Overlooking the lovely Saint Lawrence River, the charming old city of Quebec is a North American enclave with the sophistication of a city in France. Not surprising, since it was once a French colony and still clings to its French culture: you'll read and hear more French here than English. It also has a romantic French flair, more than 400 years of history, lush old stone architecture and trendy boutiques, vibrant pubs, and high-end restaurants and shops, all with a convivial Continental ambience.
Whether you're staying at the fantastic Chateau Frontenac, a massive historical building turned posh hotel, or to the west in the downtown area, you should make your way to Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec), which still has its original fortress walls, to tour Basse-Ville (Lower Town) and Haute-Ville (Upper Town). The Old Quebec Funicular railway, a vertical lift, links the two neighborhoods. The best way to experience them is on walk through their intimate winding streets. Basse-Ville has its original street layout and the lanes are lined with old houses that now are home to many cafes, galleries and boutiques. The landmark Notre Dame des Victoires church and cobblestoned Place Royale square are two must-sees in Basse-Ville.
Quebec is the site of festivals year-round and the events fill the city with activities and fun things to do from winter through fall. One of the most popular is the Winter Carnival, which has attractions from a snow-sculpture competition to the winter-defying canoe race. The summer festival season starts with the Saint-Jean Baptiste Celebration, followed by the Festival d'Ete(Summer Festival) and its bonfires, fireworks, free music concerts and many other shows.
Shopping and Dinning
The narrow streets of Old Quebecprovide endless opportunities for surprising discoveries. You'll find shops selling everything from windblown glass figures to vintage wines to leather goods and crafts by local artisans. Near Basse-Ville is the Marche du Vieux-Port farmers market, where you can buy fresh produce and enjoy homemade fare c at a variety of food stalls.
For sit-down dining, there are cafes and bistros scattered all over Quebec. Most feature French specialties, of course, from crepes, curds and local cheese at informal cafes to four-course meals at the trendy restaurants strung around the Chateau Frontenac. Though generally a quiet city, Quebec also has its fair share of night revels, with a lively entertainment district focused on Rue St. Jean and Grande Allee in the old town. A stroll around will turn up numerous clubs and bars offering a wide variety of music and other performances.
126 Rue Saint-Pierre
At rue Saint-Paul
Parc des Champs-de-Bataille
2490 Avenue Royale
600, Grande-Allée Est