Quebec travel questions...language questions too.


Semperfi_dani
#1
I was hoping to travel east next year ..having never travelled east of Saskatchewan...(except to go to the east coast of the USA).

I have always wanted to go to Ottawa/Gatineau...as well as Montreal and maybe Quebec City and small towns around there.

What would your reccommend that i MUST see?

And how important is it to have a commanding knowledge of French. Will i be able to get by with limited usage? Keep in mind that i live in Alberta and was not blessed with mandatory french language classes in school. So i have jr high and high school french..but its been just as long since I've been in school, so my french at best is shaky.

Is it as big of a barrier when it comes to travel in la belle province?
 
Nascar_James
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by Semperfi_dani

And how important is it to have a commanding knowledge of French. Will i be able to get by with limited usage? Keep in mind that i live in Alberta and was not blessed with mandatory french language classes in school. So i have jr high and high school french..but its been just as long since I've been in school, so my french at best is shaky.

Is it as big of a barrier when it comes to travel in la belle province?

If visiting Montreal, there should be no need to worry about French, Semperfi_dani. I'm an English speaker originally from Montreal and speak absolutely no French. I had lived there approxiametly 3 decades before moving to the US. The city is divided along lingustic lines (East vs West) and most of the French speakers there can easily converse in English.

However, if heading to Quebec city where over 95% of the folks are French speaking, you might have some trouble with no knowledge of French. I myself have never been to Quebec city.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
I've been to Quebec, but not for a very long time. You will have language problems outside of Montreal, but don't let that stop you. You should definitely see Quebec City. Take one of those tours in a horse-drawn buggy if you can. The way the drivers get them through traffic is really cool.

I can't imagine going to Montreal without seeing an Expos game, but they are gone, so you can...hang around the peeler bars, I guess.

In Ottawa go see the Parliament Buidlings. If they are sitting, watch a session of Question Period...it's way better than monkeys at the zoo, or even professional wrestling. The Rideau Canal has (or used to have) a couple of old mills etc on it. You can drive down Sussex Drive. You can check out the GG's Mansion.

If you are there in the fall, definitely go check out the Gatineau...take a camera. Our trees in the west don't have that many colours.

You can go see my old house. I haven't lived there since 1977, but the address is 917 Tavistock Rd. Not sure why I still remember that. I wonder if it's still orange?

Lemmee see, what else? The whole area is actually full of historical sites. If you like those kinds of things, you won't be bored. If you go in the summer, be ready for some really unreasonable humidity.
 
sj007
#4
heyz im a quebec residing in montreal u must come visit the city
however for language contraints montreal and ottawa absolutly no problem
however in quebec u might run into some difficultys im shure if u talk to the hotel managers or what not u should get a pretty good info about the city
but the common person in quebec city generaly doesnt kno tht much english
i kno some do but they are alot less then the number of english speakers in montreal
places to visit mostly what the rev said but the parlement bulding ings in quebec city r great too
kepp in touch
 
Freaker
#5
By all means visit the aforementioned places and don't worry too much about not speaking French. A lot of Quebecers speak English and they aren't all in Montreal. Some may not speak English very proficiently but in most cases they will try their best to understand you and make themselves understood.

Here's a caveat though: Some Quebecers get pretty uptight about speaking English to a Canadian from the ROC. If anybody asks you where you are from you might want to tell them that you are an American. No one in Quebec expects an American tourist to be able to speak French but some of them are a little prickly about any Canadian who is unable to.

Of course, you can only use this ploy if you're comfortable with the idea of telling a little white lie. Let your conscience be your guide.
 
annabattler
#6
If this is a driving trip.I'd strongly suggest taking either the north or south shore route,along the St lawrence,from Montreal to QuebecCity.
The roads are good, and the sense of Quebec is ever present(as opposed to the Highway 401 route from Montreal to Quebec City).
A trip around the Gaspe is wonderful,too....many road side artisans,bakeries....and scenery!!!
 
sj007
#7
yea i forgot about gaspe tht what happens when u live in montreal
 
s_pics
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Nascar_James

Quote: Originally Posted by Semperfi_dani

And how important is it to have a commanding knowledge of French. Will i be able to get by with limited usage? Keep in mind that i live in Alberta and was not blessed with mandatory french language classes in school. So i have jr high and high school french..but its been just as long since I've been in school, so my french at best is shaky.

Is it as big of a barrier when it comes to travel in la belle province?

