Quebec Travel Guide


Chateau Frontenac
This stunning medieval French structure is as much a tourist attraction as a place to stay the night. The 605 guest rooms are of varying sizes and configuration, but all are luxuriously appointed and many offer incredible views over the St Lawrence River. Every conceivable service is available, including a top-notch fitness centre, swimming pool, whirlpool and massage therapy. Located just above the Dufferin Terrace, it is easily accessible to both Old and New Quebec.

Parliament Buildings
Quebec's National Assembly—its provincial parliament—is housed within this imposing and beautiful 1886 building just outside of the city walls. The grounds are immaculately landscaped, while the interior indulges in traditional French opulence—red velvet and gold trim throughout. Illuminated at night, the buildings are open to visitors on guided tours throughout the day at no charge (however, it's best to call ahead for tours in English or French.) Depending on parliamentary activities, the Assembly Chamber and numerous council rooms are available for viewing.

Old Port
The city's old harbourside area has been doted on by developers and now fields a crop of government buildings, newish apartment complexes, retail boutiques and recreational/entertainment facilities, the most prominent of which is the outdoor concert arena called Agora. The architectural melange taking up an entire block on the western edge of the harbour district is Québec City's famed Musée de la Civilisation, most of it hammered together in traditional Québécois style in 1988 but comprising some far older buildings such as Estèbe House (dating from 1752). This museum, regarded as the exhibitionist highlight of the province, has permanent displays on the diversity of native Canadians - the traditional cultures collectively known as the First Nations - and on societal life since Europeanisation, as well as short-lived exhibits on contemporary concerns like globalisation.

Quebec Funicular
This historic railway makes the 210-foot trip from the Dufferin Terrace to the Lower Town at a 45 degree angle. In more or less continual service since 1879, the original steam engine and open cars have been updated, most recently in 1997. The thoroughly-modern funicular now runs year-round. The fare is just CAD1.25 each way, making the stairs an even less attractive option—especially going up! A gift shop at the French-Colonial style base station offers various souvenirs.

Quebec Citadel
Sometimes called the Gibraltar of America, this imposing fort is located on Cap-aux-Diamants, overlooking the St Lawrence River. Manned to this day by traditionally-dressed troops who perform the changing of the guard every summer day at 10am, the Citadel also offers a museum of Quebec's military history and the story of the Royal 22nd Regiment. Experienced tour guides lead visitors on a one-hour tour through 250 years of Quebec's tumultuous past.

St Jean Baptiste & St Roch
For a taste of Québec City outside the walls of the Old Town and away from the epicentre of the tourist quake, take a wander through the primarily residential districts of St Jean Baptiste and St Roch to the immediate west and northwest (respectively) of the ramparts. The neighbourhood of St Jean Baptiste, part of the Upper Town, is distinguished by the accordions of tiny, quaint houses along streets like Rue d'Aiguillon. The area is bordered on its southern side by a boulevard called Grande Allée, which in turn is bordered by discos, cellar-dwelling taverns and alfresco restaurants serving everything from baked goods to Tunisian cookery. Another street that's decked out in eateries, as well as upmarket shops, is the western extension of Rue St Jean. Between St Jean Baptiste and the Old Town is the seat of the provincial legislature, the Assemblée Nationale, an imposing 1886 building with a statue-encrusted facade - free tours are regularly conducted. St Roch, in the Lower Town, is a former residential stronghold of the working class that's been subjected to increasing gentrification in recent years. As a result, a walk along Rue St Joseph reveals semi-dilapidated buildings jostling for space with secondhand goods shops and some of that genre of hip cafe that renovates squalor and appropriates sweat-stained industrial surrounds for their gloating trendiness. If you're feeling artful, head for the art galleries on the open-air garret of Rue de St Vallier Est.

Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site
History, which is everywhere in Quebec, is most evident in its beautifully-preserved fortifications that date from the early 17th century. As the only remaining walled city in North America, Quebec has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors are free to walk along the nearly five kilometres of walls. The interpretation centre offers an intriguing look into the military and architectural design features.

Artillery Park National Historic Site
This site was both a French and British barracks, and was functioning as a munitions factory as recently as the early 1960s. Visitors can tour the fully-restored dining room, kitchen and drawing room, as well as the officers' mess hall and industrial buildings. The interpretive centre offers a fascinating multimedia journey through the history of the site and Quebec City itself.

Museum of French America
This beautiful museum offers many multidisciplinary insights into the history of North America's French communities. There are two permanent exhibits: The Settling of French America is a multimedia trip from France to the colonies, while The History of the Collections Seminaire de Quebec boasts an unmatched assortment of religious art and scientific instruments.

St. Lawrence
The St. Lawrence Rivers cuts through Québec, lapping at the shores of 14 of the province's 20 regions. As you get closer to the ocean, the river widens and its waters become salty. In the gulf, where you can barely see one bank from the other, the St. Lawrence is commonly called "la mer," or "the sea!" The estuary, where the water is somewhat salty, welcomes whales and other large marine mammals every summer. Between Lac Saint-Pierre (which is actually part of the St. Lawrence River) and Lake Ontario, the freshwater reach is usually calm. But don't be fooled! Near downtown Montréal, in Lachine, you'll find impressive rapids. As the seasons change, so does the river, from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Don't miss it in the winter, when it freezes over and becomes a frosty white!

Art Galleries

Galerie Linda Verge
1049, avenue des Érables (418) 525-8393

Galerie de l'École des arts visuels
255, boul. Charest, Est, (418) 656-7631

Galerie d'un jour
900, boul. Charest, Est, (418) 523-2316

Galerie Estampe Plus
49, rue Saint-Pierre, (418) 694-1303

Galerie Loup de Goutière
347, rue Saint-Paul, (418) 694-2224

Studio d'art Georgette Pihay
53, rue du Petit-Champlain, (418) 692-0297

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