Province/Territory: Quebec

Embrace the charms of 400-year old Québec City

  • 401 years old and counting
  • 04 million visitors per year
  • 4.6 kilometres of walled fortifications

Discover the place where French civilization was born in North America. Stroll atop stone ramparts and medieval gateways, disappearing inside the walls of an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Québec City is breathtaking blend of old and new. You'll find silk scarves flung over stylish shoulders by the chateau as you meander down narrow cobblestone streets echoing with the clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages. Explore the nearby Plains of Abraham, where one of the continent’s most famous battles took place 250 years ago. Join the crowds along Rue du Trésor, an open-air art gallery featuring wandering musicians. Listen to church bells chime from silver steeples as you polish up your French over a candlelit dinner at an 18th century inn. Sip a steamy café allongé on a terrace of Quartier Petit Champlain where boutiques and bistros are housed in 17th century buildings in the oldest French district in North America. Feel romantic and free.

Why you should visit
  • Ride the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec (a cable-driven lift) that connects Upper and Lower Town.
  • Behold the beauty of glorious Notre-Dame des Victoires, a historic church built in 1687.
  • Take a guided tour of the star-shaped Citadel, the largest British fortress built in North America, for a fascinating military history of Québec City and panoramic views. Catch the changing of the guard from late June to early September.
  • Take a guided city tour by horse-drawn carriage, or on foot.
  • Lose track of time in the Quebec folk art and antique shops lining rue St. Paul.
  • Explore Quartier Petit Champlain, home to some of the oldest streets in North America.
  • Nibble maple syrup pie and take home a bottle made in a neighbouring sugar shack.
  • Stroll down Saint-Jean for French fashions like a stylish wool cape and dazzling jewellery.
  • Photograph some of the city's oldest stone buildings Maison Kent, Maison Maillou and Maison Jacquet, along rue Saint-Louis.
  • See dog sled races and dance with a snowman during the extraordinary Quebec Winter Carnival.

Weather

  • Spring arrives in mid-May bringing warm days and sometimes cool nights. Summer stretches from mid-June to September when you can expect hot and humid temperatures. Fall brings warm, comfortable days and cool nights from late September to early November. Winter is snowy and chilly in Quebec from November to March.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
  • Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24) is a major holiday with fireworks, bonfires, and parades.
  • Book well in advance to find preferred accommodation during Quebec Winter Carnival season in February.
  • Full wheelchair access in many areas of the city; 18th and 19th Century historic buildings are not easily accessible.
  • Visitor information is open daily and located across from the Château Frontenac in Upper Town.
When to go
  • Spring arrives in mid-May when after a day of museums, galleries and chic shopping, you can bite into real maple syrup pie.
  • Summer kicks off June 24th (Jean-Baptiste Day) leading into the wildly popular Quebec Summer Festival in July when the entire city becomes a musical stage.
  • Fall may be Québec City's most striking season with trees a blaze in colour. Mark the new cultural season taking in an exciting new fall exhibit or concert like the spiritual and moving Quebec International of Sacred Music.
  • Rent skates, wear warm clothes, and bring a sense of whimsy when the Quebec Winter Carnival transforms snow and ice into a palace and parade in February.
Need to know
  • Québec City is highly walkable so wear comfortable walking footwear and a bottle of water.
  • Strolling among the shops, galleries and bistros of old Québec City can easily fill a day. Plan on spending at least 2 days to catch all the historic highlights.
  • English is widely spoken but why not learn a few French phrases? The locals will appreciate the effort.
  • Renting a car is not necessary unless you plan day trips outside the city.
Getting Here
  • Easily accessed by road, air, and rail, Québec City is a 3-hour drive from Montréal.
  • Québec City is serviced by the Jean-Lesage International Airport, a short 16 km away from downtown Québec City.