Quebec

Quebec City

History

Quebec City is the capital of the Province of Quebec and is known as the cradle of French civilization in North America. More than half a million inhabitants populate this gem which is patrimonial but then also modern. The creativity and passion of Quebecers are reflected in their culture which they proudly defend. For more information, click here.

Vieux Québec

Vieux Québec

It all started in 1534 when Jacques Cartier took possession of the territory which until then was occupied by native people in the name of France’s King. It is only in 1608 that Samuel de Champlain arrived on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and founded the city in a place that Native Americans called Kébec. The expansion of the city intensified between 1660 and 1713 but it wasn’t enough to counter the English army of General Wolfe during the famous battle on the site of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 where he defeated the French defense of General Montcalm. Four years later the King of France gave away the Canadian territory to the King of England through the Treaty of Paris. This led to a significant rush of English settlers but also settlers of Irish and Scottish origin. Canada’s Constitutional Act of 1791 separated Canada into two provinces; the Upper Canada (Ontario) where the majority is English-speaking and the Lower Canada (Quebec) predominantly francophone. Patriots of the Lower Canada did rebel in 1837-1838 but it ended in a defeat. Quebecers continue up to these days to assert the uniqueness of their culture either through the “Parti Québécois” of René Lévesque or through referendums.

Location

The city is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River where it narrows significantly. It is interesting to note that this river is one of the largest in the world. Another interesting feature of the city is its location on a rocky promontory of more than 100 meters above the river. The location of the city on this promontory called Cap Diamant is no coincidence but rather the consequence of its fantastic strategic view over the river and the surrounding plain. This plain is crossed by several rivers of which the most notable is the St. Charles River which ends up in the St. Lawrence River almost at the foot of Cap Diamant.

The city is bordered by the mountain range of the Laurentians in the north – which is the oldest in the world and the surprising geological extension of the Scottish, Irish and Norwegian mountain ranges -, the St. Lawrence River in the south, surrounding municipalities in the west and finally continues until reaching the magnificent Montmorency Falls in the east.

Quebec Weather

Quebec is known for its four distinct seasons where the temperature differences are significant. In summer you will find yourself in temperatures averaging 25 degrees Celsius, while in winter you will be immersed in average temperatures of -12 degrees Celsius or even colder. However do not let the winter season stop you from exploring this wonderful city as it is then at its most magical and very much alive! Quebec’s fall season is a must for the magic of its colorful trees and comfortable temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius.

Click here for Quebec forecast.

Did you know that…

– Quebec City is on the UNESCO World Heritage list?

– Quebec is the only city north of Mexico which still has ancient fortifications?

Tip

A tip of 15% (applied before taxes) is expected for waiters, taxi drivers and hairdressers. It is also customary to offer $ 2 per bag to porters in hotels.

How to get around Quebec City

From Quebec Airport

Jean Lesage Airport (YQB) is Quebec City’s modern airport serving a million passengers annually. Here you will find discount flights for a wonderful journey to Quebec City. The city center is only 20 minutes away from the airport. Multiple means of transport to get there are:

– The public transport around the city (Réseau de Transport de la Capitale or RTC) provides the bus route 78 to the terminus Les Saules Monday to Friday. For more information about the RTC schedule visit their official website. You have the choice between a day pass for $ 7.50 and a single passage for $ 3.25 paid with exact change.

– Taxi: the fare to go downtown has a fixed rate of $ 34.25.

– Car rental: see this link for information regarding the various rental companies offering the service from this airport.

RTC Public Transport Quebec

The city’s public transport (Réseau de Transport de la Capitale or RTC) allows you to move through the city via buses. The service is available through the following pricing options:

– 1 passage for $ 3.25 in exact change when entering the bus

– 1 ticket for $ 2.85 sold in certain retailers (sold by set of two)

– Day pass for $ 7.50

– 2 days pass for $ 13.50

– 7 days pass for $ 28.50

– Monthly pass for $ 81.25

Keep in mind that the Metrobus (route 800, 801, 802 and 803) allow you to save time browsing the main roads through dedicated lanes. In addition, the Express routes (200 to 399) connect the residential areas to the main sites of the city during peak hours.

You can get information on schedules and transit routes on the official website Réseau de Transport de la Capitale (RTC).

Take note that people with disabilities may make a request to the Service de Transport Adapté de la Capitale (STAC). The Metrobus 800, 801 and 802, however, are accessible to people with physical limitations.

Quebec City Taxis

The cost of the route from Jean Lesage airport (YQB) to downtown Quebec City has a fixed price set to $ 34.25. For other routes, the total cost will be calculated by adding an initial cost of $ 3.45 to a fee of $ 1.70 per mile and $ 0.63 per minute of waiting.

Here is a list of taxi companies with whom you can do business in Quebec City:

Taxi Coop Québec: 418 525-5191

Taxi Coop Sainte-Foy – Sillery: 418 653-7777

Taxi Laurier: 418 651-2727

Taxi Québec: 418 525-8123

Know that a taximeter indicating the route cost should always be visible. In addition, a tip for the taxi driver is customary but not mandatory.

Car Rental

The motorway network in Quebec will allow you pleasant and efficient travel within the city. You rent a car during your trip in Quebec City by visiting Expedia.ca Following different car rental companies will allow you to freely browse Quebec roads:

Avis

Budget

Enterprise

Hertz

National Car

The Québec 511 service from the Ministry of Transport of Quebec (MTQ) provide maps, information about the location of rest areas, road conditions and more.

Coach Quebec City

The terminus of Gare du Palais, in addition to the one in Sainte-Foy, connects you to other cities via the coach companies Orléans Express and Intercar. Orléans Express offers daily service between Quebec and Montreal and a frequent service to other cities in the province. Intercar links Quebec to the Saguenay, Lac-Saint-Jean, Charlevoix and Côte-Nord regions.

Train

Via Rail Canada offers rail transport linking Quebec to the rest of Canada from the beautiful Gare du Palais. Its rail network is integrated into the American railway network allowing you to reach Quebec City by train from many major cities in North America.

