Belle may have hated her “poor provincial town,” but travellers today seem to be entranced by medieval European villages like hers.
Christopher Muther, a writer for the Boston Globe, wrote a feature praising Canada’s very own Quebec City. When describing the city’s historic Old Quebec neighbourhood, he even made some references to Beauty and the Beast to emphasize just how beautiful it really is.
“Quebec City is a delicious ecosystem of old and new,” he says. “Inside the walls of Old Quebec, some of the European-influenced architecture dates back 400 years. These old streets have a decidedly French accent. You almost expect to see Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ swinging a basket and trilling along with the sparrows along the sidewalk.”
You can see some visual similarities when you compare Old Quebec to Conques, the real-life French town that Belle’s village was inspired by:
While Quebec City isn’t an exact carbon copy of Belle’s village, it definitely has the same old-world charm and quiet beauty. On a typical day, Old Quebec somewhat resembles the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast where the entire town fills the streets and everybody is on their way to do something or get somewhere. Muther says the city has much more of a European feel to it than Montreal, thanks to its historic buildings, cobblestone streets and sidewalk boutiques.
“You can duck down streets lined with 19th century granite homes. The window boxes are so bursting with color that you’ll think that geraniums are weeds in this city. They’re everywhere.”
Even more, Muther speaks of Old Quebec’s awesome culinary scene. Some restaurants offer an authentic farm-to-table experience that will truly make you feel like you're in Belle’s village:
“Because it was my first visit, allow me to speak in generalities and stereotypes for a moment. Old Quebec is one of the most European cities in North America. It’s far more French than Montreal in architecture and language. The culinary scene hasn’t caught up to Montreal, but there are can’t-miss meals at the farm-to-table Légende par la Tanière, the beer-loving La Korrigane, and the casually gourmet L’affaire est Ketchup.”
Looks like it’s time to book a trip to Quebec City!