Guidebooks and Tips for Quebec and Ottawa
Replies: 6 - Last Post: May 16, 2012 8:22 AM Last Post By: felicity92
May 13, 2012 6:29 PM
Basically I am looking for good quality small hotels/ BnBs in Quebec and Ottawa close to the sights, comfortable for 2-3 day stays.
I would also like to ask which guidebooks you recommend for said destinations, and finally if you have any unmissable pointers for these cities. I am fairly sure we are going to rent a car to travel between all of the cities since our entry and exit is via Toronto, but, if someone says that we cannot miss traveling by train or something like that, I will certainly be interested in hearing an opinion.
May 13, 2012 9:57 PM
I suggest the 1793 Maison Historique James Thompson , in the Upper Old Town ~ quiet street but close to everything. If you do not mind a bedroom on the small side but enjoy killer breakfasts (different every day), J.A. Moisan , above the oldest grocery store still in operation in North America, is the place to go. The latter is within 5-10 minutes walk from the western wall, in a lively neighbourhood ( )
I have 3 suggestions for you: in Lower Town Auberge St-Pierre or Hotel Le Port-Royal ; in Upper Town Auberge Place d'Armes http://www.aubergeplacedarmes.com , at a stone throw from Château Frontenac, the Post Office and the Tourist Office. If you are ever interested in staying at a small, funky 4* hotel a tad off-centered, Le Vincent could be an option as well.
If you are not decided between staying in Upper or Lower town: my above suggestions about Lower Town locations are within short walking distance from: the funiculaire (cable car) leading to Upper Town from the river, the Farmers' Market, the very popular Musée de la Civilisation , the commuter ferry to Lévis for great phto ops, the small stores and restaurants of the antiquaries neighbourhood and also within short distance from the Image Mill (2012 dates to be confirmed) show, which you will not want to miss, and the free Cirque du Soleil shows.
May 14, 2012 3:04 AM
2For Ottawa, my stock suggestion is McGee's Inn, which is 400-500m from the Byward Market and less than 1km from Parliament and most downtown attractions. No guidebook ideas, sorry, I live there (when I'm not posted abroad) and never had to buy one - but in a pinch the main Tourism Office on Wellington street across from Parliament will have a gaggle of brochures (some of them are probably readable online).
Not-to-be-missed spots, IMO: a guided tour of Parliament, the national Museum of Civilizations (across the river in Gatineau and well-worth at least half a day), the Rideau Canal - the old locks themselves and the bike paths running along the canal - and the National Art Gallery a block from Parliament. Catching some good food, art / souvenir shops and live music in the Market is a nice evening program, too.
I've taken the train between Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City a few times and never found it worth my time, unless there was a huge blizzard making the roads unsafe. Using a rental car is faster, often cheaper and it obviously gives you more flexibility in each city.
May 14, 2012 5:54 AM
3No tips on B&Bs, but in Ottawa if you're at all active I'd recommend taking an evening to do some cycling - you can go down the Rideau Canal to Hog's Back Falls and back; you can go along the canal and come back north along the Rideau River; or you can head west along the the Ottawa River.
There's also Bixi bikes (for $7/day, you get unlimited trips so long as each trip is shorter than half an hour; an hour-long trip is an extra $1.75, a 90-minute trip a further $3.50, and so on.). Since short trips are cheap, they're good for riding between the major sights (War Museum, Civilization Museum, Parliament) if you want to move faster than walking. They might also be the cheapest option for a longer bike ride, if the ride is under 2 hours.
Don't eat on Sparks St - it's all low-quality tourist places.
EDIT: Oh, and one more thing. If you want to save some money, be in Ottawa on a Thursday. All the main museums are free Thursday evenings (Civilization and War from 4-8pm, National Gallery and the Nature Museum from 5-8pm).
Edited by: katherinemw
May 14, 2012 4:26 PM
May 15, 2012 12:43 PM
5For Ottawa, try Auberge Des Arts BB. Also the Hostel International in Ottawa is the "JAIL" I think they may have a few double rooms, book early.
When you visit the Parliament building in Ottawa, climb the "Peace Tower" (clock tower) for a 360 view of the city. Also Gatineau Park is worth a visit (if you have a car).
If you are driving from Toronto to Ottawa, stop in the Town of Gananoque if you want a tour of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence.
May 16, 2012 8:22 AM
6If you're interested in the history/heritage/culture of Quebec, I would definitely recommend taking a day tour of the countryside. "Tours du Vieux Quebec" do a fantastic country tour in which they travel through traditional villages and make a variety of stops at points of interest along the way (including Montmorency Falls and Basilique Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré). It shows a very different side of the country and is a great way to experience more than just the city.
As for guidebooks - I really do believe that Lonely Planet is the only way to go. I find them to be the most user friendly and cover quite a range of areas. I found the "Discover Canada" guide to be particularly useful as well as the smaller Encounter guides.
Hope you have a wonderful trip!
Edited by: felicity92
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