Quebec, the capital of the Canadian province of the same name, has more than half a million residents. Being so close to the Arctic, it has long, cold winters and is a famous winter sports destination. But during the warmer months the city bursts into action.
Quebec City combines the “couleur locale” of Europe with the familiarity of North America. Its charming cobblestone streets with Parisian-style flair show a love for haute couture and fine cuisine.
While discovering Quebec’s highlights you’ll be zigzagging between the walled Upper Town and the Lower Town, so jump on the funicular or take the L’Escalier Casse-Cou, the “Breakneck Stairs” which is less scary than it sounds.
The Québécois will always remember their history and are fiercely proud of their French roots, just like it says in their motto. French is the official language, croissants are still on the menu and statues of French heroes dot the squares.
The heritage-listed city center even has its own mini version of the Notre Dame. The basilica stands at the site where it all began: Place Royale. Samuel de Champlain founded Quebéc here in 1608.
Step into the past and come face-to-face with some of Québec’s leading artists on your way to the oldest retail district in North America. It’s as if these sugar shacks, food stalls and horse-drawn carriages have always been there.
Find another fresco just under the Breakneck Stairs. This one depicts the history of the waterfront neighborhood Cap-Blanc. These days the Old Port is a great place to explore on a bicycle.
Drop in at the popular Musée de la Civilization and take a journey through the history of Quebéc, from the First Nations to the modern culture. Continue your time travels and stroll past the fortifications and cannons on the panoramic Dufferin Terrace.
You can’t miss Château Frontenac, which towers over the broad Saint Lawrence River. The river plays a major part in Quebéc’s story: It brought the first settlers, international trade and the soldiers who fought over the Canadian territory.
The Plains of Abraham, in Battlefields Park, is where Quebéc was captured by the British in 1759, in the lead up to the end of the French rule in Canada. Nowadays it’s a peaceful city park, where you can explore old defense towers, fly a kite, and admire modern art.
Pose in front of the Fontaine De Tourny and look up at the Parliament Building, home to Québec’s National Assembly. Step through the gates of the nearby British fortress La Citadelle to watch the traditional Changing of the Guard Ceremony in summer.
Shop in North America’s oldest grocery store to stock up on provisions and head out of the Old Town to experience some of Quebec’s family attractions: To the south, the Aquarium introduces visitors to the marine mammals that inhabit the ice-cold waters of the Arctic.
Kids can line up to get a kiss, and they may get an unexpected round of applause! To the north are the Montmorency Falls. Glide past, stand suspended in mid air, or climb up to the observation platform to witness the spectacle up close.
Afterwards, cross the river to Île d’Orléans, to watch the sun set over the mountains. Quebéc City transforms at dusk, the perfect time to explore Rue St. Paul’s delightful sidewalk restaurants.
End your night on the “Champs Élysées of Québec”: The Grande Allée. A Canadian city with a 400-year-old history and French elegance, Quebéc is truly unique. A destination to always remember: Je me Souviens!