When to visit
- Very Favourable
What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Quebec City is the birthplace of French culture in North America. Perched on the cliffs of Cap Diamant and overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Quebec is proud to be a living museum and the only fortified city in North America.
Quebec City can be divided into 3 districts: Upper Town, Lower Town and Grande-Allée–Parliament Hill.
Quebec City is small enough that the best way to explore it is on foot.
As its name implies, Lower Town (Basse-Ville) is located at the foot of Cap Diamant, along the St. Lawrence River.
Rue du Petit-Champlain
In summer and winter alike, this small cobbled street is a hive of activity, with its many cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.
A visit to Place Royale is like a step back in time to the early days of New France. It was here that Samuel de Champlain founded the first settlement in 1608. It later became a market square.
Take the time to admire the interior and exterior of historic Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church , the oldest stone church in North America.
Musée de la civilisation
The most popular museum in Quebec City invites visitors to reflect on their values and traditions in relation to those of other cultures and civilizations. Learn all about Quebec with the following 2 permanent exhibitions:
1. People of Quebec... Then and Now: Revisit the major events that shaped Quebec's history, from the early days of the settlers to the present day.
2. This is our Story: Discover the history and culture of Quebec's Aboriginal cultures and how they view the world.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and Mondays in summer).
Québec City - Lévis Ferry
The ferry between Quebec City and Lévis provides the opportunity to take some amazing photos of the city! The ferry terminal is near Petit-Champlain, in the heart of Old Quebec. The ride lasts about 12 minutes.
The ferry runs daily all year long, with departures every 30 minutes during the day.
The iconic Château Frontenac is Quebec City's landmark and the most photographed hotel in the world. It was named after Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, who was governor of the colony of New France from 1672 to 1682 and 1689 to 1698.
Built in 1893 by the railway to ensure luxurious accommodations for train passengers, Château Frontenac has been named a National Historic Site of Canada. Step inside to admire its entry hall, the Verchères room, the Champlain dining room and the reception area. A jewel of Canadian architecture!
The Quebec Citadel and Observatoire de la Capitale offer splendid views of Château Frontenac.
Rue du Trésor
You won't want to miss taking a stroll down this colourful pedestrian alley where local artists display their artwork. Admire the works of Quebec artists, representing typical scenes of Quebec City. And why not take one home with you?
Originally constructed in 1650, the cathedral has been rebuilt twice, after being destroyed by British troops in 1759 and gutted by fire in 1922. Named a National Historic Site of Canada in 1966, it represents more than 300 years of Quebec architecture.
The lively and popular Rue Saint-Jean is one of the oldest streets in the city.
Bustling with boutiques and restaurants, this is Old Quebec's ultimate shopping destination.
Dufferin Terrace is a 430-metre long clifftop boardwalk just below Château Frontenac, with spectacular views of the St. Lawrence River, Lower Town and the surrounding area.
The Terrace has public benches, street performers, vendors and even ice slides in winter.
The Citadelle is a fortress built between 1820 and 1832. Designed in a star shape characteristic of the time, it was never used to defend the city. Today, Quebec City is the sole surviving example of a fortified city in North America.
The Citadelle is home to the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum, which displays a collection of historical military artifacts from the 17th century to the present. Don't miss the view of Quebec City from the Citadel.
Open daily May-October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and November-April from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The colourful changing of the guard takes place on the Citadelle parade grounds daily at 10 a.m. from June 24 until Labour Day (1st Monday in September).
Promenade des Gouverneurs
An extension of Dufferin Terrace, Promenade des Gouverneurs runs along the Quebec Citadelle to the Plains of Abraham (Battlefields Park). This multi-level walkway offers panoramic views of the surrounding areas.
Artillery Park is a group of historic buildings that bear witness to more than 250 years of French, British and Canadian military history. Visit the site's welcome and interpretation centre where you will discover military artifacts, the remains of a powder magazine with its protective wall, and a magnificent scale model of Quebec City built in the early 19th century.
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from late May to early October.
In summer the site offers many activities for visitors including free musket-shooting demonstrations. Daily in July and August at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Porte St-Jean gate, and at 11 a.m. at the Porte St-Louis gate.
GRANDE ALLÉE + PARLIAMENT HILL
Quebec Parliament Building
Built between 1877 and 1886, the Parliament Building is home to the Quebec National Assembly, the organism that has held the legislative power of the province since 1867.
Some rooms are open to visitors, including the entry hall, the Presidents' Gallery, the National Assembly Chamber, the Flag Room and the Legislative Council Chamber. A piece of photo ID is required. Free guided tours are offered in summer.
Open June 24 until Labour Day (1st Monday in September), Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The rest of the year, open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (closed on holidays).
Parc des Champs-de-Bataille
Created in 1908 for the 300th anniversary of Quebec City, this vast park commemorates the bloody clashes between the French and English during the British conquest from 1759 to 1760. A green oasis of plains, wooded areas and English-style gardens, Battlefields Park is to Quebec City what Central Park is to New York. With its extensive pathways and views of the St. Lawrence River, the park is an ideal setting for a stroll or a family picnic. Also known as the Plains of Abraham.
Observatoire de la Capitale (Marie-Guyart Building)
Admire Quebec City from its highest point, 221 metres up on the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart Building. Observatoire de la Capitale offers a 360° view of Quebec City and the surrounding area.
Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from early February to mid-October and Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-October to the end of January.