Cycling In Quebec City

Enjoy the extensive network of bike paths in the city. They are pleasant, safe and well designed. In addition Vélobus provides a bike rack service on the buses Metrobus 800, 801 and 802. This service is free but limited to two bikes per bus.

Quebec City’s Nightlife

Grande Allee le soir

Grande Allee le soir

You’ll find the must-visit Pub St-Alexandre in the heart of the famous and charming St-Jean Street. They offer a warm setting to enjoy a beer since 1946. But it was in 1987 that the Barré family internationalized their establishment by introducing delicious beers from all over the world. They set themselves apart with their decor by using old bricks, mahogany woodwork and many mirrors but especially through their selection of beers and scotches and their wine cellar. In addition they offer a local cuisine. You are definitely invited to spend the evening in their warm cozy atmosphere.

Microbrewery La Barberie invites you into its beer-tasting room where beer lovers can enjoy a selection of eight beers. This constantly rotating selection depending on the day and season is drawn from a collection of about sixty recipes. They even allow you to satisfy your curiosity of tasting them all through their malts carousel graduated from lighter to darker. It’s a real oasis in the heart of the city where you can enjoy its green terrace with hammocks and swings. You are invited to bring your own favorite meal or appetizers from noon to one in the morning weekdays.

Experience Quebec’s nightlife at the Complexe Maurice Nightclub – key nightlife establishment in Quebec City. This beautiful historic building of Grande-Allée offers three options which interiors vary from the fiery ambiance of the Maurice Nightclub, to the elegant and seductive Charlotte ultra lounge where many celebrities were seen or the casual and intimate atmosphere of the Société cigare where you can enjoy an exceptional cognac or a cocktail from the best selection in town to the rhythm of jazz, rock and funk. Their spectacular terraces allow you to dominate the vibrant Grande-Allée.

What to do in Quebec

Do not be afraid to venture into the beautiful Quebec City in winter. You will find activities to do in whatever season. Whether common as hiking and cross country skiing or more singular as dog sledding there is something for everyone!

Cycling In Quebec City

Enjoy the extensive network of cycle trails provided by the city to its citizens and tourists. In addition to being enjoyable, safe and well designed; numerous itineraries invite you to discover the splendors of the city. Here to name a few:

Corridor Rivière-Saint-Charles: multifunctional 9 km trail along St. Charles River.

Corridor des cheminots: multifunctional 22 km trail starting from La Cité-Limoilou disctrict to La Haute-Saint-Charles disctrict with picturesque landscapes. You can even visit Wendake on the way!

Corridor du Littoral: multifunctional 48 km trail extending along the river between the town of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Montmorency Falls. It offers a breathtaking view!

Parcours des Anses trail: multifunctional 15 km trail located on the south shore of St. Lawrence River facing Quebec City. You will discover the most wonderful view upon the bridges, Quebec’s fortifications which are illuminated at night, the breathtaking Chateau Frontenac and the charming Orleans Island.

Vélobus provides a bike rack service on Metrobus routes 800, 801 and 802. This service is free but limited to two bikes per bus.

Skating Quebec

Ice skating is a classic winter fun for Quebecers. Whether in family or with your loved-one there are many nice places where to enjoy this activity. The most charming and touristy is certainly the skating ring at Place D’Youville where you can skate immersed in magic and “Joie de Vivre” while admiring the architecture of the picturesque Old Quebec. The cooling system of this unique site allows you to skate as early as October absolutely for free! The site even offers a skate rental service. Skate blade sharpening and lockers are available during business hours but remember to bring your own lock!

Dogsled rides

Immerse yourself in Jacques-Cartier Valley’s idyllic landscapes only 30 minutes away from Old Quebec to experience the fun of dogsled rides with Aventures Nord-Bec Stoneham. Discover also Jacques-Cartier Valley’s fauna, flora and history. Make the most of your adventure with one of the different packages offered such as survival exercises or a night in a boreal yurt. They also offer having dinner in the cozy atmosphere of their chalet.

Other companies like Aventure Plein-Air Inukshuk, Chenil La Poursuite, Les Secrets Nordiques and Pourvoirie du Lac-Beauport also offer exciting dogsled rides near Quebec.

Best parks in Quebec

Montmorency Falls

The remarkable Montmorency Falls are a must-see while in Quebec City as it is also one of the most spectacular sites in the province. They are located in Montmorency Falls Park only minutes away from the city.

Les chutes Montmorency

Les chutes Montmorency

The impressive 83 meters high waterfall is even higher than Niagara Falls by 30 meters! Make sure to bring your camera to take great pictures of the waterfall and its surroundings. Discover its beauty by walking up to the suspended bridge over the water. You will then have a breathtaking panoramic view of the falls and St. Lawrence River and even feel the power of its rumbling water. Sports enthusiasts can climb the via ferrata’s rocky wall which also promises an astonishing view. You are invited to explore the many bike trails and board its cable car for an enchanting view of the falls and its surroundings. The place is especially magical at night with all the lights highlighting the park’s cove.

The Montmorency mansion at the top of the cliff holds an interpretation center and a coffee shop.

The falls freeze in winter to form a beautiful mountain of ice that climbers courageously ascend.

The site is accessible year round and admission is free.

Plains of Abraham

The famous Plains of Abraham which is part of the Parc des Champs-de-Bataille “Battlefields Park” is located on the rocky promontory of Cap Diamant “Cape Diamond”. This urban park among the most prestigious in the world was the site of the epic battle between the French and British empires in search of possession of the land. The outcome of this war which took place in 1759 was crucial to the fate of Quebecers. As we know the French colonists were defeated by the British army. This 103 hectares park is to Quebec City what Central Park is to New York City with the extra of being the cradle of Canadian history.

Plaines d'Abraham

Plaines d’Abraham

Do not miss the Odyssée multimedia exhibition at the Maison de la découverte – a virtual journey 400 years back in time to make you relive the site’s history, as well as Canada’s, from the arrival of Jacques Cartier to present days. Visitors can also admire an exclusive collection of epochal uniforms and learn about military life in 1759 – 1760.

