Francophone Quebec City transports you away from English-speaking Canada into a European-styled city, replete with Parisian cafes, cobblestone streets and French-inspired architecture.
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Avoid the crowded and expensive tourist traps on Rue Sainte-Catherine and explore Quebec City through the eyes of its residents, from local art museums to historic parks that once shaped the entire country’s history.
Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec
See Quebec through the eyes of the city’s local artists. Located next to College de Merici alongside bustling Rue Grande Allee, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec–in English, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec–houses more than 30,000 pieces of art, much of it regional scuptors, photographers and painters. The museum’s collection dates back to the early 1900s and is the world’s largest collection of Québécois artwork. After exploring the museum’s corridors, pick up a souvenir at the gift shop or enjoy tea service or a light meal at the on-site restaurant. Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec 1 Ave. Wolfe-Montcalm Québec, QC G1R 5H3 (418) 644-6460.
The Battlefields Park
The Battlefields Park, established in 1908 and found on the edge of Quebec City, is one of the area’s most prestigious city parks, according to the Government of Canada. It was here that Canada’s history took a permanent turn as the British and French armies fought for control of the region. Today, the park’s 267 acres house grassy fields for picnicking, as well as dozens of plaques alongside easy walking trails that explain the region’s history. Look for authentic artillery pieces and castle-like towers used to defend Quebec City in the 19th century. The Battlefields Park 835 Ave. Wilfrid-Laurier Québec, QC G1R 5H3 (418) 648-4071
Old Quebec is the area within the city’s walls, bordered by the Saint-Andre, Dalhousie and Sainte-Ursule streets, that dates back to the 1700s. The region was recognized as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), thanks to the area’s pivotal role as the capital of what was then known as New France. Today, you’ll find dozens of boutique shops and restaurants lining the cobblestone streets.
Parc Aquarium de Québec
The Parc Aquarium de Québec is Quebec City’s aquarium, a 10-minute drive from the middle of downtown. The aquarium’s 40 acres are home to more than 10,000 species of fish and marine mammals, including polar bears. Visit during the winter for the Festi Lumière, which converts the aquarium’s outdoor pathways into a holiday wonderland lit with 250,000 lights and decorated with ice sculptures, outdoor fireplaces and an adults-only bar made of ice. Parc Aquarium de Québec 1675 Ave. des Hôtels Sainte-Foy, QC G1W 4S3 (418) 659-5264.
When in Quebec…
- Don’t miss staying at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
- Tour the city at street level via the Canal Streetcar Line
- Dive into a dish of ‘oysters with foam’ at Le Saint-Amour
- Take the kids to La Citadelle de Quebec