Friday, March 23, 2012

Transports in Québec


Car rental

This is often by booking from Europe you get the best conditions. If you rent in Canada, ask bluntly "What's your best rate? “

To rent a car in Canada, you must be at least 18 years, usually 21 years and sometimes even 23 or 25 years according to the airline - which, when they accept the younger, require a daily supplement may result.

Regardless of age, has a payment card is inescapable: there are very few companies that agree to rent a car to someone without a map, so without warranty. The French driver's license is recognized in Canada (1 year license for a minimum rental).

In winter, ask for vehicles equipped with snow tires. They may involve a supplement, but are safer than the tires "four seasons". By cons, they are rarely available south of Quebec City.
Speaking tires and Quebec, precisely: since 2010, a new tax on tire maintenance has appeared in this province. It seems that some renters do not include it in their package and it must be set up (about $ 3.60 per day).

Also referred to as trailer ... Good idea for starting a family or with others. The rental network is extensive and there are now mobile homes in all regions of Canada. Many forms: one way or loop circuit, unlimited mileage or not, self-guided packages, etc.. Ideal for living to the rhythm of excess Canadian.

Driving an automobile

There are only two pedals: the brake and accelerator. We use only the right foot to accelerate or brake. And some advice: to brake, gently put your foot on the pedal and do not crush the fungus even at very low speed (of automatic brake is very sensitive)!

Circulate

The speed limit is 30 or 50 km / h in town and 90 km / h (sometimes 100 or 110) on motorways. Police keeping watch on the roads are salted and fines. The roads are wide but often slightly curled due to high temperature ranges.

The highways are free and the drivers seem much less crowded than in France. In addition, gasoline is not too expensive compared to European prices: between $ 1.25 and $ 1.40 per liter usually by region and oil prices.

Some rules of conduct

- Traffic lights: they are located after the intersection before and not at home.

- Turn right at the traffic lights at an intersection shall be provided on the right lane, unless otherwise indicated, you can turn right on red after scoring off and making sure the coast was clear. Exception: the island of Montreal, where it is prohibited to turn right on red.

- "Going protected flashing green light" at intersections, that means you have priority and you can turn safely, the queue in front is stationary.

- Flashing orange or red in the center of a crossroads: the lights suspended are primarily used to indicate that there is a crossroads and we must be careful or to mark off.
- The priority right does not exist in Canada. Crossings equipped with stop signs for all routes (or flashing red lights), the rule is that the first come is first.

- When a yellow school bus stops, red lights are lit and a small sign "Off" appears on the driver's door. All cars must stop those who follow such as those just across the street. Forbidden to restart before the lights go out, even if there is no children ... This is one of the worst offenses in the Highway Traffic Act and the Canadian salt is particularly fine.

- In large cities, parking (sorry, parking) are paid and quite expensive, especially those in hotels. But parked in a street in Montreal or Quebec City is a major headache for the neophyte! The public parking will save you the inconvenience of an offense and it's worth the cost because the impoundments are super fast.

Train (Via Rail)

Canadian trains are slow but comfortable. The least slow the connection between Montreal and Toronto (550 miles) in 5 hours (at best). This is not the TGV, but it's more comfortable than the bus. Larger lines are even equipped with wifi!

The class "Economy" is about two times cheaper than the class "Business". The seats are not more spacious, but it has some small privileges at the station, more attentive service and a warm meal.

In Economy class fare young (12-25 years) is granted upon presentation of an ID card. Ditto for the senior rate (over 60). Children under 2 years travel free and children under 12 years receive a 50% reduction.

Generally, depending on availability, you can get a discount if you book interesting in advance. Online, look Special Rates (4 days before economy class), Supersaver (3 days before classes in Economics and Business) or Reduced (1 day before in both classes). There are also "Express deals," the most interesting. It is only a selection of trains.

The Canrailpass is a map to give seven-way trips across Canada over a period of 21 days in economy class. It is only valid for seats (extra charge for the sleeper car). There are two types of Canrailpass: Supersaver network (the cheapest, but with reservations made 3 days before departure, in the limit of available seats) and the Network at reduced rates (to 1 day before departure and more seats available). In 2011, the Supersaver Canrailpass cost $ 970 from June to mid-October and $ 610 in low season; Canrailpass the discounted $ 1,115 in high season and $ 700 in low.

There are also Corridorpass, which entitles seven-way tickets in economy class for 10 days in southern Ontario and Quebec (Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto, Niagara Falls ...). Adult: $ 350-480. Note that the two passes are also available in youth fees.

Bus

Often more convenient - and certainly faster - than the train with higher frequencies, it can travel very long distances in one go (to the United States) ... provided to get to sleep on board. Canadian buses are reasonably comfortable (toilet, sometimes screens) and, in general, absolutely spotless. The bus stations are relatively safe (compared to the U.S.).

Greyhound serves most of the territory; Coach Canada serves more Ontario and Quebec. In La Belle Province, there is especially Orléans Express and InterCar.

In fact, two or more, renting a car quickly turns more favorable; especially as the Canadian bus networks do not have the density and the frequencies at which we are accustomed in Europe. In contrast, for solitary backpacker is relaxed and we made lots of wonderful encounters.

In general, students and more than 60 years get 15 to 25% off full price. Greyhound, book 7, 14 or 21 days in advance can make great savings.
If you are traveling in Quebec and Ontario, obtain the Rout-Pass, valid between early June and mid-December. There are 7 or 14 consecutive days or 18 days for those who would reach New York.

Airplane

Not much to report except that, given the size of the country, it may be necessary for certain trips. Air Canada offers regular special offers on its website.
Do not overlook WestJet fares, low-cost airline serving over 70 destinations in the country.
Otherwise, for a return ticket bought in Europe, all companies offer interior pass with 30% discount.