The park offers a variety of activities for visitors. In summer, the park allows rollerblading, running, walking, cycling, football, soccer, cross-country skiing and many other recreational activities. You won’t be bored in winter thanks to its ice skating ring, 12 km of cross-country ski trails, 4 km of snowshoeing trails and 6 km of trails reserved for walking. The park also offers two heated cabins.

Base de plein-air of Sainte-Foy

You will be surprised to find such verdant nature at the Base de plein-air de Sainte-Foy “Outdoor Base of Sainte-Foy”. Find yourself immersed in a haven of tranquility just minutes from downtown!

The many activities offered are mainly centered on its two artificial lakes resulting from an old gravel pit. A rare and delicate peat bog ecosystem is found north of the park. Go early in the spring to admire flowering rhododendrons!

Come and enjoy the beauty each season displays! In summer the site allows walking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and pedal boating. You will of course be able to rent the equipment needed on site. The activities offered in winter include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and ice fishing.

The site features an abundant birdlife. Do not miss the many ornithological attractions!

Schedule:

June to September from 8 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 11 pm on weekends.

Mid-December to mid-March from 9 am to 4 pm.

Free admission

Shopping in Quebec

Quebec Shopping

Quebec Shopping

Shopping centers where to replenish your wardrobe with appealing items abound in Quebec. Among the best known are the famous Place Ste-Foy and Place Fleur de Lys. Here are others particularly worthy of a visit.

Les Galeries de la Capitale is a must! It’s not only a major shopping destination but also an entertainment one because, in addition to over 280 shops and 35 restaurants, it offers 12 movie theaters, an IMAX theater and the MegaParc which is the second largest indoor amusement park in North America with 20 attractions including a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, climbing wall, mini-golf and a large ice rink.

It is said that Place Laurier is the hottest tourist attraction after the Old Quebec. This is probably based on the fact that it’s visited by over 12 million people every year! In addition to being conveniently located near the bridges and major highways this key shopping centre contains 350 stores on three floors where you’ll be sure to find everything you’re looking for. You can easily spend the day strolling around its numerous stores. A visit at the customer service desk Info Services will convince tourists of their warm and personalized welcome where tourists are handed a shopping discount booklet. In addition a consultation with one their qualified stylists will guarantee flattering choices.

Place de la Cité is the perfect place to shop when searching for exclusive fashion items. It features 150 boutiques and services to find clothes beautifully marking oneself out without fail. A thoughtful staff will provide unique clothing and accessories with the attention you deserve and an intimate setting.

Do not miss Les Promenades du Vieux-Québec steps away from the Château Frontenac while touring the city. It features 12 upscale boutiques offering imported and locally handcrafted items for men, women and children. In addition to its stylish products including jewelry, perfumes, gifts, leather goods, works of art and crafts the charm of this place originates from its warm and modern decor consisting of old woodwork, brass and copper.

Places to eat in Quebec

Quebec Food

Quebec Food

You can rely on the featured selection of restaurants from Restos Plaisirs for a guaranteed gastronomic experience; they promise to seduce you. The ongoing seduction comes about through thoughtful and dedicated staff, remarkable mouth watering dishes, quality wine service and desserts to die for.

Following the success of their first restaurant – L’Affaire est Ketchup – the owners decided to open Patente and Machin. It serves an inventive local cuisine in a masculine atmosphere. Although their generous portions are sure to satisfy your hunger do not resist their famous pouding chômeur.

The renowned Cochon Dingue is located in Quebec’s most charming neighborhood, the patrimonial Petit-Champlain. This restaurant symbolises the union between France and Quebec with its French bistro feel, highly flavourful cuisine and warm family atmosphere.

Grande Allee

Grande Allee

Immerse yourself in Parisian atmosphere at the Paris Grill, first French brasserie to appear in Quebec City. You will be delighted by its breakfasts and typically Parisian lunch and dinner menu at reasonable prices. Try its amazing Tartar!

JaJa La Pizz sets itself apart from other pizzerias by its original menu. The success of their pizza comes from its unique combination of quality ingredients. They also provide vintage wines with the option of three glass format; to simply discover or enjoy! Hard to resist their final treat, the famous “Cake Pop!”

Impossible to resist the rustic charm of the Lapin Sauté located on Quartier Street in the uttermost charming Petit-Champlain district. This small restaurant with a cozy and warm atmosphere provides rabbit for specialty. It is found in pie, confit or in sauce, along with other selection of grilled meats and gratin at good prices. Take seat on the terrace in summer or by the fireplace in winter.

With its electrifying lounge decor and enticing menu (not to mention their decadent desserts!) the Cosmos Café is THE trendy restaurant in Quebec. The city’s three restaurants appeal to a varied and animated clientele.

Hotel Quebec

The Auberge St-Antoine is a luxury hotel in the heart of Quebec City’s Old Port. In addition to its superb location facing the majestic St. Lawrence River what makes it so unique is its location on one of Quebec City’s richest archaeological sites; the presence of artifacts in the hotel; and its construction made from 3 historic buildings, a dock and a battery of cannon from the 17th century. You will find yourself immersed in the heart of the city’s magic as it is near the old ramparts, museums and the picturesque Petit-Champlain district. The hotel offers 95 luxury rooms and suites equipped for your utmost comfort. It is member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux.

Auberge Saint Antoine

Auberge Saint Antoine

The Hotel Universel Quebec is located near Sainte-Foy’s business district, downtown and Old Quebec. It is ideal for all types of travelers whether couples, families or business people. It is particularly suitable for sports groups due to its proximity to Laval University’s PEPS. Its 160 comfortable rooms are sure to please you but what sets it apart is its exotic indoor garden with a heated pool and Nordic spa. It also holds a Boston Pizza restaurant a sports bar-restaurant that offers good value.

