Trade Places with Marie-Chantal in Quebec City, Canada and find out what she loves about her city, and her favorite places to travel around the world.
Trading Places is all about experiencing how people live around the world. Through travel, learning, and discovering traditions, cultures, and the beauty of our diverse planet — we try to walk in another person’s shoes for a bit, to step into their lives however briefly — so that we can connect with others, and let that inspire our own lives and bring more joy into our worlds.
When I travel, a large part of the time I stay in other people’s homes — usually through home exchange, but also by house sitting, Airbnb, independent rentals, etc. One of the things I love about traveling this way is that I’m not discovering a new place so much through the eyes of a visitor from some generic chain hotel — I’m actually trading places with them, getting a little taste of what their daily life and home town is all about. It allows me to really experience a place more like a local, and I love both the interesting people I meet this way, and the”insiders’ look” into a place that I get.
If you’re interested in learning more about how I do this, and how it enables me to travel for free, check out my e-course on it! And if you use the code TRADINGPLACES when you enroll, you’ll get a 20% discount!
Two summers ago I exchanged homes with Marie-Chantal Pineau of Québec City, Canada. She stayed at my home in Austin while I stayed in her home in Quebec. I asked Marie-Chantal 7 Questions to get to know her better, and let the Trading Places Village get to know her (and her beautiful city) too!
Marie-Chantal is an architectural project manager at the Museum of Civilisation in Québec City. She grew up in Sherbrooke City, also called “the Queen of Eastern township,” in the province of Québec near the US border. Even though Québec is a French territory of Canada, the Eastern townships kept the British vibe. Marie-Chantal says, “I was educated in French but surrounded by both languages, cultures and architectures.”
Trading Places: What do you do for a living?
Marie-Chantal: I studied architecture to become a theater set scenographer…Not much movie studio in Québec! That is how I started at the Museum of Civilisation in 1992, designing exhibitions. Even though I don’t design any more, my professional work has evolved in taking care of this international Museum building.
The Museum of Civilisation is the result of an international architectural contest and design by the renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who integrated this part of the old town with the history of the St-Lawrence river. The museum is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
What a nice setting for a day job! I am blessed.
Trading Places: What is your favorite place in your home city?
Marie-Chantal: The Old district of Québec is on the UNESCO world list, so you can imagine all those places I could talk about. Québec is an American-European city, called the twin city of St-Malo in France, and it literally is…I have seen it!, but for the purpose of this question, I will have to choose “The Plains of Abraham”, a battlefield where France lost Québec to the British in 1759…a very simplistic description of this great land where blood has flowed but became a now very peaceful and serene place, overlooking the St-Lawrence River.
Note from Shelley: I visited the Museum of Civilisation when I stayed at Marie’s home in Quebec, and went to several concerts at The Plains of Abraham. Both highly recommended activities if you go!
Trading Places: What is your favorite thing about your home, and why?
Marie-Chantal: I live in the old and historic neighbourhood of Québec City, le quartier St-Jean-Baptiste. I have restored my 1890 typical little brick house and just love the vibe, the light and calm of this home. Hard to believe we are in the middle of the city. And what about this location! I sold my car, can walk everywhere, the markets, restaurants, cultural spots and even to work.
Trading Places: What do you do to recharge?
Marie-Chantal: Have you tried walking a historic town each day to go to work? There is not a day that I don’t pinch myself for being so lucky and appreciative of that beautiful town. This mindset came to me after many travels around the world where I would feel the beauty of history, to realize I was living in it without seeing it.
I meditate…not really, but I decorate sugar cookies and like to draw… that is the same thing!
Trading Places: Tell us about your favorite places you’ve ever traveled to?
Marie-Chantal: Every new place I travel to is my new favorite place! My love for traveling, photography, scrapbooking and graphic art all led to my travel blog “Mon Carnet Postal”. It is my way to share all those travel journals, experiences and emotions of discovering a new place.
Trading Places: Tell us some facts about you that might be surprising?
Marie-Chantal: I am a Sports fan! Not that I do sports, but the NFL and MLB seasons are sacred;
-I had my children at 13 (that is what I tell people who can’t believe my boys are 23 and 24 years old, because I don’t look 40…good for me);
-I was a baseball home announcer for 7 years…now retired;
-I never read the papers or listen to the news (except for special events);
-Always listen to the TV in English, never in French;
-Country music is my life
-I don’t have sea legs;
-I studied architecture at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico;
-I travel the world by home exchanging!