including coffee (regular/decaf), hot tea, water; other beverages are available for purchase from the bar. The Frontenac — one of the landmarks of Québec City and the most photographed hotel in the world — boasts a fascinating history. It was named in honor of Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, who served as the governor of France’s colony in Canada during the late 17th century. Bon appétit!
Afternoon: With our Study Leader, we will explore the lower part of Old Québec near the river — including Quartier Petit-Champlain — that represents centuries of compromises and struggle between people and geography, to facilitate defense and economic development while protecting the natural bounty of the St. Lawrence. The Quartier Petit-Champlain is the site of Québec’s first port. As one of the city’s original neighborhoods, it has gone through various periods of development, decline, and revitalisation. Today, after an extensive restoration project, the quarter exudes an Old World atmosphere with historical architecture and buildings dating back to the 1600s, narrow streets, artisans and craftsmen, charming boutiques, and much more.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. Our Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy an opportunity for the excitement of more independent discovery. Our Study Leader will have plenty of suggestions for where you can go and what you can do.
Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. The drive to Vallée de la Jacques-Cartier is about 30 miles, less than 1 hour. Hiking up to 7 miles; gravel trails.
Breakfast: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Morning: We will venture out to the Laurentian massif for a hike in one of the most ancient mountain ranges in the world, home of the Parc National de la Jacques Cartier. The main feature of the park is the famous Rivière Jacques Cartier (Jacques Cartier River) put under the protection of the Park Act in 1981. The river has carved its passage down to more than 1,800 feet (550 meters) below the top of the plateau in a valley that existed even before the glacial period. During the hike with our Study Leader, we will learn about the ancient trail connecting Quebec to the Saguenay through the floating timbers period that ended in 1978. The Jacques Cartier national Park is an environmental testament to the role of nature and geography in the development of Canada. Focusing on area history before the European arrival up to modern time, the hike will provide insights into local conservation efforts of this historical salmon river and protected glacial valley.
Lunch: In the National Park, we’ll have box lunches.
Afternoon: We’ll continue our hike and return to the hotel mid-afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is free.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Evening: At leisure. You might like to stroll through the Old Town or enjoy coffee and a digestif in a café or bar.
Activity note: Getting on/off a school bus. The drive to Île d'Orléans is about 30 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Hiking up to 6-8 miles; varied terrain.
Breakfast: On your own to enjoy what you like.
Morning: Our next field trip is to the Île d'Orléans (Orleans Island) that has been called “a shining jewel in Quebec's crown.” It is the largest district under the protection of Cultural Property Act and first agricultural settlement of Nouvelle France. After crossing the bridge, we will drive to the eastern tip of the island and immerse ourselves in a wide open view over the estuary where fresh and salt water mix. A leisurely walk along the riverside will bring us to the intertidal area for a closer connection with the mighty Fleuve St-Laurent (Saint Lawrence River). As we explore, we will learn about its wildlife and navigation. We will then ride to St-Jean, considered the most beautiful village of the Island, renowned for its typical neoclassic architecture.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in St-Jean. There are boutique restaurants, a bakery, and snack bar.
Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. A list of suggestions will complement the program. You can continue exploring Québec City — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and what is known as New Québec. You might also like to walk on the Grande Promenade Samuel-De Champlain along the Saint Lawrence River and visit the Public Market.
Dinner: At a renowned restaurant in Old Québec, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with appetizer (soup or salad), choice of entrée, dessert of the day, and beverage choices including coffee (regular/decaf), hot tea, water; other beverages are available for purchase from the bar. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner at this restaurant noted for its local “farm to table” gastronomy.
Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a last evening together with new friends, step out to see another spot in the city, sip and after dinner drink at a favorite café, or just relax. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: At a favorite local bakery in Old Québec we’ll have coffee and croissants.
Morning: At the bakery, we’ll have a closing session with our Study Leader to discuss city life and local issues. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!