Hotel Universel

Hotel Universel

Château Laurier Québec is located in the heart of Old Quebec and offers unparalleled service steps away from the famous Grande Allée and Plains of Abraham. In addition to enjoying its warm and multilingual welcome you will have access to their wide range of amenities and services including a garden with outdoor spas, salty water indoor pool, therapeutic massage and body care, among others. The hotel is ideal for business travelers as well as for a romantic getaway. Make the most of your stay in the beautiful city with one of its many packages. You will surely find the formula suiting you from the selection of romantic, gastronomy, discovery & nature, relaxation or business packages.

Hotel Chateau Laurier

Hotel Chateau Laurier

Hotel Le Germain is located in the heart of Quebec City’s Old Port and offers elegance, comfort and refinement. The boutique hotel reveals its history through the old days charm kept from the two heritage buildings which it is made from. The attention to detail is the golden rule; whether through the free cappuccino bar, goose down duvets, warm woodwork, luxurious bath products or royal welcome reserved for your dog. The guest rooms have a hushed atmosphere and a view over the St. Lawrence River and surrounding neighborhood.

The friendly and thoughtful staff of the Hotel du Vieux-Québec will make you feel like in the comfort of your own home. This boutique hotel located in the heart of Old Quebec is surrounded by the ramparts. Its friendly staff will be happy to reveal you the many interesting sites nearby. The welcoming hotel rooms have a contemporary decor. You have the possibility of inviting your pet from November to April in the standard rooms. The owner is committed to reducing its environmental impact through many projects that have earned him numerous awards.

Hôtel du Vieux-Québec

Hôtel du Vieux-Québec

Treat yourself at the legendary Fairmont Château Frontenac Quebec, Quebec City’s very emblem. One of the many things that make this legendary hotel so special is its ideal location on the promontory Cap Diamant which provides a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and Old Quebec’s architecture. Its 611 rooms and suites combine a unique modern touch to rich European elegance. Le Château Frontenac is undoubtedly the best place to impress your guests during special events. Its renowned chefs offer a reinvented cuisine without flaws in any of its three restaurants. Texon the Seeing Eye dog welcomes you!

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

Experience the unique Hôtel de glace “Ice Hotel” just 10 minutes away from downtown. The ephemeral work of art is renewed winter after winter. You’ll be enchanted by the magic of its majestic snow-capped vaults, crystalline ice sculptures and thematic rooms and suites each one more original than the next. If you cannot spend the night over spend at least an unforgettable evening at the ice bar. Many couples are eager to celebrate their wedding in its fairytale chapel built for this purpose. The hotel takes care of your comfort with appropriate bedding; a fireplace or private spa in suites; and an outdoor area with sauna and spa to relax under the stars!

Hotel de Glace

Hotel de Glace

Guided Tours in Quebec City

On foot

Tours Voir Quebec offers among other packages a popular guided tour of Upper and Lower Town lasting about two hours. This tour covers the architecture of heritage sites and the city’s history.

Promenade des écrivains reveals the city’s history in an original way. Different from conventional walking tours the city’s history is told through stories and anecdotes from generations of writers from here and elsewhere.

Carriage Ride in Old Quebec

What could be more romantic than to visit the beautiful Old Quebec than by means of a carriage ride? Calèches de la Nouvelle-France invite you aboard their carriage or tram for a guided tour through the rich heritage of the city. Reach Place d’Armes which is facing the Chateau Frontenac, the Porte Saint-Louis or Parc de l’Esplanade which is located corner of Sainte-Anne and Auteuil Streets.

By bus

Tours du Vieux Québec offers various interesting guided tour options. The most classic is definitely its red bus traveling you through the city’s most interesting sites. The open upper deck of this double-decker bus offers an amazing view! The red line’s route which you can get on and off as you will allow you to freely explore the city at your own pace.

Take a look at the packages they offer such as a tour of the famous Ice Hotel or an excursion along the Côte-de-Beaupré where you travel the oldest road in Quebec; discovering pretty villages, the majestic Montmorency Falls and the charming St. Petronille village on Orleans Island.

Cyclo-pousse Ride

Tours Ludovica offers to bike you around Quebec City’s Lower Town by means of cyclo-pousse, a bicycle with three wheels. Their mission is to introduce visitors to less known areas of the city by way of an ecological and original guided tour. You will discover the areas cultural attractions and local products. They can carry groups of up to ten adults at a time.

By Helicopter

What better way to discover the beautiful Quebec City and its fortifications than on board a helicopter of the latest generation of Capitale Hélicoptère. Its experienced pilots will make possible stunning view of sites such as the Château Frontenac, the Plains of Abraham, the bridges, the beautiful St. Lawrence River and even the Orleans Island.

Hot Air Balloon

Embark on a unique flight lasting about an hour aboard a hot-air balloon from Québec Montgolfières. They promise the most serene experience all through this quiet and safe excursion. You will have the chance to attend the inflation of the balloon before starting your fabulous journey accompanied by a highly skilled pilot.

By Boat

Excursions Maritimes Quebec offers you to explore the city from the sea. The captain will guide you through the history of the port and the city on board a Zodiac™ boat. You will have the privilege to view the site of Quebec City’s 1759 siege. You can also admire the Champlain Parkway, Brown Cove, Beauport Bay, Montmorency Falls, Quebec City’s bridges, Orleans Island and the south shore. Take advantage of their packages and expeditions offered. Note that special clothes are provided.

Terrasse Dufferin

Terrasse Dufferin

Croisières AML also invite you on board to discover Quebec’s capital from the river. Join the Captain on a captivating hour and a half guided cruise. Their costumed guide will enlighten you on the history of the city and its surrounding. Relax on the outdoor terraces while you are taken from Old Quebec up to Côte-de-Beaupré admiring also Montmorency Falls and Orléans Island.

Ghost Visit

The costumed guides of Visites fantômes de Québec will guide you through the old streets of Quebec City holding a hand lantern lit by a candle. They will tell you all there is to know about 300 year old noteworthy stories of murders, executions, mysteries and ghosts.

