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A Québec City travel guide – colonial architecture, French Canadian cuisine and high romance

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Explore the cradle of French Canadian civilization on a Québec City vacation, visiting 17th-century cathedrals, walking atop 18th-century city walls and dining on maple syrup pie. Book a Québec City hotel and step back in time.

Get your bearings

Québec City lies sandwiched between the Laurentian Mountains to the north and the St. Lawrence River on the south. Seventeenth-century Québec was built along a riverside bluff, Cap Diamant. The Upper City, atop the bluff, is where modern visitors find Old Québec’s most prominent historical sites, including 17th- and 18th-century chapels, the Citadel and the city ramparts. Stairways and a funicular descend to the Lower Town with the Old Port and the modern ship quays, where cruises depart on city tours. West of Old Québec lies Battlefields Park, center of many Québec City festivals.

French Canadian romance

Quiet evening strolls through cobblestone streets, candlelit dinners in 18th-century restaurants and lazy breakfasts over pain chocolat – Québec City is famous as a romantic getaway. Enjoy dinner and a glass of champagne on a St. Lawrence River cruise at sunset, and see the palatial Chateau Frontenac glowing in the golden light. Return to your Québec City hotel via calèche, the sound of the horse’s hoofs and carriage wheels echoing in Old Québec alleys.

Old World French history

A walk through Old Québec reveals history at every corner. The cobblestone Place-Royale, surrounded by 17th-century merchant homes, marks the birthplace of New France, and Québec City commemorates that history in this plaza with colonial interpreters, period street musicians and the nearby Museum of Civilization. Québec City is peppered with ornate 17th- and 18th-century chapels, but the city’s most famous church is the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Québec. Head inside to admire the chapel’s ornate gilded ceiling, its vibrant stained glass and the old crypt, Québec City’s first cemetery. 

Québec wines and maple sugar treats

Feast on local specialties on a Québec City vacation, like roasted caribou, Québec meat pies and duck glazed in maple syrup, all on the menu at Aux Anciens Canadiens, located in a 17th-century street in Old Québec. Restaurants throughout town pour glasses of locally- produced sparkling wines and seyval blanc. SAQ Terroirs d’ici, at the Chateau Frontenac, specializes in Québec wines and locally-made cider, while maple candies in the shape of maple leaves are found at sweet shops throughout the city. 

Active adventures

Bicyclists and runners take their morning workouts at Battlefields Park, west of the Citadel, crisscrossed by a network of paved pathways. Montmorency Falls Park has long drawn photographers to its 83-meter-high waterfall, but outdoor enthusiasts often linger to explore the park’s trails. Back in Old Québec, winter sports lovers slide down the Glissades de la Terrasse, a 215-meter-high wooden toboggan run along the Terrasse Dufferin boardwalk.