A place in my memory: Quebec City

My predilection for landmark photography notwithstanding, I take a fair number of “picturesque detail” shots. They rarely end up among my favorites, precisely because they tend not to clearly associate with a specific place and therefore rarely support a specific memory. But this colorful picture taken in Quartier Petit-Champlain in Quebec City recalls the wonderful locale for me much better than, say, the iconic Château Frontenac towering high above.

Lower Town, Quebec City

Quebec City is not very big. There are several points of interest and museums both in the Upper Town and the Lower Town. The former offers more in terms of expansive vistas and historical sights, while the latter is more about browsing the shops and the popular restaurants. It is in the Lower Town where the most picturesque part of Quebec City is.

For an avowed Europhile, Quartier Petit-Champlain is as close to approximating being in Europe as anywhere in North America. It is basically one major square and one main pedestrianized street, with a few smaller side streets, all lined up by eateries and boutiques. There is a tinge of artificial cheerfulness, of playing it up for the tourist hordes, but it is undeniably pretty. It’s the kind of prettiness that is made up of numerous individual vibrant details; the kind of prettiness that could be lost in a wide sweeping perspective.

Mind you, I attempted a number of sweeping perspectives. In the early morning, they came out too sleepy and unremarkable. In midday, crowds of people dominated the narrow streets. Late at night, the light of the street lamps gave the place a romantic feel but the richness of colors was certainly muted. It was only the “detail” shots that conveyed the vibrancy of the place.

Which is how it came about that a shot of these boldly-colored door and window shutters on the face of old-looking house is what perfectly summarizes the visual delight of Quebec City for me.