Les Promenades Fantômes which are in the same vein will have you discovering the old days justice system in the form of interactive theater. You will be guided to the sites where criminals were locked up and hanged. You will also learn about the process of becoming an executioner and what happened to prostitutes, thieves and other criminals.

What to see in Quebec City

You will fall under the charm of this city’s architecture; a city with rich history. Its numerous picturesque streets and sights immerse you 400 years in the past. Quebec Tourism – the city’s official website – offers a wealth of relevant information together with great pictures. You will learn about how to get there, the modes of transportation offered in the city, its history, attractions and events as well as the weather.

Old Quebec

The discovery of Old Quebec is probably the city’s most important attraction for any new tourist. Its architecture, fortifications, cannons, carriages, buildings and stone paved streets all contribute to give it its irresistible European period charm which will be sure to delight you! You will understand why UNESCO awarded it World Heritage! Not to mention the “Joie de vivre” of its warm and welcoming habitants who will make you feel at home.

Vieux-Québec

Vieux-Québec

You cannot miss the majestic Château Frontenac during your walk on the lovely Terrasse Dufferin offering a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River, part of Quebec City’s Port and the south shore banks. Stroll around rue du Trésor only a block away to discover the paintings and work of art from local artists.

Terrasse Dufferin

Terrasse Dufferin

You will be near Place Royale which was central for 200 years. Also don’t miss the boutiques and restaurants of the picturesque Petit-Champlain district. Note that the magic of these places is multiplied tenfold by the decorations and lights during holiday season!

Take advantage of being in the only city north of Mexico City to be fortified and visit its 4.6 km of fortifications including impressive gates, cannons, arrow-loop and the citadel. Discover the exceptional views offered from the top of the walls.

You can finally get to Quebec City’s Old Port to visit the port and public areas, shops and restaurants without however forgetting to stroll around the public market offering fresh and delicious local produce.

Place Royale

Place Royale

Place Royale

One ought to visit Place Royale when exploring the city’s architectural beauty and history due to the historical importance of the site. It is on the very site of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church that the city’s founder Samuel de Champlain built his first house in 1608. It is only in 1686 however that the site took the name of Place Royale following the erection of King Louis XIV’s bust. The place buzzed with commercial activities and held the main market for over 200 years. Today its beautiful buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries features shops, restaurants and Place Royale’s interpretation center in addition to Place Royale’s museum nearby.

Citadel of Quebec City

Citadelle de Quebec – the largest British fortress in North America – is located on the promontory Cap Diamant which is the highest natural point of the city. Its star-shaped structure is integrated within the city’s fortifications. Its construction was initiated in 1820 following the Anglo-American War of 1812. Occupied by military troops since; it still houses an active military garrison. It is however open to the public so they can admire its exceptional buildings including the oldest French Canadian military building dating from 1693. You will also find the Dalhousie door which is the only authentic door in Old Quebec left untouched and the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum where can be seen tens of thousands of military artifacts from the 17th century to present days including medals, uniforms, accessories, vehicles, weapons and work of art .

Citadelle de Québec

Citadelle de Québec

Witness the military traditions of the fortress when changing guard or the daily cannon fire announcing noon.

Museum of Civilization

Musée de la Civilisation is certainly the most popular museum in Quebec City. It differs from other museums by its innovative and bold exhibitions and emphasis on the interaction with the public. These presentations are current or historical; sometimes unusual or even controversial. The visitor is immersed in its interactive workshops through new interactive technologies and multimedia projections. Among its ten exhibitions two are permanent. The first entitled At the Heart of our Story: the Peoples of Quebec explore 11 First Nation tribes in Quebec through the following themes: “who we are today”, “our roots (paleo-history and history)”, “the great turmoil (colonization)”, “decolonization (healing)” and “what we dream of for the future”. The second entitled People of Quebec, Then and Now recounts 400 years of history through evocative objects and surprising secrets of historical figures.

Musée de la civilisation

Musée de la civilisation

National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec

The Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec wants to be a living memory of local artists’ work of art. You will find a collection of over 37,000 work of art and objects dating from the seventeenth century to the present day which is the most comprehensive art collection from Quebec exhibited! This impressive collection is spread over three pavilions in the heart of the Plains of Abraham Park. You will be impressed by the neoclassical architecture of its first pavilion Gérard-Morisset. The second pavilion connects all of them through transparent glass walls and a roof covered with plants. The Charles-Baillairgé pavilion housed Quebec City’s prison for nearly a century as evidenced by the dungeons accessible to visitors. There is a sculpture garden along the museum.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Visit the Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec – the oldest Catholic Church in North America. Erected in 1647 it was then at the heart of the new colony but only in 1674 was it expanded to become a cathedral. A new expansion was completed in 1749 but it was unfortunately ravaged 10 years later by the British troops during the 1759 siege. It is located in the heart of Old Quebec and now visited by half a million people each year. One of its peculiarities is its crypt containing the tomb of Quebec’s bishops and four past governors. For people of faith its biggest attraction is however its Holy Door – an exceptional privilege authorized by the Holy See since there is only 7 in the world. The Basilica features commented or self-guided tours.

Basilique Notre-Dame

Basilique Notre-Dame

Sanctuary of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

The Sanctuaire de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is located only 20 minutes from Quebec City in an idyllic landscape and definitely worth seeing! The site has been popular for over 350 years and is today visited by a million people each year. It is dedicated to St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus, whose history and relics are featured but also the true miracles that took place in the very sanctuary. You will also have the opportunity to visit the museum of St. Anne which tells the story of her devotion. Audio guides are available to visitors. The sanctuary’s inn offers rooms and meals at very economical prices.

What to do in Quebec City

Wendake

Experience the local Aboriginal culture at the Huron village of Wendake. Start your discovery with the fascinating Huron-Wendat museum which mission is to ensure the conservation and promotion of Wendat heritage. Exhibitions are designed to teach about Wendat history, culture and art; but also that of other indigenous nations. Finish your visit by treating yourself with an object of American Indian art at the museum’s shop.

