Quebec City
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Quebec City

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

Along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, the fortified town of Quebec, also known as 'Petite France', truly is the heart and soul of French Canada. Its architecture, population and spirit seem to have come straight across from the Atlantic. The surrounding regions, with Chaudière-Appalaches to the south and the region of Quebec to the north, attract people in search of great open spaces, where numerous activities can be practised; from fishing, kayaking or hiking on thousand-mile-long paths in the summer, to cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding and dog sledding in the winter.

To see

In Quebec City, visit the historical district of Old Quebec with its charming little lanes, like that of Petit Champlain street, from which the city gets its reputation, Château Frontenac, the basilica and the cathedral, the Old Harbour, Place d'Armes, a charming square in the heart of the city and its fortifications.
In the surrounding areas, Montmorency Falls, 4 mi east of Quebec City, Charlevoix coast which crosses numerous villages with multiple architectural, historical and natural riches.

To do

Visit Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world and a real symbol of the city. Guided tours are organised, during which people in period dress tell you abou the history of the site.
Between Château Frontenac and Saint Lawrence River lies a very amusing sledging slope. A little further away, don't miss out on taking the cable car which links up the Lower town to the Upper town. In the summertime, hire a bike and cycle along the cycling path which runs from Quebec City centre to Montmorency via the Old Harbour.
In the surrounding areas of Quebec City, many activities are available: from fishing, hiking and swimming in the lakes in the summer to cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding, dog sledding and ice fishing in the winter.

pros

  • +  The Old Quebec district
  • +  Crossing the St. Lawrence River by boat
  • +  The Chateau Frontenac towering above the city
  • +  The skating rink, tobogganing and other activities in the city centre in winter

cons

  • -  Little to do in the evening

To think about

Pack very warm clothing in the winter and very light clothing in the summer... This is no revelation but when it is cold in Quebec, temperatures can drop to 40°C below zero, even 50°C below zero, whereas in the summer, it is very hot (35°C).

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To avoid

Making fun of the Québécois accent. Everyone knows that a Frenchman must never say to a Québécois that his French is anglicised...he will only turn around and accuse the Frenchman from France of being just as bad, with words like 'week-end' being part of the French vocabulary. Anyway, everything is a question of point of view and objectivity.

To try

Start with the number one produce of Quebec: maple syrup which you will find in all dishes, from salads to desserts, and even meat dishes. In the winter, maple taffy lollipops can be found by the ice-rink set up in front of the theatre. Cranberries and blueberries can also be found everywhere, usually served with terrine or game: very succulent!
In the restaurants, try Quebec specialities such as game (prepared in many different ways) and all the different kinds of terrine, plus, of course, trout. Every meal includes a bowl of soup, with very varied and original flavours. Finally, don't forget that there is also good cheese in Quebec, it may not be your French camambert, but restaurants often offer a plate of Quebec cheese, so try it, it's very good!

To bring back

In the shops of Petit Champlain street, numerous souvenirs are available: from fur hats to maple syrup, and all sorts of gadgets. It is much better, however, to buy maple syrup from one of the region's numerous sugar huts.
In the region of Chaudière-Appalaches, the village of Saint-Port-Joli is a major handicraft centre.