Introducing Québec City
The crown jewel of French Canada, Québec City is one of North America’s oldest and most magnificent settlements. Its picturesque Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage site, a living museum of narrow cobblestone streets, 17th- and 18th-century houses and soaring church spires, with the splendid Château Frontenac towering above it all. There’s more than a glimmer of Old Europe in its classic bistros, sidewalk cafes and manicured squares.
You can get a taste of the city in a single day, but linger at least a weekend if you can. The city’s compact size makes it ideal for walking, and it shines brightest when you slow down.
The main focus of your visit should be the Old Town, split between the Haute Ville (Upper Town), perched above the St Lawrence River on the Cap Diamant cliffs, and the Basse Ville (Lower Town), where Samuel de Champlain established the first French foothold in 1608. The Old Town is packed with museums, mansard-roofed houses and cobblestone streets just begging to be explored.
Outside the walls, through the historic town gates of Porte St-Louis and Porte St-Jean, four additional neighborhoods are easily accessible: St-Jean Baptiste, Colline Parlementaire, Montcalm and St-Roch, each boasting wonderful restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Also noteworthy here are the vast Plains of Abraham, where the British defeated the French in 1759; nowadays enshrined as a national park, this area offers superb recreational opportunities.
Québec City goes to great lengths to entertain visitors. All summer long, musicians, acrobats and actors in period costume take to the streets, while fantastic festivals fill the air with fireworks and song. In the coldest months of January and February, Québec’s Winter Carnival is arguably the biggest and most colorful winter festival around. Fall and spring bring beautiful foliage, dramatically reduced prices and thinner crowds.
Best places to stay in Québec City
Montreal & Quebec City - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Montréal & Québec City starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on visiting Québec City.
Carnaval de Québec: a guide to Quebec City's winter festival
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet's A Year of Festivals. Location: Old Town, Québec City, Canada. Events centre on Parc de l’Esplanade. Dates: late January to mid-February (varies each year) Level of participation: 4 – warm up the Canadian winter with a host of participatory activities. 'En avant les braves.' by Ybou...
Montreal & Quebec City - Understand Montreal, Quebec City & Survival Guide (Chapter)
All the info you need on everything from history, music and the arts to public transport, money, the internet…you name it. Get hints on the gay and lesbian scene, and tips for women travellers and travellers with disabilities, as well as a...
Québec City destination guides
In Québec, an island of local food
The restaurant Les Ancêtres is housed in a regal manor dating to the 18th Century. (Courtesy of Les Ancêtres) As if its bucolic farmland, colourful church spires and rolling green hills were not enough, Quebec’s Île d’Orléans has another trick up its sleeve...
Full-Day Whale Watching Cruise from Quebec
While you’re in Quebec City, don’t miss a chance to see some of Canada’s best wildlife on a whale-watching cruise! You’ll travel to Baie-Sainte-Catherine by road and then board either a large, three-level observation boat or a small, open-air zodiac boat for an exciting escapade to look for whales, belugas, seals and other marine life.
Christmas in Quebec City: Small-Group Gourmet Food Tour
Experience the magical atmosphere of Quebec City this holiday season on a gourmet food walking tour, with all tastings included. Visit eight local shops and restaurants to sample regional favorites including cheeses and meats, chocolates, pastries, apple cider and wine.
First Time Québec City: exploring the capital on the St Lawrence River
The heart of Québec City lies within its walls. The 18th century fortifications on Cap Diamant encircle the Old Town, and it’s understandable that visitors should focus on this district...