Sunday, January 28, 2007



On July 24, 1967, Charles De Gaulle, President of France, was in Canada on an official state visit, presumably to visit Expo 67. When he arrived in Montreal, after an enthusiastic reception in Québec City, he was driven up Chemin du Roy to the Hôtel de Ville. The large crowd was excited. As they chanted for him, De Gaulle stepped out onto the balcony of Montreal city hall and gave a short address. He concluded saying Vive le Québec (Long live Quebec!) and then added, Vive le Québec libre! (Long live free Quebec!). Vive le Québec libre! was a popular slogan for people wishing to show their support for Quebec sovereignty. Huge diplomatic incident...

"SUMMER IN THE CITY - A group of French settlers, men and women both, founded Montréal, initially baptized Ville-Marie, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in May 1642. More than three hundred years later, the Credit Lyonnais also landed there, on the left of the picture"

"MARIE REINE DU MONDE - Montreal's Roman Catholic cathedral, completed in 1894, was designed as a one third-size replica of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome"

"NOTRE-DAME - Montreal's Notre-Dame is a neogothic building, dating from 1829 that has nothing in common with Paris' Basilica except the name. The Basilica in Montreal is noted for its wonderful interior with stained glass windows, gold-tipped carvings, paintings, statues, and especially its fantastic altar"


"WORLD FILM FESTIVAL - The Portuguese flag can be seen on the first row, the fourth from the left"

"OLYMPIC VILLAGE - This was the home in 1976 for Carlos Lopes, silver medallist on the 10000 meter athletic race. The gold medal was won by a Finn - Lasse Viren - who now is known to have been blood doping when he won his gold medals in 1972 and 1976. Lopes, without any of those transfusions, took the revenge cleanly and clearly winning the 1984 Los Angeles Marathon, the first gold medal in Olympic Games for Portugal. Four years later in Seoul, Rosa Mota won the ladies marathon..."


"OLD MONTREAL is located along the St. Lawrence River, five minutes’ walk from downtown and just a short walk from the Convention Centre. Around 4,000 people live there, and many more come to work there everyday..."

"PLACE JACQUES CARTIER was built by the city in the first half of the 19th century. It has always been a dynamic centre"

"MOUNT ROYAL reflected in the glass building in front of the Hotel window!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007



"ESCALIER CASSE-COU - Visiting Quebec's lower town is a must. So, if you are at the Chateau Frontenac, you may take the steep and winding street called Côte de la Montagne and the Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs)"

"FUNICALAR - If you are at the Dufferin Terrace, you may use the funicular, whose exit is seen at the right hand-side of the first picture and on the top of the second"

"STREETS - Lower Town was the starting point from which Quebec grew, and is the place where one can get an exciting sense of how New France would have looked like in its earliest days"

"MAISON CHEVALIER and Chateau Frontenac - The tall chimneys and red tiled roofs indicate that one is in front of the stone house, with a typical New France style, built in 1752 for Jean-Baptiste Chevalier, a wealthy merchant"

"PLACE ROYALE was the epicentre of life in Quebec for many years and is the focal point of Lower Town. Laid out in 1688 on the site of the garden of Champlain’s Habitation of 1608, it was used as a market square and public forum. A reconstruction made in the late 1960s was intended to return it to the appearance it had at the time of the conquest"

"NOTRE-DAME-DES-VICTOIRES - Place Royale is dominated by the church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. An inaccurate popular belief holds that the church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is the oldest in Québec. Anyhow, it is built partly on the foundations on part of Champlain's residence in 1624 and was dedicated in 1690 as Église Notre-Dame-des-Victoires when thirty four British ships withdrew after a five-day siege of the city. So it's old enough to feed the belief. «Victory» turned «victories in 1711 when a British naval attack was disrupted by a violent storm. However, the British came a third time, in 1759, and the church was almost completely destroyed by their bombardment. Like the Portuguese saying: «Não há duas sem três» and «À terceira, é de vez!..."