Then Visit Tsawenhohi house located in the heart of Old Wendake. It was the residence of members of the Huron-Wendat Nation who contributed to the Nation’s affirmation of historical and legitimate rights. Its didactic wealth is unique. Few places in Quebec can pride themselves with having hosted that many dignitaries and celebrities.

Take some nice fresh air and discover the powerful Kabir Kouba waterfall and its surrounding trails. Kabir Kouba’s interpretation center offers the package A day in Loretteville including a guided tour, lunch and a canoe excursion on the river.

Next to the waterfall can be found the fabulous Sagamité restaurant which mission is to promote Huron culture through a rich traditional gastronomic experience where the game is in the spotlight. They also offer typical North American dishes.

Maximize your experience by staying at the 4-star Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations which remarkable architecture is inspired by traditional longhouses. The hotel offering 55 rooms and suites overlooking the river is surrounded by thematic gardens and walking trails. This boutique-hotel also features creations from Aboriginal artisans and artists. They offer many packages whether tours, romantic, fishing, arts and culture, and many others. You are sure to find one suiting you!

Village vacances Valcartier

Village Vacances Valcartier is a huge water park featuring over 35 water rides for the whole family, two theme rivers and a wave pool. It is located just 20 minutes away from Quebec City. Don’t also miss the Valcartier Rafting offering rafting and sledding trips on the Jacques-Cartier River! They offer the option of spending the night in their 4-star modern camping which is in accordance with their slogan “A day is not enough!” In winter it transforms into the largest winter playground in North America with more than 35 slides, 17 lifts, skating trails, ice karting and more!

Quebec City’s Aquarium

Aquarium de Québec

Aquarium de Québec

Quebec City has its own aquarium on a vast land of 16 hectares where you can discover more than 10,000 marine animals. Come and meet the typical fish, amphibians, invertebrates and marine mammals including walruses and seals; but reptiles and polar bear as well! One of the popular activities of the aquarium is to attend the meal or training of bears, walruses and seals. Don’t miss the new Pavillon des profondeurs where visitors have the opportunity to see and even touch jellyfish, seahorses and rays! Bring your lunch for a picnic while the kids have fun in the water games or the safe tree top trail. Lots of fun awaits the whole family!

Skyspa

The Skyspa which is located on the 17th floor of the Jules-Dallaire building complex raises relaxation and enjoyment to a whole new level. The benefits of a spa are generated by the innate relaxation generated by alternating hot and cold. At Skyspa those magical moments happen on an elegant terrace open in winter as well as in summer. The atmosphere is relaxed and the urban setting offers stunning views over the city. Contrast the authentic Finnish sauna and eucalyptus steam bath to the freshness of cold baths and Nordic falls. Complete your experience with a massage or body care treatment. You can do so enjoying one of their packages. Replenish yourself with healthy energy at their bistro!

Beauport Bay

Baie de Beauport‘s beach is located just five minutes from downtown and popular with Quebequers. You have here the opportunity to practice many sports including those typical to beaches and water such as soccer, volleyball, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, kite surfing and windsurfing. Equipment rental and boats are found on site. Book your spot at the sailing school or for a Zodiac excursion! Bathing is unfortunately prohibited but water games on site allow people to cool off. The snack bar on site offers healthy lunches.

Festivals in Quebec City

Beer Festival

Enjoy the last warm days of summer discovering beers from Quebec and around the world at the Festibière de Québec in Quebec City’s Old Port. Around sixty exhibitors are gathered for you to taste a variety of beers in addition to local products. Exchange your affordable “Festibière” chips against 125 ml of beer. The program on site is varied as you will find culinary conferences, historical lectures about beer and breweries in Quebec, the BAR BQ and varied musical performances. A must for beer lovers! The 2014 festival edition as an example featured 11 new microbreweries, breweries and cider factories as well as 5 new restaurants. In addition Oktoberfest Bitburger recreates the famous German event with its decor, typical clothes, Wurzt sausages, big pretzels and beer of course. Do not miss tasting the new favorite beer at the Quebec Scope Lounge; it was specially brewed by Archibald microbrewery according to the gathered preferences of beer lovers.

A free designated driver service is available every day of the festival.

New France Festival

The Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France is a cherished tradition that continues year after year since 1997 but was initially set up to prepare for the anticipated Quebec City’s 400th anniversary celebration in 2008. The aim of the festival is to immerse visitors in 17th and 18th century Quebec City. The immersion is achieved through the natural period charm of Old Quebec, period clothing of visitors and performers in addition to many recreated historical sites. The organization animates more than a dozen sites with evocations and reconstructions from the past since the city’s history is the cornerstone of the event. These animations take the form of continuous entertainment including period crafts workshops, parades, period dances, shows and street performers. There are actually more than a 1,000 artistic performances taking place during the 5 days of festivities. Wear on an interesting period costume (or not it’s up to you) and join the festive atmosphere filled with magic!

Quebec City’s Summer Festival

Quebec City proudly hosts the Festival d’été de Québec (FEQ) nothing less than the biggest musical event in Canada! It spreads out over 11 days in the heart of the historic district where 1,000 artists present about 300 musical performances taking place on a dozen indoor and outdoor sites. The Bell stage is the biggest outdoor stage in Canada and located on the famous Plains of Abraham to receive up to 100,000 people. Many legends and the hottest artists walked its stage such as Metallica, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Tiësto, Iron Maiden, Sting, Charles Aznavour, The Arcade Fire, Rammstein, The Black Eyed Peas and Elton John. Only in 2014 performed Journey, The Killers, Billy Joel, Bryan Adams, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg. A variety of musical styles are featured such as rock, hip-hop, electro, jazz, French music, world music, etc. In addition you will be amazed by international caliber street artists’ performances.

A day in Quebec City

If you only have one day to visit Quebec City and it’s your first time in town, you ought to explore the picturesque Old Quebec. This historic treasure which UNESCO has included on its World Heritage list is sure to enchant you with its irresistible European charm conferred by its architecture, cannons, fortifications, carriages, buildings and paved streets. In addition its warm habitants make you feel like at home.

