What are the five best things to see and do in Quebec City?

Tucked away on a historic rampart, Quebec City is historic, medieval and lofty — a place of mellowed stone buildings and weathered cannons, horse-drawn calèches, ancient trees and narrow, steeply angled streets. Separated into Upper and Lower towns, this francophone city is bursting at the seams with exciting things to see and do. Here’s our list of five not to miss:

1. March to La Citadelle. This unique, star-shaped structure is the largest British-built fortress in North America. Erected on Cap Diamant, the highest natural point of Old Quebec, this fort is really a sight to see. These days, it’s home to the Royal 22e Régimen (which just so happens to be the only Francophile infantry in Canada) and the governor general of Canada. Check out the British-inspired changing of the guard during the summer months.

2. Admire the arts. Located on the Plains of Abraham, a historic battleground-turned-public park, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec offers a crash course on Québécois art. You can ogle at an array of art, featuring everything from early religious paintings to Inuit works.

3. Discover Place-Royale. Encompassing the earliest vestiges of French civilization in North America, Place-Royale is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Once a marketplace and the city’s social center, Place-Royale was recently restored to its original, historic appearance. Embrace the distinctly European feel of its stone buildings, winding and narrow streets, street performers, restaurants and plenty of shops.

4. Explore Old Quebec. Founded in 1608, the old part of the city is now known as Upper Town (Haute-ville) as it was built high on a cliff. With 18th-century fortress-like walls and gates encircling it, Old Quebec is the only fortified city in North America. Stroll through the historic streets and the Governor’s Promenade, offering unrivaled views of La Citadelle, St. Lawrence River and the city of Levis.

5. Hop Aboard the Funicular. Dating back to 1879 in Quebec City, this unique tram transports you from Lower Town to Upper Town. The only funicular in Canada, it travels at a 45-degree angle for more than 200 feet, providing you with some of the most spectacular views of the city. Of course, it sure beats the heck out of walking.

  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best romantic restaurants in Québec City?

    Stunning architecture, breathtaking vistas, European culture — it doesn’t get much more romantic than this. And Québec City flaunts all of those qualities with the charm of a fairytale city. Considering it’s the birthplace of French Canada, it’s no wonder that there are plenty of romantic restaurants that will leave your heart begging for more. Here’s our list of the five best romantic restaurants in Québec City:

    1. Le Saint Amour. Off the bustle of the tourist beat, this family-owned-and-operated restaurant is as charming as can be. Tucked away in Old Québec, Le Saint Amour showcases its indoor garden décor in a way that is enchanting and welcoming. Indulge yourself in the fresh and local ingredients and satisfy your wine cravings with a bottle from the restaurant’s vast wine room that houses more than 12,000 bottles.

    2. Le Panache. Situated inside the Auberge St. Antoine, this charming dining room features stone walls and massive wood beams. You can’t help but feel the romance filling this 19th-century Hunt maritime warehouse. With a delightful six-course tasting menu that you can pair with the perfect glasses of wine, a meal at Le Panache will leave you starry-eyed.

    3. Restaurant Initiale. This modern French restaurant is tucked inside a former bank, located just one block from the St. Lawrence River in the Old Port district. Country products from local producers give way to seasonal menus of fresh, pure flavors. Service is crisp and professional, and the staff can aptly recommend an appropriate wine from the lengthy list.

    4. L’Astral. Each turn of this rotating rooftop restaurant takes 90 minutes, which is plenty of time to enjoy its fine cuisine and the spectacular panoramic views of Québec City. The menu features an array of contemporary, seasonally driven recipes, including roasted Cornish hen with kalamata olives and grapes, and grilled salmon with sweet corn foam.

    5. Le Continental. Deep colors and polished oak define the European atmosphere at this fine dining restaurant, located in Upper Québec. Order one of the flambé specialties for a unique tableside show. The remainder of the menu is filled with grilled steak and seafood options, and a solid list of French bottles makes up the wine list.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to do on a romantic trip to Quebec City?

    As a city rich in history and culture, Quebec City screams romance. From its European architecture to its stunning vistas, you’ll be starry-eyed the moment you lay eyes on this town. Here’s our list of the five best things to do on a romantic trip to Quebec City:

    1. Stroll through Old Quebec. The winding and narrow streets of the only fortified city in North America are as charming as can be. Add in the breathtakingly beautiful architecture and the unrivaled views of the city below, and you’ve got yourself a leisurely stroll overflowing with romance.

    2. Float above the city. Hop aboard one of the vibrantly colored hot air balloons of Quebec Montgolfières. Admiring this gorgeous city from the air is an experience you and your sweetheart will never forget. One look at the birthplace of French Canada and you’ll sweep your special someone off the ground.