Hitchhiking

They say "hitchhiking" in Quebec, "hitchhiking" in English.
The hiking is easy in northern Quebec, but it is forbidden in the English provinces. Truck Stops (truck stops) are good meeting places. Directly ask the drivers to their destination.

Carpooling

In Quebec there (and only for this province) a carpooling system that connects the car owners and hitchhikers: Allo Stop. We share transportation costs, which are preset by the body. It comes less than half the bus. To be a member of, just buy a card valid for 1 year ($ 6). Allo Stop now has a competitor, Amigo Express, which offers similar services.

Religions and beliefs in Quebec

Christian religions are disproportionately represented, but all other major world religions are also represented and practiced in Canada. Unlike their American neighbors, there is a sharp separation between religion and politics.

In Quebec, the dynamics are different but the result is the same. Francophone Quebecers are almost all Roman Catholics. The clergy played a key role in the political history of Quebec until the 1960s, but it is no longer the case. According to a 2001 study, 94% of residents say they are believers, but few are practicing.

Almost all religions are represented in Quebec, with a predominance of Catholicism (83%). Protestants (4.7%), Muslim (1.5%), Orthodox (1.4%) and Jews (1.3%) are the other main groups. In Montreal, the great multicultural city of Quebec, we find the same profusion of religions - and even living together - as in English Canada.

The year 2007 saw a resurgence of debates on reasonable accommodation. An example: in the early 2000s, the Catholic religion classes are removed in Quebec for not forcing minority children to follow. On other occasions, judgments prohibit elected to begin a meeting with a prayer.

But reasonable accommodation to accommodation unreasonable, there is often one step ... Thus, when Muslim women demanded specific hours in public pools, where the Chief Electoral Officer authorizes the women wearing the niqab (full veil) to vote without revealing when some require the removal of Christmas trees public spaces as not to force non-Christians to support this religious symbol "ostentatious", tempers flare.

Most contested cases have recently focused on Muslim symbols, but other communities are also concerned.

As for the Indians, they practice the animist religions of their ancestors often crossbred with elements of Christian faith.

Good manners and customs

Quebeckers are rightly renowned for their hospitality and kindness. It is very easy to establish good contacts with them, provided you follow these rules of etiquette Quebec: simplicity and friendliness. No fuss, and if you are immediately familiar terms, this means that the current flows smoothly. Similarly, no need to start bitching at every little unexpected, the Quebecers will not understand this attitude and you will be facing a wall of incomprehension. In short, just keep smiling and kind.

Quebecers do not have this culture of frank and sometimes brutal is a national sport here. So, who discusses a French fort seems arrogant. The Quebecer is certainly a Latin (you know the topo), but it is also a Nordic (quiet, reserved) and especially North Americans (pragmatic, not complicated). A mixed culture that needs time to be surrounded ...

Some "customs" typically Quebec

- The draw: the end of winter, city dwellers are found en masse in the sugar bush to celebrate the return of the sun. While temperatures fro above 0 ° C, the maple sap thaws and is the time of bleeding. In the sugar shacks, the liquid becomes translucent syrup. Spread over the snow, it freezes almost instantly, remaining slightly chewy: that's the draw.

- The removal of 1 July: July 1, holiday (Canada Day), Quebecers move in unison, as it is traditionally the date the lease ends. Throughout the whole province, some 200 000 to 250 000 moves are recorded each year around July 1! The trucks blocking the streets, we walk with matching cushions and mattresses flower on her back, dragging the fridges in the middle of the sidewalk ... And during that time, others lined the streets for Canada Day!

- The "garage sales": this is the same as the Garage sales (garage sales) U.S., under a different name. These "sidewalk sales" are so common from spring to late summer they have become a sort of leitmotif. A good opportunity to discuss with people, to socialize through objects sometimes very interesting.

- The 5-7: somewhat equivalent to our appetizer. It is the custom of gathering around a drink with friends or colleagues after work, but unlike a drink with us, the 5-7 does not continue indefinitely and does not finish a meal (and not necessarily in bed). We drink a glass together, and after dinner everyone goes home.

- Addition: the restaurant, people pay separately (even in couples sometimes). Hence the question almost automatically from the server (or waitress) when paying the bill: one bill or more?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sports and Recreation in Quebec

The national and provincial parks

There are currently about forty national parks within Canada, and numerous provincial parks (provincial parks) and areas protected to varying degrees, depending on provincial governments or local authorities (Marine Conservation Areas, Heritage Rivers, national historic sites, migratory bird sanctuaries, reserves, etc..). Almost all aim to protect ecosystems, while allowing visitors to discover the riches of nature.


In Quebec, provincial parks are commonly known as national parks (National Park Jacques Cartier Park National des Grands Jardins, etc..). However, the province has only two national parks really (National Park Forillon, Gaspésie, and La Mauricie National Park). All the rest are national parks in Quebec, managed by the network SEPAQ - while national parks are dependent on Parks Canada. This distinction is important if you choose to purchase an annual pass gives you access to all parks, as that delivered by the SEPAQ is not valid in National Parks managed by Parks Canada, and vice versa.

Quebec always, you will find a dozen wildlife refuges, managed by the SEPAQ also. This is still protected areas, but it is primarily territorial fishing and hunting, where the forests (or mine) can be exploited. All activities are of course subject to strict conditions so that the renewal of wildlife is not threatened. Wildlife reserves are also places of resort.