Start the day at the Château Frontenac with a lovely carriage ride. Let the tour guide inform you about the city’s secrets and history. Once back at the Château stroll the charming Terrasse Dufferin and enjoy its breathtaking unobstructed view of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding. Do not forget to admire again the majestic Château Frontenac from a different angle.

Terrasse Dufferin

Terrasse Dufferin

Reach Saint-Jean Street towards west via street rue du Trésor to discover the paintings and works of art from local artists. Turn left at the end of this little street and you’ll find Les Promenades du Vieux Québec which features a dozen upscale boutiques offering imported and local items.

Reach the Saint-Jean Street just ahead and stop by the popular Tutto Gelato to enjoy a few of the many flavors or just have a coffee with a delicious cookie or pastry.

Then continue on Saint-Jean Street and enjoy its warm atmosphere and boutiques. Walk until you reach the Porte Saint-Jean and admire this section of the city’s fortification. Walk across the door to the Place d’Youville and Capitole de Québec.

Descend into Lower Town toward the Old Port’s Market where you can buy local products but especially maple products and a fresh homemade lunch at reasonable prices!

Now direct yourself toward Quebec City’s Old Port until you reach Place Royale which was the city’s center for 200 years. You can visit the Place Royal Museum. Then go to the Basilique-Cathédral Notre-Dame de Québec – the oldest Catholic Church in North America – and window shop in the picturesque district of the Petit-Champlain. Note that the magic of these places is multiplied tenfold by the decorations and lights during holiday season!

We suggest having dinner at Lapin Sauté located on Quartier Street in the Petit-Champlain district where you can sit on its terrace in summer or close to the fireplace in winter.

If you stay for the evening you can visit the majestic Parliament of Quebec and Plains of Abraham. Continue with the exploration of the dynamic Grande-Allée which is near the Plains and where you can stop at the fantastic Cosmos Café for a cocktail or an amazing dessert; or one of the fine establishments of the Complexe Maurice Nightclub – one of Quebec City’s key nightlife establishments.

A Weekend in Quebec City

Day 1

If you only have a weekend to visit Quebec City and it’s your first time in town, you ought to explore the picturesque Old Quebec.

Start the day at the Château Frontenac with a lovely carriage ride. Let the tour guide inform you about the city’s secrets and history. Once back at the Château stroll the charming Terrasse Dufferin and enjoy its breathtaking unobstructed view of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding. Do not forget to admire again the majestic Château Frontenac from a different angle.

Reach Saint-Jean Street towards west via street rue du Trésor to discover the paintings and works of art from local artists. Turn left at the end of this little street and you’ll find Les Promenades du Vieux Québec which features a dozen upscale boutiques offering imported and local items.

Reach the Saint-Jean Street just ahead and stop by the popular Tutto Gelato to enjoy a few of the many flavors or just have a coffee with a delicious cookie or pastry.

Then continue on Saint-Jean Street and enjoy its warm atmosphere and boutiques. Walk until you reach the Porte Saint-Jean and admire this section of the city’s fortification. Walk across the door to the Place d’Youville and Capitole de Québec.

Descend into Lower Town toward the Old Port’s Market where you can buy local products but especially maple products and a fresh homemade lunch at reasonable prices!

Now direct yourself toward Quebec City’s Old Port until you reach Place Royale which was the city’s center for 200 years. You can visit the Place Royal Museum. Then go to the Basilique-Cathédral Notre-Dame de Québec – the oldest Catholic Church in North America – and window shop in the picturesque district of the Petit-Champlain. Note that the magic of these places is multiplied tenfold by the decorations and lights during holiday season!

We suggest having dinner at Lapin Sauté located on Quartier Street in the Petit-Champlain district where you can sit on its terrace in summer or close to the fireplace in winter.

If you stay for the evening you can visit the majestic Parliament of Quebec and Plains of Abraham. Continue with the exploration of the dynamic Grande-Allée which is near the Plains and where you can stop at the fantastic Cosmos Café for a cocktail or an amazing dessert; or one of the fine establishments of the Complexe Maurice Nightclub – one of Quebec City’s key nightlife establishments.

Day 2

For your second day in Quebec City we suggest you explore the local Aboriginal culture at the Huron village of Wendake. Start your discovery with the fascinating Huron-Wendat museum. Exhibitions are designed to inform about Wendat history, culture and art; but also that of other indigenous nations. Finish your visit by treating yourself with an object of American Indian art at the museum’s shop.

Dine in La Traite restaurant where you will discover a gastronomic local cuisine on one of the most beautiful terraces in Quebec.

Then Visit Tsawenhohi house located in the heart of Old Wendake and heritage site dear to the Nation’s member.

Take some nice fresh air and discover the powerful Kabir Kouba waterfall and its surrounding trails.

You will have ample time to enjoy your dinner at the fabulous Sagamité restaurant whose mission is to promote the Huron culture through a rich traditional gastronomic experience.

A week in Quebec City

Day 1

Your first day will consist of discovering the picturesque Old Quebec.

Start the day at the Château Frontenac with a lovely carriage ride. Let the tour guide inform you about the city’s secrets and history. Once back at the Château stroll the charming Terrasse Dufferin and enjoy its breathtaking unobstructed view of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding. Do not forget to admire again the majestic Château Frontenac from a different angle.

Reach Saint-Jean Street towards west via street rue du Trésor to discover the paintings and works of art from local artists. Turn left at the end of this little street and you’ll find Les Promenades du Vieux Québec which features a dozen upscale boutiques offering imported and local items.

Reach the Saint-Jean Street just ahead and stop by the popular Tutto Gelato to enjoy a few of the many flavors or just have a coffee with a delicious cookie or pastry.

Then continue on Saint-Jean Street and enjoy its warm atmosphere and boutiques. Walk until you reach the Porte Saint-Jean and admire this section of the city’s fortification. Walk across the door to the Place d’Youville and Capitole de Québec.

