thread made me thinking about my camping in Quebec.
I live and work in Ontario where most everybody speaks English. I don't speak French at all and even English is my second language. I'm Polish by birth and that's where I spent my youth so, maybe this is why Quebec is so appealing to me. It's... well, it's most "European" from all the places in North America that I ever visit. Especially the Quebec City. Anyway, I can see the frustration of some that in Quebec, often, they can't communicate in English. Well, Quebec is not USA. It is not the same as Ontario or any other province. In Quebec, French is the prevailing language. In my young days, when I went to Germany or Hungary or Italy or wherever, I did not expect anybody to speak Polish so, when I went there my mind set is that I will have to communicate by few words from the dictionary and by gestures. It wasn't that hard. If you can say McDonald and Coca-Cola locals will know that you are looking for a place with food and drink
so, when I went for my first trip to Quebec, I took it all as it came. What I found is that:
1. If one dent try the "I'm better than you are" attitude, Quebecers are simply GREAT people, very friendly and most accommodating.
2. Quebec has places with fantastic scenery and places worth seen even if you feel lost among the French only sign posts.
3. If you approach somebody with a smile and a "bonjour madam / messier" most will make an effort to understand your language. 4. You will meet some (very few) who simply refuse to make any effort to communicate in English but my personal cure for that is saying something like "parle vu polonaise" (do you speak polish) and than saying that my English is poor but I don't speak french at all. This quickly sorts out these who don't don't understand English for political reasons from these who... just don't understand English at all!
I've done it a number of times and it really works and helped me on numerous occasions.
In any case, along the major routes and in major cities, there is always somebody fluent in English. At least fluent and willing enough to help!
5. Food is excellent! Mind you, if you like your steak or whiskey, better stock up in Ontario / New Brunswick or a large Quebec city. From USA, you can't bring meat to Canada and only 1.14 litter of liqueur. Don't bother with wine, even the smallest place will have sufficient selection of it. Beer... They always have decent selection of national brands and better yet, excellent beer from local breweries!
6. Come to think about it, Quebec City is, in my mind, the most beautiful city of North America.
7. If you are really stuck or want to make reservations where they don't speak French, call Toll-free number from within Canada and the United States: 1 877 BONJOUR (1 877 266-5687) and, if nicely asked in English, they will make a call and reservation for you and even translate on the spot if that is what you need.
8. Most of the people know or at least heard of Gaspe peninsula. Fantastic drive and views and plenty to see and do and good prices on lobster but fewer people know about the real gem which is Tadoussac and, to me, the most fantastic camping of all. Camping... what else.. Camping Tadoussac! It is located on a hill overlooking the village hmm sorry if I should've said "town". I live in Mississauga, on the outskirts of Toronto so, Tadoussac to me is a village but a beautiful one! Last year, we were camping on a site with the actual view of the village. This was a view worth the whole trip and we could even see beluga whales right from our campsite! I didn't take any pix of the whales and just few of the view but, have a look below.
8.1 The drive from Quebec City and Tadoussac is a pleasure in itself. The road hugging the magnificent St. Lawrence river. The views. The villages. The hills, lakes and towns. A pleasure and adventure all by itself. Further past Tadoussac, it gets better and better with every kilometre and we've done it but last year... we just stayed two leisurely weeks at Tadoussac and these were two fantastic weeks! On the heals of another thread that I read, I want to add that, it is the camping where I've seen cleaning stuff in the washroom areas virtually every time I was going there and I had to go often and campsites where cleaned within an hour of campers leaving. OK, it could be just me because I am NOT CHEAP but frugal so, I never stayed in 5 star campings yet, in Camping Tadoussac I think I got a 5 star service for a 3 star price so, this summer, we will be there again!
For interested, on youtube
I have a timelapse film of the drive from Tadoussac to Trois-Rivieres. For the ones who watch it; the first stop is for snacks. The second stop (on the side of the road) is when a leaf spring on the trailer broke. The third stop and the end of the film is on the parking of Canadian Tire in the Trois-Rivieres where we wanted to buy a replacement spring. They had it but, they directed us to a local garage where they replaced the spring, checked other and the rest of the suspension and had us back on the road within 1 1/2 hour for the price of a spring alone in the Canadian Tire and nobody there spoke English!
Tadoussac village in morning fog and at night and in the day - view from our campsite.