Québec City

Strolling along Rue St-Jean is a great way to feel the pulse of this bohemian district. The first thing that strikes you, once you've recovered from crossing busy Ave Honoré Mercier, is the area's down-to-earth ambience. Good restaurants, interesting shops and hip cafes and bars, many catering to a gay clientele, line the thoroughfare as far as Ave Turnbull. Take any side street and walk downhill (north) to the narrow residential streets like Rue d'Aiguillon, Rue Richelieu and Rue St-Olivier.

On these narrow streets, the miniature, scrunched-together wooden houses, some with lovely entrances, are typical of Québec City's residential landscape. The fanciful protruding oriel windows are distinctive too.

To the southwest of Rue St-Jean, the colorful strip of storefronts along Ave Cartier in the Montcalm neighborhood has exploded in recent years with mostly chichi eateries, cafes and boutiques. It's most buzzing on hot days when the dozen or so terraces open up for business. The epicenter of this little restaurant district is located at the intersection of Ave Cartier and Blvd René-Lévesque Ouest.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Québec City attractions

2. Obsérvatoire de la Capitale


Head 221m up to the 31st floor of the Édifice Marie-Guyart for great views of Old Québec, the St Lawrence River and (if it’s clear) even the distant…

3. Église St-Jean-Baptiste

0.21 MILES

This colossus, named after the patron saint of French Canada, completely dominates the southwest end of Rue St-Jean. The first church was built in 1842…

4. Hôtel du Parlement

0.24 MILES

Home to Québec's Provincial Legislature, the gargantuan Parliament building is a Second Empire structure completed in 1886. Free 30-minute tours, offered…

5. Porte St-Jean

0.27 MILES

Northernmost of the Old City's three main town gates, 'St John's Gate' was originally built in 1693 but replaced with this one in 1940.

6. Porte Kent

0.27 MILES

The last (1879) of the three main city gates to be built. 'Kent Gate' lies between Porte St-Jean and Porte St-Louis.

7. Artillery Park

0.28 MILES

Part of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site and open in summer, this park along the Old Upper Town walls was chosen as the site for 18th…