Saturday, January 13, 2007



I was wondering whether to post this in English or in French. I decided to combine both: the introduction will be in French, and the sub-titles to the photos will be in English. Anyhow one can always use the automatic translation systems to read it, even if the results are sometimes very, very abnormal...


Après la Nouvelle Angleterre, on est entré au Canada par la Province du Québec et le premier arrêt a été à la capitale, la Ville de Québec.
La ville de Québec, la plus vieille ville francophone d'Amérique - «le berceau de l'Amérique française» -, est la seule ville fortifiée du continent au nord du Mexique et a été déclaré site du patrimoine mondial par l'UNESCO en 1985, après notre visite... Il semble qu'elle est la seule a avoir cette distinction en Amérique du Nord.
Le nom Québec dérive du mot algonquin Kébec, qui signifiait «là où le fleuve se rétrécit» et dénommait la faible largeur du fleuve Saint-Laurent entre les lieux où les villes de Québec et de Lévis, sur la rive opposée, ont été crées. La ville de Québec a été officiellement fondée par Samuel de Champlain le 3 juillet 1608 et de 1608 à 1627 et de 1632 à 1763, elle a été la capitale du Canada et de toute la Nouvelle-France. La ville de Québec va donc célébrer ses 400 ans en 2008, ce que la permet d’être surnommée la vieille Capitale. En plus, il semble que cet anniversaire mobilise des millions de dollars pour les événements et les nouvelles infrastructures annoncés. On verra...
La ville de Québec a une topographie particulière, constituée d'une part de la falaise ceinturant le plateau La Cité-Sainte-Foy-Sillery et d'autre part du coteau de Beauport, ce qu’a fortement influencé l'occupation du territoire. Sur le plateau, la succession des quartiers depuis le Vieux-Québec vers l'ouest permet comprendre la constitution progressive de la Haute-Ville, dénomination que trouve toute sa signification par opposition à la Basse-Ville, qui s'est développée au pied de la falaise nord et au contact direct du fleuve Saint-Laurent.


"PLAINS OF ABRAHAM - the land that Abraham Martin, named L'Écossais, never owned or even lived on, but used instead to graze his cattle - was the site of the September 13, 1759 final battle for supremacy between the French and British Empires in the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. Combat lasted only 30 minutes, ending a three-month siege of the fortified town, and open the way to the conquest of New France by Britain. Both the French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis of Montcalm, and the British General James Wolfe were killed in the battle that changed the fate of North America. Today, the Battlefields Park, further to its historical meaning, is the lungs of Quebec City. In the background one can see the Quebec Parliament as well as some other buildings belonging to the local Government"

"DRILL HALL - The building at the National Battlefields Park is beautiful, with the turrets flanking the entrance"

"LAMP - The lamp in the Park looks quite similar to some we use to have in the old quarters of Lisbon"

"CITADELLE - The Citadelle of Québec City (the Gibraltar of America) is a national historical site and the official residence of the Governor General. The first protective wall was built in the 17th century under Louis de Buade, sieur de Frontenac, after a plan of fortifications was approved by Louis XIV's commissary general of fortifications Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban in 1701. The existing star-shaped fortifications were built by the British between 1820 and 1831 and the home of the Royal 22nd Regiment, the French-speaking regiment of Canadian Forces"

"AVENUE ST. DENIS with the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in the background"

"PLACE D'ARMES - Located in front of the Chateau Frontenac hotel, the Place d'Armes was in the past the site for military parades and drills. In the early 1900s, the Place was re-opened as a public park and it's nowadays one of the highlights of the Vieux Québec. The Monument of Faith, a sculpture commemorating the arrival of Recollet Mona from France in 1615, can be seen in the centre of the park. The only problem was that this summer morning was a bit rainy..."