Some info in bulk:

- Access to National Parks is paying.
- The price of access to national parks varies by site.
- The Canada National Parks are generally open all year but services are reduced out of season, especially after Labor Day (first Monday in September).
- Maps and brochures are routinely given at the entrance of the parks.
- In the reception centers, the proposed documentation, and staff will provide all necessary information to choose the excursions.
- Also included in these parks camping areas superbly located.
- Parks are by definition in nature and therefore, in season, much frequented by mosquitoes, black flies and other pesky birds and quills.
- On road signs, national parks of Canada are indicated by a white on brown beaver.
- The national and provincial parks in Canada are very different from their European counterparts. Not only are they paid, but as you probably figured out, they are also highly regulated. You may be surprised too, especially in Quebec, rather limited network of trails in some of these parks.

Information from Parks Canada and the SEPAQ.

Outfitters

These are exclusive territories for hunting and fishing belonging to a private owner. The provider has its own name hunting licenses and fishing valid for its territory. There are almost 700 in Quebec, and among them some very select club, reserved for wealthy members. Because, unlike wildlife reserves that manage hunting and fishing in a sustainable manner, the lodge is a business that "sells" of hunting and fishing for gold! Often far from all, some outfitters offer rustic accommodation on site, even rudimentary, but they grow increasingly into a resort. They are usually closed in winter.

Sports

The national sport is ice hockey. The "season" runs from October to May Each community, to the village of 500 inhabitants, has its own little training. Unfortunately, hockey is suffering from too much professionalism and is losing his good-natured side that made him so sympathetic. To recover the original spirit of hockey, catch a game of amateurs, if only for the ambiance.

Baseball is also quite popular among Quebecers, as well as the Canadian Football (a version of American football). As for rugby, even though Canadians attended the last World Cup, it's still a great unknown.

During your stay, a multitude of choices will be offered in sports and recreation, summer and winter.

Summer sports

A lot of Quebecers traveling by bicycle in cities. These are well equipped with bicycle lanes. In all regions as many circuits as possible in a day or several days (check with tourist offices). Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, golf, horse riding, sailing, scuba diving, flying boat, fishing ... and many more activities can be practiced in these regions.

Information from the Quebec Federation of walking, of the Federation of canoeing and kayaking and Velo Quebec.

Winter Sports

Many ski resorts and alpine skiing in Quebec. But beware, it's very cold winter. Snowmobile trails are also popular. Excursions organized by over 260 clubs of Quebec's. Walks with sled dogs are a "specialty" Canadian. Again, you'll have no trouble finding the best plan for you, day or night in an igloo. In short, not a dull winter either.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quebec - Health and Safety

Health Insurance

In Canada, health care costs are very high for foreign tourists (hospital rates from 1 000 to 2 000 USD per day). Hospitals and clinics are more formal than the United States and require the submission of an insurance ID card to accept an admission. It is therefore essential to take prior to departure, travel insurance with full repatriation assistance.


Emergencies

- 911: toll-free number to dial 24 h/24 for all types of emergencies.
Hospital emergency rooms are often very, very congested and time to support very long.

Mosquito and Tick

By the end of winter, mosquitoes and black flies (black flies) proliferate and attack warm-blooded animals - the man in this case - with an aggressiveness that is rarely seen, even in the tropics.

Only solutions: bed nets and protective clothes, skin repellents effective. On site, in specialty stores in the camping, there are a range of products adapted to the country. But beware; they are generally unusable for 12 years. If you are traveling with children, buy more before departure (for example the range Insect Screen), or opt for clothing nets, mosquito-like mini head.

Also, ticks are very numerous in all forest areas and tree, in other words almost all of southern Canada. Ticks can transmit a dangerous infection: Lyme disease. To avoid this, when all rural residence: wrap up warm head (hat), arms, legs and feet; check yourself regularly to reduce the risk (it takes 24 hours for a tick to transmit disease) .

Downtown

Low crime rate, crime virtually nonexistent, Quebec is not a dangerous destination. The cities are very safe, and Canadian society is not violent. Of course, as everywhere, do not tempt fate and take sensible precautions against theft...

In nature

- Many bears inhabit the forests of the east. Although they rarely represent a danger, we should be careful. When camping, the major precaution is to never leave food in or near your tent, or even toiletries! It is advisable to pack the stores in a nylon bag and hang them from the branch of a tree, away from your tent and trunk (which bears can climb) at least 3 m above the ground.

If still you fall face to face with a plant grade, first throw down any food you carry, put yourself into the wind so he can feel and do not approach. Do not run away either.

- In summer, the forests are infested with mosquitoes and black flies that bite ferociously. In general, the higher up north, there are more (up to at least some discretion). These insects are so numerous and sometimes painful as they push you to turn back.

If you plan to camp or walk in the parks, especially, especially, get yourself creams, avoid perfume and wear dark colors.

June is the worst month of the year it starts to calm down in July, but still ... sea
​​and wearing dark colored clothing. June is the worst month of the year it starts to calm down in July but ...

- On the road signs indicate areas populated by moose (elk) and other caribou (reindeer family). Slow down, especially at night, because the animal tends to be dazzled stop in the middle of the road.

Accommodation in Quebec

Campsites

Canada is one of the best organized countries for camping! However, many of them do not open until June and closed in September, because the nights are cold. They are often large and offer good locations isolated from each other. Unspoiled natural wood tables, clean sites ... Most have a laundry room with washers (washing machine) and dryers (dryer), shelter or rooms equipped for inclement weather; on each site, typically found a home for firewood and picnic table.


