Soak up that old French magic

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - HERITAGE TRAIL -

East­ern Canada oozes with his­toric sights, writes Sp­ida Everitt

BON­JOUR! Que­bec City is one of the old­est Euro­pean set­tle­ments in North Amer­ica. While many of the ma­jor cities in Mex­ico date from the 16th century, among cities in Canada and the US, few were cre­ated ear­lier than Que­bec City and it is the only North Amer­i­can for­ti­fied city north of Mex­ico whose walls still ex­ist.

The Que­be­cois are very proud of their city and their her­itage and this stands out in the way their city is show­cased.

As part of our mo­torhome tour around east­ern Canada, city tours on lux­ury buses are pre­ar­ranged. It is great to sit back and re­lax and let some­one else do the driv­ing for the day. Our guide here in Que­bec is bril­liant. She knows her his­tory and is a joy to have on the bus.

We start our tour in the “old town” where one of the most fa­mous art pieces rests among cob­ble­stoned streets and cen­turies-old build­ings.

We take in the sights of sum­mer but are con­stantly re­minded this city and the wa­ter­ways around it pro­vide one of the big­gest ice skat­ing rinks dur­ing win­ter.

The city of Que­bec is alive with cul­ture, his­tory, great shop­ping and fan­tas­tic eater­ies.

Af­ter hit­ting the road and bid­ding farewell to Que­bec City we stum­ble across an amaz­ing wildlife park out­side Mon­treal, as we fol­low the enor­mous St Lawrence River south and in­land.

The Parc Omega is lo­cated in Mon­te­bello. This is like no other wildlife park I have ever been to. It is here that you drive your own RV around the 12km track to see an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of na­tive wild an­i­mals, in their nat­u­ral habi­tat. Along the track are lakes, meadows, small val­leys, forests and rocky hills.

It is home to an enor­mous amount of wildlife in­clud­ing deer, elk, goats, all com­ing to your RV win­dow for a car­rot. (Re­mem­ber to grab a bag of car­rots from re­cep­tion).

There are bi­son, moose, lots of black bears, arc­tic wolves, coy­otes and moose.

Keep your eyes peeled at all times, as the cari­bou aren’t too fond of the car­rots so they won’t come to you. If you don’t want to take your RV in­side the grounds, there are also bus tours avail­able. It is bril­liant how you are able to get so close to these an­i­mals and take some fan­tas­tic pho­to­graphs.

You can spend as lit­tle or as long as you like here, we took three hours but could have stayed longer.

Through­out our east­ern Canada trip we have stayed in the KOA Hol­i­day Parks. They are the sis­ter parks to the Big4 and Top 10 Parks in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

They cater for ab­so­lutely ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially chil­dren. They have all been in fan­tas­tic lo­ca­tions with all the ser­vices and ameni­ties you will need.

Our next stop is Mon­treal, which has an at­mos­phere of its own. Its su­per-friendly people and the ro­mance in the air are a lively blend of all things English and French, flavoured by the rich Cana­dian set­ting.

Nearly three mil­lion people call Mon­treal home. The city sits on an is­land roughly 40km long and 15km wide, where the Ot­tawa River flows into the mighty St Lawrence River.

The Notre Dame Basil­ica was the high­light of Mon­treal. Built in 1829, it over­flows with el­e­gance and charm.

It is big enough to hold 5000 people and has the most amaz­ing in­te­rior.

You can light a can­dle or take a tour of both chapels.

From the Notre Dame Basil­ica to the horse-drawn car­riages, Mon­treal is a liv­ing breath­ing French me­trop­o­lis. Watch The Great Aus­tralian Doorstep TV Show Satur­days @ 5pm on Chan­nel 7Two na­tion­wide or tune in to our ra­dio show ev­ery Sun­day morn­ing at 6 in Queens­land and 38 South­ern Cross Aus­tereo Sta­tions Aus­tralia wide.

See greataus­tralian­doorstep.com

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