Planning a Quebec vacation is an exciting endeavour. It’s a time to dream big, and create a bucket list filled with micro-adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Quebec is, in our not-so-humble opinion, a magical province bursting with history and culture and decadence and community.
Maybe you create a beautiful Pinterest board, plot everything in a spreadsheet or draw a flowchart, whatever your vacation planning persona may be, we are here to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Quebec.
quebec regions: using tourism offices to plan your quebec vacation
Honestly, Quebec is a mind-blowing province and we want you to have the time of your life, which is why we have put together pages like this one.
The birthplace of French North America, Quebec City is known for the Historic District of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site, comprising the neighbourhoods of Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec), Petit-Champlain, and Place-Royale.
This is where you can experience living history, cobblestone streets, and a mixture of 17th, 18th, and 19th-century buildings. You can walk streets which were once battlegrounds, or farms where French settlers toiled to feed themselves and the colony of New France.
Intermixed with Quebec City’s 400+ years of history, are gourmet restaurants, cozy Quebecois diners, museums, boutiques, and cafés. The Historic District of Old Quebec is the heart of Quebec City, the first place most people visit.
a brief history of quebec city
Quebec is a city steeped in history, one that precedes the establishment of Canada (July 1, 1867) by 259 years. While Samuel de Champlain is known as the father of Quebec, it was Jacques Cartier, a French explorer, who first explored the Saint-Lawrence River and surrounding regions in the late 16th century.
Sixty-six years after Cartier’s final expedition to the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence, Samuel de Champlain established the first settlement for New France in 1608. A colonized region spanning as far south as New Orleans, Louisiana, Champlain’s settlement (now known as Quebec City) was the heart of French North America.
With a population of fewer than thirty lumberjacks, labourers and carpenters, the colony slowly grew as Recollect missionaries, labourers, families and the Augustine and Ursuline sisters arrived from France
Establishing a fur trading post in what is now the neighbourhood of Place-Royale, trade was set up between the colonists and local Indigenous people (mostly Huron-Wendat tribes). While there were tensions between the colony and the Iroquois tribes in the area from time to time, the colony continued to grow. Spreading out to the top of Cap Diamant (where Fairmont Chateau Frontenac now stands, as well as the neighbourhood of Old Quebec, also known as Vieux-Québec) and along the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River.
The Cap was (and is) the ideal vantage point in New France: allowing Champlain and the colonists to see ships sailing through the waters of the Saint-Lawrence River – spotting their enemies in time to prepare their defences.
Read more about Samuel de Champlain: Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer
New France had its share of battles, usually with the English, over the years. While the English (known as the British after 1707) sometimes won, those victories were often short-lived and France would regain control. That is, until the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The shortest battle in Quebec’s history (it lasted for roughly 15 minutes), the aftereffect of the battle would be felt for centuries. Continue reading…
where is quebec city?
Where is Quebec City? Many travellers venture as far as Montreal, then stop. It’s a travesty as there are so many charming and beautiful places to see in the province of Quebec.
quebec city fast facts
Planning a Quebec City vacation? These Quebec City fast facts will answer your basic questions about airports, currency, and more.
getting around quebec city
Getting around Quebec City may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re arriving by plane, train, or automobile, getting around Quebec City can be fairly easy.
driving to quebec city: helpful tips & advice
Are you thinking about driving to Quebec City? This article is filled with tips and advice on road-tripping from Canada and the USA!
quebec city tours
Organized tours are one of the best ways to begin a vacation, especially in a historic city such as Quebec City. Guided tours offer added context to a city’s complex history, as well as a chance to connect with, and learn from, locals. In Quebec City, guided tours range in themes from history and culture to art, religion, and food.
Choose from a cheesy (but fun!) open-top double-decker bus tour, or walking tour, or splurge and hire a tour guide to give you a more personal experience.
best guided tours in quebec city
helpful vacation planner resources
Planning a trip to Quebec City can be quite fun, and honestly, there is a chance you’ll want to travel sooner rather than later. From our vibrant festivals to our intriguing history and culture, scrumptious food and friendly locals, it is easy to see why you’re planning a trip to Quebec City (and perhaps other areas of the province as well).
Here are some trip planning resources and recommended reads to help you plan a memorable Quebec City vacation!
Quebec City Tourism: Honestly, the Quebec City tourism website is one of the best tourism board websites in Canada. It is hella helpful and informative.
French Gluten Free Translation Card: An essential tool for celiacs who want to eat safely when they travel! Free guides here
Quebec Province Road Map: If you’re planning some Quebec road trips, this English/French map will come it handy. Sure, you can use Google, but paper maps are retro fun that all can enjoy!
Quebec: A Photographic Road Trip Through Canada’s Beautiful Province by Mathieu Dupuis: An absolutely stunning book on the province of Quebec. This is probably one of our favourite coffee table books and has inspired many explorations within the province of Quebec.
Michelin Green Guide to Montreal and Quebec City: Highlighting history and culture, the Michelin Green Guides are terrific for travellers who plan to road trip in Quebec, or planning city stops with a focus on history and culture. [2020 edition]
Fodor’s Montreal and Quebec City: Fodor’s is known for their local expert advice and offerings for all budgets. An ideal guide for just about any type of travel in Montreal, Quebec City and their surrounding areas.[2018 edition]
Lonely Planet: Montreal and Quebec City: If you’re a budget traveller, then Lonely Planet is one of the best guidebooks you can buy. That being said, this guidebook was last updated in 2015, so some things may be closed.
history & inspiration
Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer: This tome digs into the life of Samuel de Champlain, the founder of New France (now Quebec City). Read of his life in France, as well as his foray into cartography and establishing the colony of New France.
Hélène’s World: Hélène Desportes of Seventeenth-Century Quebec by Susan McNelley: There are not many books on the women of New France. Hélène Desportes was the first child (of French parents) in the colony of New France. An interesting read on her life in the colony.
Quebec Under Siege: French Eye-Witness Accounts from the Campaign of 1759: One of the few books interesting books on the 1759 siege of Quebec, from a French perspective. Learn about the siege from the viewpoint of an artillery captain, nun and more.
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