Prices vary depending on location and "services" (water, electricity and sewage). It is strongly advised to book in summer camping in national parks. In some very remote campsites, or early and late season in the other, you pay through a system of envelopes to be deposited in a box store that comes back later. Some campgrounds rent huts summaries, minichalets or bungalows, with or without toilets. The most comfortable rooms with a kitchenette and a barbecue outside. Attention, often the sheets are not provided. The camping is available in tourist offices. You can also visit the national and provincial parks, the guide of campsites in Quebec - or order a free hard copy.

Hostels

The Canadian AJ are generally great: warm, sources of good tips about the area and meeting point for travelers. For an individual, to sleep in dormitory costs about the same price as the campsite (you can also camp there ... sometimes). Sheets are usually provided or available for rent (about $ 3), otherwise provide a sleeping bag rather than down, frowned as likely to contain small critters...!

AJ has some few private rooms and more, but not always. They generally share the bathroom.
There is no age limit to stay in AJ in Canada. In hostels affiliated with Hostelling International network wide (which includes the French FUAJ), expect to pay $ 4 more if you are not a member. Some AJ Quebec, although non-members of Hostelling International, sometimes give a discount to card holders.

Student residences

Accommodation in the universities, the summer is not as good a solution as it sounds, because the facs are often distant from the center and buildings without any charm. In addition, it fills up quickly and it is better to book in advance. There are still moderately priced, some comfort: private bathroom (most often), community kitchen, laundry, linen rental, etc..

Inns, hotels

Rather than the hotel, we recommend the gites - the equivalent of our guest houses or bed & breakfast - also designated in French Canada by the lovely and warm term Couette et Café. We lodge at the inhabitant where the welcome and friendliness rivaling the abundance of breakfast. This breakfast ("breakfast" in Canada) is a real institution.

It is not uncommon that the bathrooms are shared. The private bathroom is usually climbing the note, and it is not uncommon that it reduces the size of the room.

The larger houses are often home to hostels, halfway between the heel and the hotel. Often closer to the charming, they are mostly in the "Chic". Small drawback: it is often necessary to book in advance in summer and cancellation policies are very disadvantageous. The term "inn" is not a guarantee: some have little more charm than a regular bed.

In Quebec, the term Gîtes du Passant is not a general term for cottages, but a famous name assigned by the association of the Farm and Tourism greedy Quebec, which regularly monitors the addresses - in the However, preventing their passage ... There is also another association, also very serious, the Network of deposits classified.

A number of lodge owners take their holidays at the time of the feast of Thanksgiving (second Monday in October).

Notice to smokers: in almost all the houses "smoking" is prohibited.
Notice to families even if it is never displayed (because it is forbidden), children are not always welcome in shelters or hostels, especially in places a bit upscale...

Hotels and motels

Most hotels are similar to those found in the United States: comfortable, functional but not overly friendly. That said, we must recognize that from two people the price of the night in motel gets interesting (and four, cheaper than AJ!). A charming hotel has nevertheless developed in the tourist areas, but this spell has a cost...

Prices are for two people, but often one room has two queen beds (large) and can thus accommodate up to four people. Rose to 10 to $ 20 per additional person, sometimes less, sometimes more. Breakfast is rarely included in the price of the room, or it will be a coffee served in a Styrofoam cup and a few muffins or bagels to munch.

For motels, it is similar, except that they are generally on the periphery and they have free parking. In town, however, expect to pay dearly to park: up to $ 25 per day!

At airports, some tourist offices and some bus stations, you will find phones directly connected to hotels. Some of them even offer transportation from the airport or bus station.

Geography, climate and weather in Quebec

Geography

Three factors are important in the geography of Quebec. First, the St. Lawrence River. It rises in the Great Lakes and empties into the Atlantic. Meanwhile, he crosses Canada on 1140 km! This extraordinary river, whose flow is equivalent to those of the Rhine, the Volga and Nile together, constitute the main route into the country and has always, played a key role in the development of the country. Native Americans called it "the way that works." Over generations, they spoke of the great river of Hochelaga, River Cod, Great River, the path, and then the river of Canada ...

At its mouth in the Gulf, somewhere between the south and the Gaspe North Shore ... north, its width reaches 130 km!

Another important geographical factor: the Appalachians. This mountain range, stretching to the southeast United States, along the lowlands of Quebec to Gaspe peninsula, where his last foothills come to die in a riot of cliffs. These heavily eroded mountains (which rarely exceed 1 000 m) form the undulating landscape that can be found along the St. Lawrence.

Finally, a very old mountain range covers the remaining 80% of Quebec. This mountain range extends on both sides of Hudson Bay and form what is called "the Shield", largely leveled by glaciers during the last glacial period. These lands have many forests and a vast river system with several rivers is used to generate electricity.

Climate

- It can get very hot in summer. Nevertheless a sweater for the evenings and a raincoat in case of rain are needed. For those who intend to undertake a boat trip for whale watching: it's very cold on the water, even in summer. Therefore, provide sweaters, thick socks and scarf.

- The indications are valid for the southern part of the country. In May and September, hot days but cool nights. In June, hot. In July and August, very hot (although the weather starts to cool off in mid-August).

In September, in general, some fine day announcing the Indian summer, but cool nights. In October, Fresh chilled.

In November, quite cold and early frost. In December, January and February, cold (0 ° C to - 5 ° C) to very, very cold (- 40 ° C at worst), with beautiful sunny days. This is the season of ski, snowmobile or snowshoe races, even if the global warming of the planet made the winters milder - and the threat of freeze-up lakes and rivers. South of Quebec, the presence of snow is no longer, as before, automatic, difficult to predict with certainty.

In March and April, it's time the long-awaited thaw. If the thaw usually turns cities into vast expanse of slush (slush of melted snow), the period is not less often pleasant and sunny, with some days providential opening of sidewalk cafes. It is also the period when one bleeds maple syrup to ...

