If you live in North America, you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to get a taste of France. Quebec City, located in southeastern Canada, is a city with a history and culture highly influenced by the French. LeafCanoer, daijie, recently shared her Quebec City highlights in her leaf entitled, “Spending New Year in Quebec City.” It’s full of great tips on how to enjoy this French-Canadian provincial capital in the winter months.
One of the oldest settlements in North America, Quebec City, was originally colonized by the French, who ruled the city and its surrounding areas since the 1500’s. It fell under British rule in the late 1700’s, but managed to retain some of its French flavor. Since then, Quebec City has served as the provincial capital of Quebec, the main French-speaking province of Canada. For any visitor to Quebec City, exploring the city is a great way to understand the immense influence the French had on Quebecois culture, and also experience the way the people of the area have reshaped that influence into something distinctly Canadian. For those planning a visit, here are some Quebec City highlights.
Explore the Old Town
The historical part of Quebec City, known as Old Quebec, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and boasts itself as being the only walled city north of Mexico. With its cobblestone lined streets and old brick buildings, Old Quebec exudes European charm. The whole area is walkable and takes about thirty minutes to walk from one end to the other. From the Old Port, you can take in spectacular views of the Saint Lawrence River, as well as visit shops and restaurants along the riverside promenade. In the Petit Champlain district, you can visit the Place Royale, the site of the first settlement of Quebec. Or if you’re looking for a more low key activity, you can spend the day relaxing on the Plains of Abraham, known to many as Quebec City’s version of Central Park.
Live in style at Le Chateau Frontenac
For another taste of Quebec’s French-inspired history, visit Le Chateau Frontenac, one of the most photographed hotels in the world. The hotel was built in the late 1800’s as a way for the Canadian Pacific Railway company to promote luxury tourism. Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River and Dufferin Terrace, Le Chateau Frontenac is still a popular hotel, with a capacity of over 600 rooms covering 18 floors. Guests to the hotel are treated to the style of Old Europe, with the conveniences and comforts of modern amenities. The hotel even has an indoor pool and fitness spa, which is complimentary to all guests.
Celebrate winter at the Quebec Winter Carnival
This time of year is the perfect time to visit Quebec City. From the end of January until the middle of February, the city participates in the Carnaval du Quebec, also known as the Quebec Winter Carnival. The carnival first began in 1894 as a way for the inhabitants of the city to get through the hardships of winter. Since then, the carnival has evolved into a large city-wide celebration, drawing thousands of tourists each year. This year’s carnival features over 200 activities, including a night parade, snow sculptures, music, dog sledding, and canoe racing. There are also horse-drawn carriage rides, known in Quebec City as carioles, that visitors can take around the Plains of Abraham.
Quebec City is a great starting off point for exploring the rest of French Canada. With its beautiful streets, picturesque skyline, and old European charm, Quebec City has much to offer for visitors to the city.
For more ideas about what to do in Quebec City, check out more of daijie’s leaf, or you can download the LeafCanoe app to share your own Quebec City highlights.