Québec is a predominantly French-speaking province in eastern Canada and the only one to use French as it’s official language. Most people use French as their first language and English (with an accent) as their second, and most signs are in French before English. Walking through the oldest parts of the cities feels like you could actually be somewhere in Europe.
This is the largest city in Québec and is named after Mount Royal, the hill at the heart of the city, which you can climb for some pretty good views. It’s an easy 6km walk that takes around 45 minutes to reach the summit with a few lookouts on the way.
You’ll want to spend most of your time exploring Old Montréal, one of the oldest urban areas of North America. Explore the old buildings and cobbled streets while eating real smoked-meat poutine, watching street performers, getting a caricature drawn, pigging out on Beaver Tails from Queue De Castor or riding a romantic horse drawn carriage along the old port.
The highlight for me was the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica, a dramatic Gothic Revival church that has a colourful and luxurious interior. There is a $5 admission fee but it’s well worth it.
Québec City is the capital of the province of Québec and is one of the oldest cities in North America. Old Québec is a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site and is full of history. The fortified city walls which still stand are the only ones north of Mexico, and The Citadelle is both an active military base and a National Historic Site.
The Québec City skyline is dominated by the dramatic Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world. From here it’s a short walk to the cobbled streets of Rue Saint-Jean and Rue Saint-Louis, lined with shops, cafes and restaurants that make you feel like you really could be in France.
12km from the heart of Old Québec City is the impressive Montmorency Falls. You can walk across the suspension bridge that crosses the falls right above the crest, and watch the water crash down to the river 84 meters below. There is also a few different trails and staircases that give you a different point of view.
It was fun to explore such a different part of Canada and pretend to be French for a while, especially with a local so I didn’t feel like a complete tourist, but nothing feels like home more than Whistler.
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