There is much more to Quebec City than 17th Century architecture and friendly people. The city’s old town core is larger than that of nearby Montreal but with a population of just over a half million, it doesn’t have nearly the crowds.
If you’re still skeptical, here are ten reasons that the capital city of Quebec should be on your travel bucket list:
The city was originally colonized by the French, and the culinary culture follows suit. The lack of Paris’ acclaim and expectations allows the chefs in Quebec City to be more creative, and although French food culture is heavily present, the flare of Quebec and their proximity to water show in their dishes.
2. Access to the outdoors
Need a ski or mountain bike fix? Mont-Sainte-Anne is only twenty minutes outside of town. Biking? The city has a phenomenal thoroughfare that helps visitors see the different neighborhoods of the city. Maybe a little Via Ferrata? Head to Canyon Sainte-Anne. Not to mention the hiking and camping all within an hour’s drive of Old Quebec.
3. Locally produced food and drink
Quebec City is booming with locally grown fruit and vegetables, handmade beer and wine, and agriculture. Just across the St. Lawrence River on Ile d’Orleans visitors can catch a glimpse of the local farming community in action, but in town, the Marche de Vieux farmer’s market at the Port de Quebec is open year-round for those wishing to stay in town.
4. Old Quebec
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 17th Century buildings and streets will be preserved and renovated as necessary. Walking Old Quebec, where many residents also live and work, is the easiest way to feel like you’re in Europe without having to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The area is divided into two parts- Upper Town and Lower Town, connect by a funicular (rail tram) that transports pedestrians.
5. And the walls that surround it
Thanks to Lord Dufferin, the Ramparts of Quebec City survived a plan to tear them down in the late 1800s. In North America, they are the only fortified city walls still standing north of Mexico. There are four gates providing entrance to Old Quebec.
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6. The accommodations within it
Hotels and restaurants in Quebec have a unique flair to them- elements of North American modernism and classic European architecture and charm are both present. Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac dominates the city’s skyline, sitting just at the top of the funicular and originally built in 1893.
7. The city’s history
It is quite a history. Following the end of the French rule in 1763, Quebec City faced numerous raids- many during the French and Indian Wars. The British took control of the city in 1759 after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
8. The café culture
Similar to cities in Paris and Spain, the café culture in Quebec is thriving. Sitting on a pleasant patio over coffee or beer in the afternoons is a past time and a preferred way to socialize with friends and family.
The Parc de la Chute-Montmorency waterfall is 83 meters high, 30 meters higher than Niagara Falls. A suspension bridge, seen here at the top of the photo, was built in 1855 but the original cable broke after five days, killing three people. The current version was erected in 1992. Canyon Sainte-Anne also features an impressive waterfall.
Spa des Neiges offers the traditional Nordic spa treatment, and around the city, numerous spas and parks help guests and locals unwind after a day in one of Canada’s most culturally rich cities.