New France Festival in Quebec City

17th-Century Fun at The New France Festival

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Pamela MacNaughtan

The New France Festival (Fêtes de la Nouvelle France) is one of my favourite times of year in Old Quebec. It’s a time to immerse oneself in 17th and 18th-century North America.

Cobblestone streets, historic fieldstone buildings with different coloured pitched roofs, and locals wandering through Old Quebec in period costumes add to the ambiance of the festival.

What is the New France Festival?

Dressing up for Fêtes de la Nouvelle France

Celebrating its 27th year in 2024, the New France Festival (Fêtes de la Nouvelle France) showcases everyday life in the 17th and 18th-century, when soldiers stood guard and merchants sold their wares in Place-Royale and along the fortification walls in Old Quebec’s Upper Town.

It’s a fun way to immerse yourself in the history of Quebec, experiencing the early days of the colony of New France – before the battle that changed everything. A great summer festival.

Where does the New France Festival take place?

For many years, the festival took place in Place-Royale, where the first settlement of New France (Nouvelle France) was established by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. It’s here, where you’ll find Notre-Dame des victoires standing in the spot where Champlain’s habitation and trading post once stood.

After the pandemic, however, the festival moved to Parc de l’Esplanade, beside the Saint-Louis gate. The park is transformed into a market area, complete with artisans and food vendors. There is also a bar and live music performances.

The Program

In 2024, the New France Festival takes place from the 1st to the 4th of August. The main events and attractions for the festival will be at Parc de l’Esplanade.

The program includes live musical performances, artisan demonstrations, and parades. There are delicious food vendors, too. While most of the organized activities are in Upper Town, hanging out in Place-Royale is a must. It is, after all, where the colony of New France started.

The full program for 2024 will be released on June 11th, so check back for more detailed information after that date!

Do I need to dress up?

Mingling with costumed locals at the New France Festival

No, but if you want to dress up it’s a lot of fun. That being said, August can be HOT so keep that in mind while planning an outfit. Dress as everyday people, the bourgeois or nobles – the higher the class, the more layers of clothing!

Everyday folks – Attire consists of white quilted bonnets and a wool skirt worn over an underskirt for women. For the men, it’s white cotton shirts, wool pants and a tricorn hat.

Bourgeois – Tight-fitting dresses with narrow sleeves, a stomacher, a fan and gloves are the fashion for women. While men adorn a thin white linen shirt, jabot collar, jerkin, and a tricorn hat – complete with feathers!

Nobles – The clothing is similar to the bourgeois, with flourishes added to set them apart. Brocade jackets, fringes, and wigs. Silk is the fabric of choice, and there are a lot of gold and silver embellishments.

If you’re interested in renting a costume for the New France Festival, contact Boutique Kat-Lyn in Quebec City.

Spend a night (or more!) in Quebec City!

If you’re planning to go to the New France Festival, NOW is a good time to book a hotel room, airbnb or short-term apartment rental. Summer is a busy time in Quebec City and accommodations fill up quickly.