Few North American cities can match Québec City’s rich history and its many charms. Québec has made a point of restoring and celebrating its past, resulting in a modern city rich with Old World enchantment. And fortunately for North Americans, the flight to Québec can be short (just an hour and a half from New York), leaving you with little excuse not to experience it for yourself. Here are some unique things to do and see in Quebec:
Old Québec - Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, Québec’s historic district is an absolute must. The former capital of New France, Québec has played an important role in both the province and the country, and it’s well maintained historic district is as illuminating as it is charming. Old Québec is made up of two sections, the Upper Town, perched on a cliff atop Cap Diamant and the Lower Town around the Palace Royale
Upper Town (Haute-Ville) - Québec is the only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, and the various bastions, gates and defensive measures make for a fascinating living history lesson. The Upper Town is considered the religious and administrative center of the city, home to myriad churches, convents and other historic monuments like the Dauphine Redoubt, the Citadel and Château Frontenac.
Lower Town (Basse-Ville) - At the bottom of the funicular is Old Québec’s Lower Town, the location of the city’s original settlement along the St. Lawrence. Complete with charming shops, restaurants and galleries, and mostly inaccessible by car, strolling through the Lower Town will truly make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. Lower Town particularly comes alive around Christmas, when Christmas Markets pop up throughout the district, complete with lights and carolers, imbuing the already historic surroundings with festive flair.
Place Royale - In the heart of Lower Town is Old Québec’s famous town plaza, one of the city’s most important social centers. Today the square is a picture-perfect step back in time, as the historical buildings that surround the square have been meticulously and beautifully restored. After an afternoon spent wandering the Lower Town, take a seat at a café and enjoy some people watching in one of Québec’s most charming settings.
Terrasse Dufferin - This is one of Québec City’s most popular sights and meeting places. Walking along Terrasse Dufferin, with the Château Frontenac perched behind you, you can take in the view as the mighty St. Lawrence River sprawls out in front of you. The Terrasse was built in 1879 at the request of Canada’s Governor General, Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood (more commonly known simply as Lord Dufferin). The boardwalk’s open-air pavilions and streetlamps were inspired by the French urban architecture common under Napoléon III.
The Citadelle - The Citadelle represents three centuries of North American military history and is still in use. Since 1920, it has housed the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces, known fondly as the “Van Doos,” a regiment distinguished for its bravery during World War II. There are some 25 buildings to visit including the prison, hospital, and officer’s mess hall. The citadelle has never borne the brunt of a single cannonball.
La Promenade Samuel-De Champlain - Another great thing to do in the city is to join the hundreds of Québécois who bike, walk and run through this park along the banks of the St. Lawrence. Stretching about 1.5 miles from the Cageux Wharf to the Sillery coastline, the park was a gift from the provincial government to the city in celebration of its 400th anniversary.
Musée des Beaux-Arts - Located on the famous Plains of Abraham, the site of a historic battle between the British and the French, this museum showcases more than 38,000 works dating from the 17th century to today.
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency – just about a 20-minute drive from Old Quebec, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency offers natural splendor and a bit of adventure. The park plays home to the 275-foot waterfalls that overhang the Montmorency River, which are taller than the world-wonder Niagara Falls.
Doing a fall cruise from Boston to Quebec has been on my bucket list for quite some time. After learning more about Quebec, I think I need to move it up on that list. You may want to also!!
Information obtained from Tredway, Dane. "Our Favourite Things To Do In Quebec City”. https://www.butterfield.com/blog/2018/02/08/9-things-to-do-in-quebec-city/
Accessed January 29, 2019.