Indian summer

Autumn is punctuated by this particular phenomenon in North America. After the first shivers, it usually occurs a heat wave that lasts a good week. Vegetation suspends its march toward destitution and offers colors, shades and unique own the New World.

Quebec is ideally visited the magical moment of the Indian summer, the last week of September to mid-October depending on latitude.

Native Americans of the past took advantage of this mild period to sink into the wood and build up reserves.

Quebec forest

The forest is 20% of the forested area of
​​Canada and includes three vegetation zones from south to north: mixed hardwood (yellow birch and fir), boreal (spruce, fir and white birch) and taiga. Beyond the tundra begins. Over 50 species of trees are identified; none are threatened with the exception of elm. There is a maple dieback, which we do not yet know the cause.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quebec Culture


Literature

Although there is literature in French-Canadian from the days of the colony and of New France, it is mainly since the 1960s and the "Quiet Revolution" in Quebec literature that shows a very vivacity. The great success of The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy, in 1945, is a harbinger of cultural awakening of the province at the end of the clerical regime's authoritarian "Great Darkness".

Quebec literature is often an engaged art, the linguistic and social issues. Preferred means of expression of the French Canadian language, she does not hesitate to use "slang" (vernacular Quebec) and talk of little people with great realism.

Among the major Quebec authors include Michel Tremblay (Chronicles of the Plateau Mont-Royal), Réjean Ducharme (L'Hiver de force), Hubert Aquin (Next Episode), Anne Hébert (Kamouraska), Marie-Claire Blais (A Season in the Life of Emmanuel) or Victor-Lévy Beaulieu (Race of the world).

Today, the Quebec writers, after the failures in the referendum on independence, seeking affirmation of fact less than the national expression of individuality and a certain dismay at the modern world.

Moreover, Quebec literature was enriched by the contribution of cultural communities located in Montreal, one of the best representatives is the Haitian-born writer Dany Laferriere (How to make love to a negro without getting tired ). Yves Beauchemin (Le Matou), Alice Munro (Les Filles de Caleb), Marie Laberge (The Taste of Happiness), Louis Hamelin (Rabies), Gaetan Soucy (The Little Girl Who Loved matches) and Nelly Arcan (Damn) count among Quebec's most acclaimed authors in recent years.

Performing Arts

In the 1960s, the theater makes its revolution with an innovative piece, Les Belles-Soeurs by Michel Tremblay, written in "slang" (slang Montreal) and showing the lives of the working classes in Quebec. Since then, Quebec theater shows a wide variety of styles and colors, with authors such as Jean Barbeau (Brush), Marcel Dubé (Masterpiece Theatre), Michel-Marc Bouchard (Lilies), René-Daniel Dubois (Being at Home with Claude) or Wajdi Mouawad (Littoral). The playwright and director Robert Lepage (The Far Side of the Moon) knows, meanwhile, with her dream world and strongly influenced by technology, an international audience.

Montreal is also a major center for contemporary dance. Many companies are very successful beyond Canadian borders, including Les Ballets jazz de Montreal and La La La Human Steps.

Circus arts are local artists radiate far beyond Quebec: Cirque Eloize and, especially, Cirque du Soleil (now several years in a multinational entertainment with an annual turnover of over $ 500 million ) conduct tours around the world. Its extravagant costumes, stunning scenery and its staging, using the circus as well as street theater, have a Cirque du Soleil show unique.

Song

The Quebec singers are popular throughout the Francophone world. Engaged, poetic and independence in 60-70 years with big names like Felix Leclerc, Gilles Vigneault (My Country became his anthem "national" Quebec), Robert Charlebois and Diane Dufresne, Quebec song is now more trade with the musicals of Luc Plamondon and "voice" of Isabelle Boulay, not to mention the phenomenon Celine Dion became a mega-superstar. Performers like Richard Desjardins, Lynda Lemay, Yann Perreault or group Loco Locass perpetuate, for their part, the tradition of Quebec song and committed to text.

Cinema

Supported by the National Film Board and a proactive policy, the Quebec film shows a very good form over the past forty years. Realistic, engaged and shot on a shoestring in the 1960s, it evokes the New Wave and the British Free Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s. The Quebec directors, independence and often engaged the left, make a film resolutely social and almost documentary. This is the heyday of Claude Jutra, Gilles Carle (The Death of a Lumberjack), Michel Brault (Orders) and Francis Mankiewicz (The Good riddance).

Trained in this school, Denys Arcand directed films often highly critical, ironic and sparkling dialogue. He acceded to the international recognition and success with his famous diptych The Decline of the American Empire and The Barbarian Invasions.

In recent years, the 7th Art Quebec is very popular in the halls of the province with blockbusters from popular culture (Seraphin, New France ...), comedy (The Boys, The Great Seduction) and movies the singular tone (Léolo Jean-Claude Lauzon, CRAZY Jean-Marc Vallée).

The Total Refusal

During the "dark ages", a group of artists sign this manifesto in 1948 that marks the unconventional history of Quebec. The text denounces the hegemony of the Church and the conservatism of Premier Maurice Duplessis, a French-Canadian society and backward on the sidelines of the world. Advocating a complete break with traditionalism, "Global Refusal" announces the "Quiet Revolution" that will free Quebec society in the 1960s and will enter the modern age. The "Global Refusal manifesto" is also the origin of the Automatist.

Composed of painters, sculptors, writers, dancers, actors and photographers gathered around the painter Paul-Emile Borduas, Automatist Movement advocates the denial of all the constraints and boasts the creative impulse; in painting as in life, it stands for freedom, spontaneity, dynamism and the primacy of sensation. Jean-Paul Riopelle, non-figurative abstract painter.