Located between the river and the cliffs, Montmorency Falls Park is just a few minutes from Quebec City and is accessible all year round.
Its main attraction, the spectacular Montmorency Falls, are 83 metres tall. You can discover the falls on foot or take the cable car to the top. The entire cove is illuminated after dark.
Hours: The cable car operates from mid-April until the end of May, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from the end of May until the end of June, every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from the end of June until mid-August from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., from mid-August until mid-September from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until early November, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also open in winter.
Île d'Orléans is located in the St. Lawrence River just east of Quebec City. A beautiful island that will capture your heart, it is home to some 600 historic buildings and stone houses dating back to the French Regime.
Be sure to visit Saint-Pierre Church: built in 1717, it is the oldest church on the island. The island is known for its many local delicacies and award-winning products.
Traditional Huron site
Located on the Huron-Wendat reservation, the Huron Traditional Site is a unique opportunity to discover the history, culture, cuisine, dances, ancestral traditions and lifestyle of the Huron people. The Huron-Wendat are a First Nation. Over the years, they have survived several epidemics and other tragedies. You can tour the recreated village and listen to the guide's stories and explanations. The craft shop is also worth a visit. The site has a restaurant.
Open every day from mid-May until mid-October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4 p.m.) and from mid-October until mid-May from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last visit at 3 p.m.). Closed December 24-25-26 and 31 and January 1-2.
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
LE CRAC - ALIMENTS SAINS ($)
Le Crac is a health food store offering more than 7,000 quality food items including a wide range of organic and specialty foods (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.). It also has a large selection of ready to eat dishes prepared on site, and a small dining room for the use of customers.
The dining room is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The store is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
CHEZ VICTOR ($-$$)
Chez Victor is known for its gourmet burgers, such as the brie and red pepper burger and the merguez burger with goat cheese. Victor's is also famous for its poutine, a Quebec tradition. There is even duck confit poutine!
Open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
LE COCHON DINGUE ($$)
Located in the heart of Petit-Champlain, Le Cochon Dingue is a local institution known for its bistro cuisine, attentive service and relaxed European atmosphere. House specialties include the steak and fries, pot pie and smoked ribs.
Open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
NOCTEM ARTISANS BRASSEURS ($$)
This craft brewery serves excellent beer, brewed on site, from more than 30 different recipes. The pub-style food menu focuses on the use of local products and fresh ingredients to offer you comforting and unique dishes, many of which are made from meats smoked in-house. Offers original food and beer pairing experiences.
Open Monday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
CIEL! BISTRO BAR ($$-$$$)
For the best views of Quebec City, pay a visit to Ciel! Bistro Bar. The city's only revolving restaurant offers vistas that are spectacular at any time, but especially so in the evening when the city lights come twinkling on. Take in the "show" as you sip a cocktail at the bar (ages 18 and over), or try the restaurant's creative contemporary bistro cuisine.
Open for dinner Sunday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch.
AUX ANCIENS CANADIENS ($$-$$$)
At Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant, you will enjoy a taste of traditional French-Canadian cuisine, in the warm ambiance of a magnificent historic 1675 home. Try the famous Lac-Saint-Jean tortiere and pea soup and, for dessert, one of the maple classics: maple syrup pie or maple syrup crème brûlée.
Open Monday-Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m.
LE SAINT-AMOUR ($$$-$$$$)
Renowned Chef Jean-Luc Boulay will be happy to welcome you to his fine dining establishment for a culinary experience of pure pleasure. Allying tradition and innovation, his team of culinary professionals offer refined selections honouring the best products from our local producers. An adventure to remember!
Open Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and every evening from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
CHÂTEAU FRONTENAC (LE CHAMPLAIN) ($$$$)
Le Champlain, the principal restaurant of the historic Château Frontenac Hotel, serves French and Quebec specialties featuring the highest quality local products. Its celebrated new chef, Stéphane Modat, is developing a whole new philosophy of Quebec cuisine. They don't call it the "new" Champlain for nothing!
Open every evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free valet service if you eat at one of the Château's restaurants (there is also Bistro le Sam and Le 1608 - Wine and Cheese Bar).
Quebec City Summer Festival
Dates: July 9 to 19, 2020
Created in 1968, the Festival d'Éte has become a major cultural event that attracts 1.5 million festivalgoers every year. Imagine an entire city transformed into a giant stage for eleven days, from noon until midnight... Artists from all over the world perform at a dozen venues, all within easy walking distance. With more than 1000 artists and 300 shows, this is one of Canada's biggest music festivals!
Loto-Quebec International Fireworks Competition
Dates: July 29 to August 22, 2020
The Grands Feux Loto-Québec is a pyromusical extravaganza that attracts thousands of locals and visitors alike. Every summer, spectators gather on the banks of the St. Lawrence River to enjoy the colourful creations of some of the world's best pyrotechnical experts. Note: Wednesdays and Saturdays only! Arrive early at the Old Port to get a good spot. The site opens at 6:30 p.m., entertainment begins at 9 p.m. and the fireworks at 10 p.m.
Dates: April 6 to 9, 2020
It was in Quebec City in 1608 that the whole adventure of New France began. And every summer for the past 20 years, the Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France SAQ has been celebrating the arrival of the first Europeans on American soil. The festivities include dance, parades, spectacular shows, and street entertainment - a busy program that will take you on a unique journey back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Very Favourable