"STATUE OF SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN - CHAMPLAIN (1567 - 1635), a French explorer, who founded Quebec City, and thus earned the nickname «Father of New France», arrived to the banks of the Saint-Laurent and Saint-Charles rivers some seventy years after another French explorer, Jacques Cartier. After a few early visits to North America, Champlain landed at Kébec on July 3, 1608, and constructed three buildings, as well as a 5 meter wide moat to protect the area against attack. This was to become the city of Quebec, and fortifying his «Habitation» became a passion for the rest of his life"

"THE CHATEAU FRONTENAC was built between 1893 and 1924 (a new wing seem to have been added in the 1990s after our visit), and it is named after Louis de Baude, Count of Frontenac, a 17th-century governor of New France. Designed by architect Bruce Price, it was one of the first of a long series of «château» style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century. Perched on top of Cap-Diamant, overlooking the Saint-Laurent like an imposing medieval castle, the Frontenac is the archetype of the château-style hotel, with towers, steeply pitched roofs, and dormer windows, and one of Québec City's most famous landmarks. An unmistakable symbol of the city, the hotel hosted many notable names, including Charles De Gaulle, Alfred Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In fact, several summit meetings between Churchill and Roosevelt were held nearby. The Quebec Conference of 1943, in which Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt discussed strategy for World War II, was held at the Citadelle while much of the staff stayed nearby at the Château Frontenac. It deservedly is one of the most photographed hotels in the world..."

"THE TERRASSE DUFFERIN is a boardwalk along the edge of the cliff, offering beautiful views of the Saint-Laurent and leading to the stairways of the Promenade des Gouverneurs, clinging to the cliffs beneath the Citadelle. It bears the name of the Governor-general of Canada in the 1870s, Lord Dufferin, when it was created in its present form. Not as much as Portofino or Positano, the Terrasse has a somehow resort character, and was, anyhow, very fashionable... with a nice view to the Lower Town and across the Saint-Laurent to Lévis on the far bank. A bit wet in the morning, it was much better in the afternoon!"

"SAINT-LAWRENCE AND LEVIS - A lousy, grey photo of a cloudy day!"

"ST. ANNE STREET - Beautiful roofs"

"CITY HALL - The sign means that Quebec City was then commemorating its 375th anniversary. Nice tip to get there next year for the four hundredth commemoration..."

"MUSÉE HISTORIQUE at the corner of St. Anne and Trésor streets, a painless history lesson, and also a wax museum, the Musée de Cire housed in a fine 18th-century dwelling"

"UPPER TOWN STREETS: Quite peaceful; anyhow, look at those cars..."

"LA VIEILLE MAISON DU SPAGHETTI at 625 Grand Allée Est was a nice place to have dinner. It seems that the restaurant is still around and has a site. They are open seven days a week, and suggest you call ahead for a reservation at (418) 529-6697. Have a nice time..."

Saturday, January 06, 2007



After the long US travel in 1982 that started in New Orleans and finished in Chicago, we returned this time for a visit to the East Coast. We took a bus and started with Boston.



"THE MOTHER CHURCH - We took a bus tour of Boston, which started at the Mother Church, part of the Christian Science Complex, and an example of Romanesque architecture"

"FROM CHURCH TO CHURCH - After the Science we went to the Episcopal..."

"BOSTON TEA PARTY - We also visited the Port!"

"OLD STATE HOUSE - This was the centre of Massachusetts government in the 1700's"

"FANEUIL HALL is an old market building, first built in 1742. Town meetings were held here between 1764 and 1774, and there Samuel Adams had the opportunity to protest against the imposition of taxes on the colonies. The building was enlarged in 1806"

"FANEUIL HALL/QUINCY MARKET is crowded in summer"

"THE NEW STATE HOUSE is located next to The Boston Common. It's amazing, in the US, to call something built in 1795 «new». It could only happen in Boston..."

"FROG POND - It seems that after 1997 Boston residents and visitors can skate over the refrigerated surface from November to mid-March! In Summer, there was nothing special to call your attention..."

"KING'S CHAPEL, famous for its architectural beauty, became the first Unitarian Church in the U.S. after the American Revolution. It's located on Boston's Freedom Trail, along with 15 other stops, including also the Faneuil Hall"



"WATERHOUSE tourist bus stop"


"US/CANADA BORDER - Fom Maine to Quebec"