Quebec, a land of festivals

Quebecers love festivals. There's something for everyone at all times of the year, but with high inflation in the summer. More than 170 festivals and events are celebrated each year in Quebec!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quebec: Food and Drink

Kitchen

Quebec gastronomy traditional, calorie and hearty, has virtually disappeared from restaurant menus, except for a few dishes that are now part of folklore. They stand on the tables at family holidays. In everyday life, we eat mostly American-style: hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and fried chicken, subs (submarines the U.S.), huge sandwiches filled with all sorts of things. Pubs and breweries specialize in nice big steaks, hearty salads with American, fish and chips with salad of cabbage. Near the coast, seafood are present, usually fried ... A mess!


There is also, in cities, sometimes a surprising choice of ethnic cuisine. A lot of immigrants are opening restaurants, and Montreal, for example, one may enjoy as well as Mexican fajitas Greek souvlaki, the Japanese yakitori, or even Ethiopian wat (spicy)! The choice is much more limited elsewhere or nonexistent in the villages.


There are also other Canadian kitchens, most sought after. There is a classical version, French-inspired, mixed of local touches. And then there was the vanguard. This kitchen more creative, more light, showcases the best local produce: fish and seafood, lobster, snow crab, lamb, game, vegetables, goat cheese, seasonal berries, maple syrup ... The trend is organic, and the influence of fusion cuisine, appeared on the U.S. West Coast in the 1990s, is growing.


Despite a few everyday gourmet, Quebec and some parts of the Maritimes have a fabulous meal. One way of flowering inns and gourmet restaurants gourmet ...


Specialties

Quebecers are proud of some of their specialties such as pie, originally made on the basis of several games, to furry and feathered. This "pie" is now usually made from pork and veal mixed.
They are also found at base of caribou or moose meat. During family celebrations and some restaurants, there are still baked beans or stews of pigs' feet. More often, you can taste a duck with maple syrup or turkey with cranberries (cranberries). Otherwise, the soups are very popular, and are found to map all restaurants. Try the greaves (the equivalent of our rillettes), or cretonnade (made of veal or chicken), served at breakfast.


- The fish also appears high on the list of traditional cuisine. Salmon fresh tartare, smoked with maple wood, but unfortunately almost always farmed now (and fatter).


- The seafood is no shortage of either, even if they are too often fried.


- The pâté chinois, a sort of shepherd's pie to which is added corn. This is the dish that gave the most energy in many Asian workers who built the famous line of railway "Trans"! We find a lot of popular restaurants in Montreal, next to the meatball stew ...


- Those who have the rare opportunity to attend a corn of India should not miss it: typical Quebec family reunion, she punctuates the collection of Indian corn and sometimes ends with a party. We buy big bags, boil the ears and are then eaten with salted butter ... and beer.


- One of the specialties of Quebec's poutine. It is fried on which we add "droppings" of cream cheese, all topped with gravy. Poutine has become a symbol of a low-end culinary culture.


- Not to be confused with the Acadian poutine: the raw potato is shredded, then cooked and put to disgorge. The resulting paste is added with crushed potato, shaped into balls the size of a tennis ball stuffed with bacon or pork.


Desserts

Rate sugar pie, not to be confused with the maple sugar pie. Also excellent: pécanes pie (pecan) and blueberry pie (blueberry) in season. Anglophones are also excellent pies and crisps: fruit sprinkled with a mixture of rolled oats and brown sugar baked. Enjoy it as: French toast (French toast) with maple syrup, other classic breakfast.


In Montreal, a taste of the pudding unemployed, a dessert of poor dating from the 1929 crisis, flour, water and brown sugar (now replaced by maple syrup ...).


Treats the radius, we must dare at least once a beaver tail, a kind of waffle without holes, topped with your choice of sugar, chocolate or maple butter. It is found all year in tourist areas, although it is eaten in winter rather ...


Drinks

Be wary of differences between Canadian and French vocabulary.


- Beverage means any beverage hot or cold non-alcoholic.
- Drink only means liquor.
- Liqueur applies to soft drinks.


The wines

The foreign wines are expensive (especially French). At the restaurant, a bottle of wine costs average between 25 and $ 35. The "house wine" in a carafe are 'correct' no more. We will therefore often be content with a glass 6 or $ 7. Some restaurants, however, have no license to sell alcohol and accept that you bring your own bottle of wine (or beer), especially in Montreal! The words "Bring your own wine" is then affixed to the window.


The Quebec wines are sympathetic curiosity. Few restaurants use it, but it can be found in the Quebec Liquor Corporation. Prefer white wine to red, although the reds are on the increase (the Cabernet Franc grape is the most developed).


Beer

Quebec is a major producer of beer, and this is by far the cheapest liquor in the country. Molson Canadian is one of the most popular. Another safe bet: the Labatt Blue. These two giant breweries share the largest market share.


Served by the bottle or the pressure in bars, these industrial beers alcohol content at 5-6 °. The draft beer is a bit cheaper than bottled in bars, restaurants ... Increasingly common, too, many microbreweries produced locally. These semi-artisanal beers are a bit more expensive.
The Quebec beers tend to look like Belgian beers.


Coffee

If the traditional American coffee is still very present in the provinces, most good restaurants and coffee shops are now equipped with coffee machines. Coffee shops, often equipped with a terrace, is the North American version of our coffees. We stopped there for an espresso, cappuccino or caffe latte.


