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Quebec is an extraordinary hidden gem in North America’s back yard. With a rich history, beautiful sites, amazing food, and kind Canadians, Quebec is an excellent destination for your next travel adventure.
I have always wanted to visit Canada due to its convenient distance and unique culture, so I decided Quebec City would be the perfect place to start. Quebec is one of the oldest cities in North America, founded in 1608. It’s influenced strongly by the French, British, Irish and American cultures. My time there took me back to old European streets, where I barely understood the language but everything felt sprinkled with a little magic. I’m going to share the top places to see and to eat, and tips to making the most of your first adventure in Quebec.
MUST SEE SITES
- Only 8 miles outside of Quebec City lies gorgeous waterfalls 274 feet tall – that’s 100 feet taller than Niagara falls. Montmorency Falls, though smaller in width than Niagara, are just as breath taking and humbling. There are two options to get to the top, the first of which is to pay for a short cable car to the top. From there, you can walk across the suspension bridge and explore the parks located at the top. The second is to get your steps in for the day and climb the 400+ steps to the top. One thing I wish I would have known upon arriving to the falls is that at the top, one can zip-line across the falls. My time was unfortunately cut short so I was unable to do so, but I suggest taking advantage of the very affordable zip line – especially if you are a thrill seeker. Simply take the cable car to the top to purchase your ticket and get your equipment, and then take in the amazing view overlooking both the falls and the surrounding countryside.
- To get to the falls we took a gorgeous country side tour which you can purchase here.
- Chateau du Frontenac is the most pictured hotel in the world – I repeat the world! This is a must see. Enjoy strolling the boardwalk and see some beautiful views overlooking the Saint Laurence river as well as the Chateau. You can also go into the hotel and explore a bit or grab a bite to eat at one of their restaurants/bars.
- The Fort Saint-Jean surrounds the whole city of Old Quebec and is a beautiful place to overlook the city and watch a gorgeous sunset.
- Saint Laurence River alone is breath taking. You can walk around the river-side or choose to take a ferry across to Levis for only $4. I was lucky enough to be there in August where every Wednesday and Saturday they host a free circus and later fireworks show on the river. It was a spectacular ending to our spectacular trip!
Places to Eat
- There are countless restaurants, bistros, and pubs in Quebec, but not all of them are worth the price. To find the best restaurants and truly get a taste of the city, I suggest taking a food tour. The Old Quebec food tour took us to delicious restaurants, bakeries, and more. Our host, Florence, loved sharing the history of Quebec as we walked from restaurant to restaurant. I later went back to many of the spots we visited during the tour for full meals. The Food tour was by far one of the best parts of our visit to Quebec!
- Here’s where you can sign up for a food tour.
- The Chic Shack is a locally sourced restaurant right across from the Chateau with delicious and filling eats. Their poutine was one of my favorites that I tried in Canada, and it is a must-try when visiting the country.
- If you are a drinker like myself, you need to check out Batinse. Batinse is an adorable restaurant with beautiful and quirky interior décor. They have a well-designed cocktail menu with delicious drinks, my favorite being their Grosse Rita. It’s basically a raspberry margarita in a huge cocktail glass. It could get three or more people feeling a good type of way!
- Other places that stood out to me in the city were Pub de L’oncle Antoine, Boulay, and Be-Club Bistro.
Tips for Quebec
- When visiting Quebec, be prepared for everyone to be speaking French. Before going to Quebec, I knew it was strongly influenced by the French, but did not expect that there would be English non-speakers. However, don’t be frightened – most people do speak English quite well. I suggest brushing up on a few key phrases such as “Parlez vous anglais?” which means “Do you speak English?”.
- Uber does work within the city of Quebec and is very useful for getting around! However, it may not work if you’re further out, so make sure to figure out how you’ll be getting around, whether it be public transportation or renting a car.
- In the city, they typically accept American cash, but I still suggest converting your money to save some. Often times, vendors will want the same amount without converting the price.
- Make sure you pack some comfortable shoes because you will be doing quite a bit of uphill walking.
- My packing go-tos on the trip were: my new grey Adidas with cloadfoam, perfect for walking around the city each day; a jean jacket for the chilly nights; and my leather clutch, containing my passport, money, lip balm and more!
I hope you’ve added Quebec to your travel bucket list now. If you decide to visit, I would love to hear how your time is there, or if you have any comments or questions!