Photograph by Karenfoleyphotography, Getty Images

 

Read Caption

Tourists mingle outside hotels and cafes in old town Québec City.

Photograph by Karenfoleyphotography, Getty Images

 

Everything to Know About Québec City

The capital of the province of Québec is proud of its French-Canadian cultural and historical heritage.

Good luck sitting in a café in this town without the person at the next table striking up a conversation. Québec City is quaint and friendly, warm and chatty. French is the common language here but many will also speak English happily, especially in tourist areas.

When to Go

The period between June and the end of October is the perfect time to visit Québec City. The winter is stunning too, but not for the faint at heart. It can get extremely cold in January and February, but it's nothing a good jacket and boots can't take care of.

Celebrate

For 11 days at the beginning of July, the city pulses to the rhythm of the Festival d'été de Québec, a huge outdoor music festival featuring international stars and French-speaking artists in breathtaking locations. As a warm-up, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (Québec's national holiday) festivities on the Plains of Abraham is as Québecois an event as you will find.

What to Eat

Of course, you cannot leave the city without having a poutine (fries and cheese curds covered by gravy), the French-Canadian snack par excellence. Fast-food chain Ashton makes some of the best in the province. If you want to eat it like a Québécois, have one at 3 a.m. after a night out. The rest of the time, though, explore Québec's culinary delights, including pouding chômeur, cake made with maple syrup. For traditional cuisine, hit le Buffet de l'Antiquaire, serving home-style meals from morning 'til night.

Souvenir to Take Home

Marché du Vieux-Port is the perfect place to choose a nice eatable or drinkable souvenir to bring home, may it be a bottle of black currant liquor made in the region or a block of maple sugar you can slide into your carry-on. Local producers will happily give you a taste of their offerings. Traditional art, from both Northern Québec and native communities around the province, can also be found in Old Town.

Sustainable Travel Tip

Unlike Montréal, Québec City doesn't have an underground metro but compensates with a Metrobus that will take you to just about all the most important locations in town in no time. So why would you take your car?

Instagram-Worthy View

For the best view of the city, climb onto the fortifications at the Terrasse Saint-Denis. From this angle, not only do you see the Château Frontenac but also the old town and the St. Lawrence river. It's an amazing place to take a photo-and a deep breath.