Curiosities

Among the few curiosities: Clamato (tomato juice clam juice statement ...) which falls mainly in the composition of Caesar, Bloody Mary's Canadian cousin, the blueberry wine (our cousin of blueberry), which has very vaguely taste of port, Canadian whiskey (Canadian Club ...) Caribou (dazzling mixture of spirits and wine, sometimes elongated maple syrup), etc.. Quebec also produces honey wine, ice cider, aperitifs cloudberry, etc. ..


Legality

The bars are prohibited at least 18 years, therefore it can not take your children have a drink with you. In general, you will still leave you sit outside if there is a terrace (not guaranteed).



Saturday, March 10, 2012

Money, banks, exchange in Quebec

- The Canadian dollar is different than the U.S. dollar. Late 2011, it was worth around € 0.70. It is divided into cents. Quebecers tend to say piastre (a term that has survived from New France; pronounced "piass") for dollar, in for pennies and cents.

- For large expenses (hotels, restaurants, gasoline, etc..), The most convenient way to pay by credit card, even if a variable fee is taken by your bank for each transaction. And then, the threshold of money can be withdrawn each week is limited, if you pay everything in cash, it may be easily reached. You can pay by credit card almost everywhere in Canada.

- To have cash, the easiest way is to remove the many on-site ATMs.

A fixed fee is charged by your bank for each withdrawal, plus a variable fee, it is best to withdraw large sums rather than in multiple transactions. Additional fees (typically 2 or $ 3) are now used by most Canadian banks and shops in which you can withdraw money. But other than that, this is done at the official exchange rate, more favorable than in exchange offices. Some ATM do neither Visa nor MasterCard, but you'll always find one that works.

- You can also take travelers checks. Be sure to buy the Canadian dollar and not American. To change travelers checks at a bank (all do not do this), a commission is charged, sometimes quite high. By cons, many merchants accept checks with no commission and even make you money over.

- You can change money at banks and exchange offices. There are even, in some cities, machines that change the foreign notes. The service charge (usually $ 5 maximum in banks) and the exchange rate varies from place to place. It is rarely very good in small towns.

- In stores, you will be asked often if you want to pay "cash" or "cash", that is to say cash. If you want to haggle, it's better!

Budget

The cost of living in Canada is generally comparable to those of France. In Canada, all prices are exclusive of taxes. These (12.5%) are added at checkout. Only deposits of less than five rooms are exceptions: they are exempt from tax (and off tips in restaurants and bars). These amounted to 14.975% in Québec.

In Quebec, the deposits of less than five rooms are exceptions: they are exempt from the two main taxes. The lodges and inns are not cheap per se, but mostly they are well worth their price. In hotel, it is often more expensive.

Shopping at the supermarket returns rather cheaper than in Europe, which is not the case for a restaurant meal, once you joust taxes and tip (almost 30% both combined!). It is not uncommon to have to get out his wallet to see a waterfall or borrow hiking trails. Prices quoted are exclusive of taxes.

Accommodation

- Cheap: 20 to $ 30 (single bed in a youth hostel) or 40 to $ 60 double.

- Average Prices: 60 to $ 100 (double room). This is the price range of many lodges and motels.

- The lowest prices are usually with shared bathroom, the highest with private bathroom.

- Chic: from $ 100 (double room). These are the rates of hotels, inns and charming cottages.

Meal

In Francophone regions, the restaurants often offer two types of menus, usually called "special day" lunch and "guest table" in the evening. At noon, the rates are two to three times lower than in the evening! By cons, it is less generous.

What we call "flat" range from simple snack to warm platter garnished, usually accompanied by a salad.

Do not forget to add taxes and service, about 15% each (see below).

Here is our price ranges for a menu or a hearty dish.

- Cheap: 10 to $ 15.
- Average Prices: 15 to $ 25.
- More chic: 25 to $ 35.
- Very chic: more than $ 35.

Fuel

Even if fuel prices tend to fluctuate much in recent years, there is always a little cheaper than in France. Be between 1.25 and $ 1.40 for a liter of unleaded.

Taxes and gratuities

Taxes

Prices shown are not the ones you'll actually pay. Passing to the cashier, the customer must pay more taxes. In Quebec, there are two: the Quebec sales tax, called PST, which is 9.5% plus the federal GST (Goods and Services), which is 5%. QST is calculated on the price already increased the GST, all amounts to 14.975% from the prices quoted.

In terms of accommodation, you will not escape to the specific tax of 3% per room per night in Quebec - or $ 2, it depends on the regions.

In Quebec, the deposits of five rooms or less are not subject to tax. At the restaurant, it will still add the service, about 15% of the price.

Tips

In restaurants, leave about 15% of the final grade. Tipping is an institution that should not be overridden. In some restaurants, so, the service (gratuity) is sometimes added automatically to the note when customers are foreigners, which is not very correct.

For many years, this amount of 15% is applied to the total duty. Now it is very rare and rather expected that the gratuity is calculated on the total tax...

Ditto for taxis: it is customary to leave 10 to 15% in addition to the amount indicated on the odometer.

In bars, unless the rule is fixed and it is still customary to leave a little something.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Official useful addresses for the travelers heading to Quebec

In France

- Quebec Tourism: No Free direct access to the tourist office in Quebec between 15h (16h Wednesday) and 23h (French time): tel. : 0800-907-777 0800-78-532 from France or from Belgium. Brochures for download on the site. 

In connection with the Québec Government Office: 66 rue Pergolesi, 75116 Paris. Mr. Porte Dauphine. Tel. : 01-40-67-85-00. Services with a political and commercial.