If visiting Montreal, there should be no need to worry about French, Semperfi_dani. I'm an English speaker originally from Montreal and speak absolutely no French. I had lived there approxiametly 3 decades before moving to the US. The city is divided along lingustic lines (East vs West) and most of the French speakers there can easily converse in English.

However, if heading to Quebec city where over 95% of the folks are French speaking, you might have some trouble with no knowledge of French. I myself have never been to Quebec city.

oh yeah

 
Semperfi_dani
#9
Thank-you (or shall i say Merci ) for your awesome advice. I have now conivinced my mom to get airline tickets for me for Christmas! LOL.

I will brush up on my french. I speak franglais pretty well...hahaha. But i would never even think to go to the Gaspe, but anyone else i have talked too swears by that region.
 
DasFX
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Semperfi_dani

I will brush up on my french. I speak franglais pretty well

This is where you will succeed where others fail. The fact that you will make an attempt to speak the local language will take you far. Quebecers just don't like it when anglophones from the ROC expect English to be spoken, especially since they cannot expect the same when they travel outside of Quebec. Try, if you mess up that is okay. More likely than not, you will be corrected and the person will be appreciative of the attempt.

Bon voyage.
 
I think not
#11
You hit that one on the nose DasFX. My French is rather poor, but I always try to communicate in French when I go to Quebec, and other languages when I go to Europe. It shows a great deal of respect for the local culture.

Most people put me out of misery when they see me sifting through my English/(insert other language here) dictionary and speak English, but they always do it with a smile
 
TenPenny
#12
I always remember returning the rent a car to Dorval after a business trip to Trois Rivieres (with a stop at the Musee de Gilles Villeneuve, of course)....as the attendant came to the car, I hopped out and said, "Bonjour", and was treated to a great reply of which I caught every fifth word.....accent just good enough to get me in over my head! But we laughed, and I apologized for not keeping up my 96 from high school French, and away we went.
 
McDonald
#13
Québec is my favourite place. I haven't been to QC, but I've been every point between Montréal and Rivière-du-Loup and it is so fantastically beautiful.

Like others have said, Montréal is accesible to someone with little or no French... but if you really want to scratch the surface, I suggest going the extra mile and mastering a few key phrases. I would definitely make the hike up Mount Royal... the view from there is extraordinary. Best part, it's totally free!

When you get into the insular communities, you will hear little if any English, and you will hear heavy Québécois accents. This is where you will run into lingual trouble. Your best hope if your French is really that bad (and mine isn't great, but it's enough) is that someone there paid enough attention in English class and feels sympathetic enough to accomodate you.

Ottawa is awesome. It's a bilingual city, but you will have no problems whatsoever. Tour every public building. They're free!
 
Martin Le Acadien
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Freaker

By all means visit the aforementioned places and don't worry too much about not speaking French. A lot of Quebecers speak English and they aren't all in Montreal. Some may not speak English very proficiently but in most cases they will try their best to understand you and make themselves understood.

Here's a caveat though: Some Quebecers get pretty uptight about speaking English to a Canadian from the ROC. If anybody asks you where you are from you might want to tell them that you are an American. No one in Quebec expects an American tourist to be able to speak French but some of them are a little prickly about any Canadian who is unable to.

Of course, you can only use this ploy if you're comfortable with the idea of telling a little white lie. Let your conscience be your guide.

Heck, I live in Louisiana and speak a passable potois of French with my Daughters Educated in the French Language, they seem to collect friends wherever they go in Quebec, but being Cajun (Acadien) doesn't hurt, have been invited to several homes and told to park my RV Camper Trailer in the Yard!!! Le Louisianais love Quebec and seem to be welcome where ever French is spoken. A few words will get you started off, but do take Martin's Advice, learn the difference between butter and beer. (Bir et Biere) Small french joke.

Do learn some French, you never know, but some Quebecois et Quebecoise do like Candiens to parler Francais but are presently surprised when Les Americain que son Acadien francais que parler Francais!

Enjoy Quebec, its like visiting France without the Jet Lag!
 
McDonald
#15
I don't know if these corrections are welcome or not, but I know I would want them in this case. I'm no expert, but just a couple things.

"when Les Americain que son Acadien francais que parler Francais" = quand les américains qui sont acadiens peuvent parler français.

"en Le perdue Province du Canada,
Louisiane," = à la province perdue canadienne/du Canada, la Louisiane.
 

Similar Threads

120
Questions about Quebec
by Dcsi | Oct 6th, 2004