    3. Picnic on the Terrasse. Staring up at the picturesque Château Frontenac lays the Terrasse Dufferin — a perfect spot for a picnic. Pack up some of your French favorites, such as a baguette to go along with the local cheese and a bottle of Québec wine. You can’t help but fall in love when you are surrounded by both natural and manmade beauty.

    4. Take a carriage ride. The epitome of romance — a horse-drawn carriage — awaits to cart you around Old Quebec. Whether it’s warm and you take an evening ride under the stars, or it’s chilly and you cuddle together under a blanket, you and your sweetie will feel like you are living out a fairytale.

    5. Hop aboard the funicular. Scoot into the 19th-century tram for a ride to Upper Town. Traveling at a 45-degree angle for more than 200 feet, this is the only funicular in Canada. And there is just something so romantic about it; perhaps it’s the stunning view of the city below.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to see and do in Quebec City?

    Tucked away on a historic rampart, Quebec City is historic, medieval and lofty — a place of mellowed stone buildings and weathered cannons, horse-drawn calèches, ancient trees and narrow, steeply angled streets. Separated into Upper and Lower towns, this francophone city is bursting at the seams with exciting things to see and do. Here’s our list of five not to miss:

    1. March to La Citadelle. This unique, star-shaped structure is the largest British-built fortress in North America. Erected on Cap Diamant, the highest natural point of Old Quebec, this fort is really a sight to see. These days, it’s home to the Royal 22e Régimen (which just so happens to be the only Francophile infantry in Canada) and the governor general of Canada. Check out the British-inspired changing of the guard during the summer months.

    2. Admire the arts. Located on the Plains of Abraham, a historic battleground-turned-public park, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec offers a crash course on Québécois art. You can ogle at an array of art, featuring everything from early religious paintings to Inuit works.

    3. Discover Place-Royale. Encompassing the earliest vestiges of French civilization in North America, Place-Royale is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Once a marketplace and the city’s social center, Place-Royale was recently restored to its original, historic appearance. Embrace the distinctly European feel of its stone buildings, winding and narrow streets, street performers, restaurants and plenty of shops.

    4. Explore Old Quebec. Founded in 1608, the old part of the city is now known as Upper Town (Haute-ville) as it was built high on a cliff. With 18th-century fortress-like walls and gates encircling it, Old Quebec is the only fortified city in North America. Stroll through the historic streets and the Governor’s Promenade, offering unrivaled views of La Citadelle, St. Lawrence River and the city of Levis.

    5. Hop Aboard the Funicular. Dating back to 1879 in Quebec City, this unique tram transports you from Lower Town to Upper Town. The only funicular in Canada, it travels at a 45-degree angle for more than 200 feet, providing you with some of the most spectacular views of the city. Of course, it sure beats the heck out of walking.
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  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What’s the best time to visit Quebec City?

    With its beautiful architecture, picturesque parks and rich history, Quebec City becomes a winter wonderland during the holiday season. December and January usually bring the city nearly 60 inches of snow, fully covering the ground and creating the perfect winter backdrop. Whether you are in town celebrating Christmas or New Year’s, Quebec City is buzzing with activities. From skiing to ice skating, this cultural hub has plenty to offer during the chilly months.

    One of the city’s biggest festivals makes the winter months even more attractive: the Winter Carnival. From the shimmering Ice Palace to the gigantic ice playground that covers the Plains of Abraham, Quebec’s Winter Carnival is absolutely amazing. You can enjoy snow baths, nighttime parades, snow slides, ice skating — pretty much anything that has to do with snow or ice. Besides the Winter Carnival, Quebec City is a great place to celebrate the winter holidays.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Quebec City?

    As the birthplace of French Canada, Quebec City attracts tons of tourists all year long. Glowing with European flair, the entire city is picturesque, which can only mean charming places to stay. Here are a couple of our favorite hotels in Quebec City:

    1. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Reigning over this historic walled city from its perch along the roaring St. Lawrence River is the majestic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Built as a classic, sprawling railway hotel at the end of the 19th century, the hotel features guestrooms decorated in a classic European style. The cavernous, wood-clad lobby is presided over by the hotel’s resident canine, though the lobby is also serviced by a friendly human staff.

    2. Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. Located east of Quebec City in the scenic Charlevoix countryside, this majestic castle-like hotel welcomes visitors with historic charm and world-class sophistication. Guestrooms and suites have a classic country appeal, but they’re stocked with modern amenities like plush bed linens and marble bathrooms. Though you are outside the city, the enchanting architecture and picturesque surroundings make it worth the extra trip.

    3. Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion. Old Quebec is considered the cradle of French culture in North America, and the centrally located Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion is a wonderful base from which to explore it. This small, sleek hotel takes full advantage of the early 20th-century building’s historic architectural features while providing updated, contemporary guest rooms with down-duvet topped beds.