The charms of this 400-year-old city are many and the fact that French is spoken here, is only the beginning.
With its charming cobblestone streets and squares, French inspired architecture and food, and historic city walls and gates, Quebec City’s old-world charm is decidedly more European that North American.
Sitting on a hilltop overlooking the St. Lawrence River, a vital waterway connecting the Atlantic to the Great Lakes, Quebec City was recognised for its strategic positon, both militarily, and commercially, as early as the late 1500s.
One of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City is the only city north of Mexico with its early fortification walls still intact. For this reason, Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage destination and much loved attraction.
With its Euro charm and allure, one could easily spend a week or more exploring this Canadian treasure. Best explored by foot, the entire district unfolds like a fascinating history book.
The arty side of Old Quebec
When inside the fortified walls of Old Quebec, follow the cobblestone streets and laneways as you explore historic churches, centuries-old buildings, museums and art galleries.
Be sure to stroll down the open-air art gallery along Rue du Trésor, a skinny laneway next to the Visitors Centre in the heart of Old Quebec. Local artists and students display their work for sale along the laneway walls, making a great place to find an authentic souvenir.
From the boardwalk alongside the Fairmont Chateau Fontenac, take the funicular down the cliff face to Rue Saint-Pierre. This lovely historic district is filled with art and sculpture galleries – an area made all the more charming with its inviting stores, cafes and centuries-old buildings.
Montmorency Falls Park
Standing 83-metres high (272 feet), Montmorency Falls is one and half times higher than Niagara Falls. Found just a short 15-minute drive from the city, the falls and surrounding nature trails provide enjoyable outdoor fun.
Walk across the cable bridge over the top of the falls, where you will find three hiking trails through the wooded forest.
For the adventurist, strap in for a 300-metre zip-line across the face of the falls for the ultimate adrenaline rush.
Petit Champlain District and Place Royale
One of the oldest and most spectacular neighbourhoods in North America, Rue du Petit Champlain is lined with antique stores, art galleries, patisseries, ice-cream stores and plenty of locations to sample Canadian maple syrup.
At Place Royale, marvel at the giant mural in the small square where Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608.
Quebec Winter Carnival
The world’s largest winter festival is hosted in Quebec City each year. Running over 17-days, the Quebec Winter Carnival festival sports include ice-canoe races, giant snow and ice sculptures, market stalls filled with winter favourites such as hot mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and in true Canadian form, dog-sled races around the cobblestone streets.
Castles and monasteries
The true essence of Quebec City is reflected in its unique properties. Enter a fairytale when you stay in the most photographed hotel in the world, The Fairmont Château Frontenac.
This spectacular castle with its turrets and distinctive green roof, embodies the architectural styles of the Renaissance.
For something different, rejuvenate the body and soul at Le Monastere des Augustines wellness sanctuary. Steeped in history, this boutique hotel in the heart of Quebec City preserves the spirit of the Augustine Sisters who resided there as far back as the 1600s.
As you drive over the only bridge to Ile d’Orleans, the trip through time is immediately felt. Like a portal to the 18th century, the island is home to centuries-old villages, farms, churches and heritage homes. Ile d’Orleans is also home to top cafes and restaurants where the best in local cuisine can be enjoyed.
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