- Office franco-québécois Youth (OFQJ): 11, the portion of the Aqueduct, 93200 Saint-Denis. Tel. : 01-49-33-28-50. Mr. Saint-Denis Basilica. Standard telephone Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 14 to 17.30. Documentation center: by appointment only. Supports projects of young professional exchanges and French Quebecers.

- France-Quebec: 24, rue Modigliani, 75015 Paris. Tel. : 01-45-54-35-37. Offices closed to the public. Home telephone Monday to Friday from 9h30 to 13h and 14h to 17h30. About 65 regional branches. Concerning applications for summer jobs. Provides administrative support for 18 to 30 years in their search for seasonal jobs in Quebec municipalities.

- Official website for tourism in Canada.

In Belgium

- Québec Government Office: Avenue des Arts, 46, 7th floor, Brussels 1000. Tel. : 02-512-00-36.

For diplomatic missions of Canada and the formalities for entering the country, see the section "Before departure" Destination Canada.

International Student Identity Card (ISIC)

The ISIC prove student status in the world and you can enjoy all the benefits, services, student discounts in the world, on transport, accommodation, culture, recreation, shopping ...

The ISIC also provides access to exclusive offers on travel (airfare, hotels and hostels, insurance, SIM card, car rental, etc..).

Map to International Youth Hostels (YHA)

The map FUAJ, valid in more than 90 countries, opens the doors of the 4000 hostels in the Hostelling International network spread throughout the world. 

The card is often mandatory to stay in a youth hostel, so we recommend you get it before you leave. Join in France is cheaper abroad.

About Quebec


- Area: 1,667,441 sq. km.
- Population: 7.9 million (2009 estimate), of which almost half live in the Montreal area.
- Capital: Quebec.
- Official language: French.
- Currency: Canadian dollar.
- Government: parliamentary democracy.
- Prime Minister of Quebec Jean Charest (Quebec Liberal Party, since 2003).
- A World Heritage Site by UNESCO: the Old City (inscribed in 1985).

Economy

The situation in Quebec is substantially the same as that of the country as a whole, with exports mainly oriented towards the United States and a predominance of the tertiary. According to 2009 figures, the only ones available to date, La Belle Province accounts for roughly 20% of the Canadian economy and is ranked second, behind Ontario (37.8%) but ahead of Alberta (16.2%). In short, by itself, the Quebec has the 44th largest world economies, ahead of countries such as Portugal, Denmark and Ireland. Its per capita GDP is comparable to that of France.

Quebec's natural resources continue to play an important role in the economy, especially the mining and hydroelectricity production costs relatively low. The province is even among the world's leading producers of iron, zinc (operated by Abitibi), nickel, silver and gold. Exports of aluminum and alloys are ranked highest.

Also include the forest industry, which still accounts for some 80 000 direct jobs, agriculture (mainly livestock) and fishing.

Quebec has developed a high-tech industry, particularly in the fields of aeronautics (with Bombardier), biotechnology (marine, among others), the pharmaceutical industry and multimedia. Tourism represents about 3% of GDP in the province.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quebec

Of course it's not just landscapes and animals in Quebec: there are men and women who live in preserving the environment, build homes with bright colors, and developing cities where culture dominates.

Residents, mostly extremely kind and you will immediately love. But as a society tolerance towards minorities, open to the world, modern technology and innovation. If we, French, Belgians and Swiss, disembark en masse in our Quebec cousins, the reasons are both obvious and numerous. First, with the Acadians of Louisiana, Quebec is the only company outside the hexagon composed of direct descendants of French. This North American cousins
​​or intrigues us still fascinates us.

In Quebec, there is of course the pleasure of sharing a common language at the origin. You will probably be impressed with how Quebecers defending the French language (therewith) tooth and nail, they are identified in the middle of an English-speaking world. Openness, simplicity, humor and hospitality, this is probably, in summary, the best of the mentality of Quebec.

Canada suggested itineraries


Toronto

        Royal Ontario Museum
        Art Gallery of Ontario
        Baseball game at the Skydome
        Casa Loma
        CN Tower
        Kensington Market
        Cabbage Town
        Sail on Lake Ontario

Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake

        Niagara Falls
        The wineries 
        Table Rock House
        Journey Behind the Falls
        Maid of the Mist
        Fort Erie

Grand Bend

        Pinary Provincial Park: many opportunities for walking

Manitoulin Island

        Walks on the island

Wasaga Beach

        The largest freshwater beach in the world

Penetanghuishene

        Trip
        Discovery Harbor
        Cadar Point and Christian Island

In addition to the above circuit:

Midland

        Huronia Museum
        Huron Indian Village
        Saint Mary the Huron country
        Martyrs' Shrine
        Boat trip in the 30 000 islands

The Algonquin Park

        Hiking and canoeing

Ottawa

        Walk on the Ottawa River
        Parliament Hill
        The Rideau Canal locks
        The Canadian Museum of Civilization
        The Canadian Museum of Nature
        The Museum of Fine Arts ofCanada (National Gallery)
        The Gatineau Park

Kingston

        Old Fort Henry
        Marine Museum of the Great Lake

The Rockies from Calgary to Jasper

    Banff

        Cave and Basin
        Upper Hot Springs
        Sulphur Mountain Gondola
        Mount Norquay
        Rafting and canoeing
        Walks in the Banff NationalPark

    Lake Louise

        Rafting
        Lake Moraine

    Jasper

        Jasper Yellowhead Museum
        Kayaking, rafting and mountainbiking
        Multi-day backpacking in themountains
        Lake Edith and Lake Annette
        Maligne Canyon
        Medicine Lake
        Maligne Lake

Vancouver

        Museum of Anthropology
        Maritime Museum
        Art Gallery
        Stanley Park
        Gastown
        Chinatown