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Quebec Travel Tips

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The lavishly historic city of Quebec is often considered to be the oldest in Canada, and it certainly feels like a portal through time thanks to the charming cobbled streets and 17th century architecture. As the capital of the Quebec region, there's a lively cultural scene, and at night the theaters and concert halls come alive with world-class live performances. Whether you want a serene city break with museums and walking tours, or a quirkily fun family trip, there are many sides to Quebec City to explore.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

The summer months of June to September bring in the tourist crowds, and the city can be hot and humid, although there are exciting events such as the Festival d'été de Quebec which takes over the city with stages both indoors and out. From Christmas until February the city and its surrounding areas draw in winter sports enthusiasts, although the ski season can sometimes last until April, and events such as the Quebec Winter Carnival – with its gleaming ice sculptures, night parades, and ice canoe races – are an added draw.

 

Not to Miss

 

Quebec is host to many major ice hockey and other winter sports tournaments, and you'll find a busy schedule of sporting events during the winter months. The cold weather is also an excellent excuse to visit the city's Ice Hotel, which is erected around early January and remains up for a few months only, with a bar, ice slide, and chapel all carved out of ice. If you prefer to visit in warmer months, then Expo Quebec in August brings carnivals and live music to the city, and the spectacular Loto-Quebec Fireworks in the same month create memorable shows along the river.

 

Getting around

 

Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Quebec, with flights arriving from across the major cities of the USA and Canada. From here you can also take the regular airport bus into the city center, and it's easy to get around on the cheap, reliable buses which run throughout Quebec. The Gare du Palais is part of the national Via Rail service, with regular trains to Montréal which take just under 4 hours.

 

Cuisine

 

French-Canadian cuisine takes inspiration from both countries, and so Quebec has many unique and delicious dishes to try. Look out for pâté à la viande, a meat pie made with ground beef, and fèves au lard – baked beans slow cooked with pork fat. Adventurous travelers can try stews made from slow cooked pork trotters, and those with a sweet tooth will love sugar pie, aka tarte au sucre, rich with brown sugar and maple syrup. It almost goes without saying you should also dig into the local guilty pleasure of poutine – French fries slathered with gravy and cheese curds.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Canadians are a very friendly bunch, even in major cities, so don't be alarmed if strangers make small talk at the bus stop or in the coffee line. Like most Canadian cities, Quebec is very clean and safe, with families welcomed in the vast majority of places. Service isn't usually included with your bill in restaurants, so a tip of 15-20% is generally expected for waiting staff, while service providers such as taxi drivers usually get around 10% on top of your fare.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 660000

Spoken languages: French, English

Electrical: Canada runs on 120V, 60 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +1 418911