Perhaps the pleasantest way to see Quebec city is to take a caleche or horse-drawn vehicle. Open air observation cars, their seats arranged in tiers, which used to run on the tram-lines, have been replaced by buses.
The city tourist bureau provides guides to accompany visitors, and in a city so full of interest and so rich in historical associations as Quebec, the services of one of these knowledgeable guides is strongly recommended, especially to those touring by car. Fees are $ 2 per hour, irrespective of the number in the party (phone 5-8254). Motor-coach sight-seeing tours are also arranged by the Gray Line, a bus company. Motorists must bear in mind that several of the narrow streets are one-way (sens unique) and that some of the oldest and most interesting parts of the city are most accessible on foot.
Old Quebec consists of an upper and lower town. The lower town or ‚Å“basse ville‚ is built beneath the great rock and, for lack of space, is a crowded area of narrow winding sts. such as Sous-le-Fort St., Sous-le-Cap, Notre Dame; in the city‚„s early days, here was the fashionable quarter, although later this moved up on to the cliff.
The upper town or ‚Å“haute ville‚ is built above the cliff and here the official, religious and military buildings were first erected; this too was the area of fortifications; later the fashionable and upper class residential district moved up from the ‚Å“basse ville‚ into what is now known as the Latin quarter, that portion of the ‚Å“haute ville‚ that lies between Jean, Fabrique and Buade Sts. and the northern ramparts.
The best starting place for any tour of the city is probably the Chƒteau Frontenac, the splendid edifice which overlooks the Place d‚„Armes on the one side and Dufferin Terrace on the other. The Chƒteau Frontenac is a hotel, owned by the C.P.R. and inter-nationally known, having had many very distinguished guests. It was built in 1893 on the site of the old Chƒteau Louis, built by Champlain in 1620 as a governor‚„s residence but destroyed by fire in 1834. The French style of the impressive building, its turrets and towers, its red brick walls and copper roof, harmonize well with the other buildings of Quebec. In front of the hotel stands the monument to the Faith. On the other side the hotel overlooks Dufferin Terrace, a broad promenade which surmounts the eastern walls of the city and which has the most magnificent views over the lower town and harbour, the river St. Lawrence, with the isle of Orleans 1. and the Levis bank opposite. At the northern end of the Terrace is the remarkably fine monument t o Samuel Champlain, founder of the city and first governor of New France. Beyond is the Upper Town Post Office (Bureau de Poste, Haute Ville).
Over the doorway is the Sign of the Golden Dog, a stone with the carved and gilded figƒ¼re of a dog gnawing a bone; this stone is said to have been taken from a former building which previously occupied the same site and with which a story of revenge, narrated by William Kirby in his novel ‚Å“The Golden Dog‚, is associated.