Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province in Canada, is surrounded by top-notch vacation destinations. There’s Ontario to the west, Newfoundland to the east and American states such as Vermont and Maine to the south. But that’s not to say that Quebec pales in comparison. In fact, Quebec City, the capital of the province, is not only a UNESCO designated world treasure, but also has over 400 years of history. One of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City is home to the only fortified city walls north of Mexico that remain to this day.
The UNESCO designated World Heritage Site is called Old Quebec, where you can see the ramparts surrounding the city and take a stroll throughout the historic neighborhoods. The Plains of Abraham have been compared to Central Park in New York City, both for providing a greenscape for city dwellers and being a main stage for cultural events. Battlefields Park is Canada’s first historic park, with countless picnic spots and over 150 plant and flower varieties on display. You’ll find plenty of photo ops at Chateau Frontenac, one of the most photographed hotels in the world, as well as Dufferin Terrace, where you’ll find spectacular views. Place Royale and Rue du Petit-Champlain will take you back in time, being one of the oldest streets in North America, or across the continent, with its French-inspired architecture. Old Port is lined with antique stores, sidewalk cafes and art galleries—perfect for whiling away the afternoon hours, as is rue Saint-Jean, with its boutiques, churches and restaurants. Parliament Hill’s main attraction is also the first national historic site in Quebec, adding to the Parliament Building’s already impressionable nature.
Take a trip to the “pantry” of Quebec City, aka Île d'Orléans, where you’ll find local wines, ice cream and maple treats. The 26-mile-long island is only 15 minutes away from Quebec City by car, and is full of snacks, scenery and so much more. The Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier is another treasure that’s just 30 minutes from the city by car. It’s a national park with a valley, river, wildlife and a myriad of activities to enjoy. Montgomery Falls is another day trip you shouldn’t miss. These falls are 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls, and you can get up close and personal with the main attraction via cable car, a suspended bridge or a footpath with viewing platforms along the way. A trip to Wendake will be full of historic sites, as it is home to Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church, a designated National Historic Site and the Onhoüa Cheteke Traditional Huron Site. Another day trip full of history is the town of Baie-Saint-Paul, which was founded over 350 years ago. In this town, you’ll find art galleries, boutiques and a scenic drive to the St. Lawrence River.
There are 6 boroughs in Quebec City, where you’ll find different types of popular accommodations. Beauport is a part of an old historic district in the westernmost part of the city. It’s near Montgomery Falls, and may be an ideal borough to find accommodations for nature enthusiasts. Charlesbourg is also for nature lovers, as nearly 60% of the area is agricultural or wooded. Think quaint B&Bs tucked away in nature or lodgings by recreational areas. Les Rivières is a tranquil borough that is recognized as a major heritage site. You’ll find modestly priced inns, hotels and plenty of other options in this neighborhood. Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge has a great coastline of about 15 kilometers, with plenty of hotels in the area. Accommodations can get a bit pricey in the La Haute-Saint-Charles borough, but there are also unique and extremely affordable places to stay. La Cité-Limoilou has the most pricey accommodations of the bunch, given that there’s so much going on in the vicinity.
There are quite a few ways to get around Quebec City. The RTC, or Réseau de transport de la capital, runs through Quebec City as well as nearby areas such as Wendake, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Ancienne-Lorette. It also connects to the ferry terminal, which you can use to get from Quebec City to Lévis. There are taxis in the city that can be hailed from the road, a taxi stand, or by phone. With over 400 kilometers of bike paths, cycling is another form of transport to consider. Some areas of the city in the Upper Town and Lower Town historic districts are easy to explore on foot. If you need to cross the St. Lawrence River, taxi boats will get you there, although reservations are necessary.
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