Quebec Destination Guide
Quebec City Holidays
Spectacular Quebec City sits proudly atop Cape Diamond in the large Canadian province of Quebec. French is the official (and only) language spoken here, so if you’re arriving from neighbouring Toronto it’s like stepping into Europe without crossing any oceans. The preservation of its francophone culture and 400-year-old historic buildings make Quebec City one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Canada.
There is much to captivate visitors both in and around the fortified walls of the Old City. From historic attractions to excellent cuisine, the gems of Quebec are set against the friendly and fun-loving backdrop of its charming local people.
Begin your Quebec romance in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old City, where you can stroll through narrow cobblestone streets and walk along the city walls. Sit down at a café in picturesque Place-Royale and soak up the ambience of the square that is referred to as the ‘birthplace of French America’.
Other must-visit architectural attractions include the majestic 1893 Chateau Frontenac luxury hotel and the exquisite interiors of the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame. For a fascinating insight into Quebec history head to La Citadelle, North America’s largest fort, where summertime visitors should not miss the changing of the guard daily at 10am. Museum buffs (and kids) will love the Musee de la Civilisation with its expansive range of curious artefacts and collections from near and far.
Had enough of history? Take a walk on Quebec’s natural side. Head 12 kilometres north of the Old City to the roaring Montmorency Falls, which, standing at 84 metres tall, are higher than Niagara Falls. Hop on the cable car for a thrilling close-up view.
Visiting Quebec is a culinary adventure and must-eats while in town include the traditional tourtiere (meat pie) and the ever-popular poutine; a snack of French fries smothered in gravy and topped with cheese curds. For something more substantial you won’t have any trouble finding quaint cafés, elegant bistros and upscale restaurants around town.
All over the Old City there are fine dining restaurants serving traditional French and French-Canadian cuisine. Browse the street-side restaurant menus around Haute-Ville and see what takes your fancy. The city enjoys a vibrant nightlife, whether you’re into dancing till the wee hours or nursing a sophisticated cocktail as you watch a live jazz band. Some of the hotspots include rue Saint-Jean and the swish boulevard of Grande-Allee.
Where to Stay
With the historic Old Town being as beautiful and atmospheric as it is, it’s no surprise that this is where many visitors choose to rest their heads at night. There are a number of chic boutique hotels to choose from as well as charismatic B&Bs set in gorgeous Victorian houses. If you prefer sweeping views to old-world charm, head to the skyscraper hotels around La Porte Saint-Jean for modern rooms with a view and luxury amenities.
Although Quebec has its share of bright and modern shopping malls, nothing can beat the allure of wandering along the utterly quaint shopping streets of the Old City. In the lower end of town, get set to explore the winding streets of Quartier de Petit-Champlain for fashion boutiques, galleries and little treasures to take home with you.
Antique enthusiasts will delight in browsing the antique shops and art galleries along rue Saint-Paul, while Avenue Cartier in the Montcalm District offers a more local feel with gourmet food shops and specialty stores.
Quebec City like a Local
While exploring the shops on Avenue Cartier, be sure to look out for Les Halles Cartier. This delightful indoor fresh food and produce market is the place to shop among the locals for a picnic basket full of sweet and savoury treats (tip: Quebec is famous for its local cheeses). Take your goodies to Battlefields Park where you can picnic in the scenic and historic setting of the Plains of Abraham.