Descend into Lower Town toward the Old Port’s Market where you can buy local products but especially maple products and a fresh homemade lunch at reasonable prices!

Now direct yourself toward Quebec City’s Old Port until you reach Place Royale which was the city’s center for 200 years. You can visit the Place Royal Museum. Then go to the Basilique-Cathédral Notre-Dame de Québec – the oldest Catholic Church in North America – and window shop in the picturesque district of the Petit-Champlain. Note that the magic of these places is multiplied tenfold by the decorations and lights during holiday season!

We suggest having dinner at Lapin Sauté located on Quartier Street in the Petit-Champlain district where you can sit on its terrace in summer or close to the fireplace in winter.

Go for a stroll in the streets of Old Quebec in the direction of Saint-Jean Street toward Pub St-Alexandre where you can enjoy delicious import beers in a warm cozy atmosphere.

Day 2

You will spend the first part of your morning walking the Plains of Abraham to explore this historic site where took place the epic battle between the French and British empires in 1759. Do not miss the Odyssée multimedia exhibition at the Maison de la découverte – a virtual journey 400 years back in time to make you relive the site’s history, as well as Canada’s, from the arrival of Jacques Cartier to present days.

Then visit The Citadel of Quebec – the largest British fortress in North America – and the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum where can be seen tens of thousands of military artifacts from the 17th century to present days including medals, uniforms, accessories, vehicles, weapons and work of art. Witness the military traditions of the fortress when changing guard or the daily cannon fire announcing noon.

Walk the Grande-Allée where you’ll find Cosmos Café. Have lunch and appreciate its electrifying lounge decor and the diversity of its enticing menu.

You will then spend the afternoon at the remarkable Montmorency Falls – one of the most spectacular sites in the province. Discover its beauty on board the cable car for an enchanting view of the falls and its surroundings. Walk until the suspended bridge over the water for an amazing view. Visit the interpretation center held in the Montmorency mansion and dine at its remarkable restaurant.

Your evening will be filled with good times at La Barberie microbrewery where you can enjoy a selection of eight malts on its fabulous green terrace.

Day 3

Your third day in Quebec City will be one of great entertainment! Spend the entire day at Village vacances Valcartier.

In summer it is a huge water park with over 35 water rides for the whole family, 2 theme rivers and a wave pool. If you wish, you can also enjoy the Valcartier Rafting offering rafting and sledding trips on the Jacques-Cartier River!

In winter it transforms into the largest winter playground in North America with more than 35 slides, 17 lifts, skating trails, ice karting and more!

You can eat something faster for lunch and enjoy a traditional fondue for dinner while relaxing after the intense day. They house several restaurants.

Day 4

For your fourth day in Quebec City we suggest you to explore the local Aboriginal culture at the Huron village of Wendake. Start your discovery with the fascinating Huron-Wendat museum. Exhibitions are designed to inform about Wendat history, culture and art; but also that of other indigenous nations. Finish your visit by treating yourself with an object of American Indian art at the museum’s shop.

Dine in La Traite restaurant where you will discover a gastronomic local cuisine on one of the most beautiful terraces in Quebec.

Then Visit Tsawenhohi house located in the heart of Old Wendake and heritage site dear to the Nation’s member.

Take some nice fresh air and discover the powerful Kabir Kouba waterfall and its surrounding trails.

You will have ample time to enjoy your dinner at the fabulous Sagamité restaurant whose mission is to promote the Huron culture through a rich traditional gastronomic experience.

Day 5

Take advantage of the winter season to experience something unique – a dogsled ride. Travel only 30 minutes away from Quebec City to Jacques-Cartier Valley’s idyllic landscapes. Aventures Nord-Bec Stoneham awaits you to make this extraordinary experience a reality. Have dinner in the cozy atmosphere of their chalet.

Spend the day driving quietly around Orleans Island if its summer. You will find museums, parks, a belvedere, charming restaurants and shops selling delicious local handmade products on the way.

Day 6

If in winter enjoy the Ice Hotel package from Tours du Vieux Québec to see the majestic snow-capped vaults, crystalline ice sculptures and thematic rooms of this ephemeral hotel made of ice.

If in summer take the Québec-Lévis ferry to go to the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. You will be walking (or biking if you wish) the parcours des Anses route, a 15 km multifunctional trail from which you can admire a stunning view of Quebec City and the charming Orleans Island.

When back in Quebec City have lunch at the renowned Cochon Dingue, a fabulous French bistro of Petit-Champlain district.

Then go to Galeries de la Capitale for some shopping and entertainment as it’s the second largest indoor amusement park in North America. Find a restaurant of your liking for dinner and spend the rest of the evening at the IMAX Theater.

Day 7

Your last day in Quebec City begins with a visit of the exhibitions featured in the Civilization Museum, the most popular museum in Quebec City.

Discover a different part of the city by having lunch at JaJa La Pizz on Laurier Boulevard. It differs from other pizzerias by its unique marriage of ingredients.

Embark for an incredible journey on board a hot-air balloon from Québec Montgolfières.

Spend your last dinner in the beautiful city at the popular Patente et Machin which serves an inventive local cuisine.

If you have some time left we suggest you relax at Skyspa which elegant terrace offers an interesting view over the city. Contrast the authentic Finnish sauna and eucalyptus steam bath to the freshness of cold baths and Nordic falls. Complete your experience with a massage or body care treatment.

All prices are subject to change.

About This Guide
Article Name
Quebec City Guide
Description
Quebec City is the capital of the Province of Quebec and is known as the cradle of French civilization in North America.
Author
Prev Edmonton
Next Winnipeg

About Author

Expedia Canada

There are some who wonder and some who wander, and both are welcome here at Expedia Canada. Our travel blogs cover a range of locales, from salty nightclubs in Mexico, to sweet vegan chocolate shops in Belgium, to funky flavours in Thailand. Jump in. And find your next adventure within our pages.