Stop for a second: summer isn’t over yet.
You still have at least six weeks of prime summertime road trip weather.
Meaning, you should probably consider a weekend away with your significant other or the lads or the ladies (or all of the above).
Need a suggestion? Two words: Québec City.
Here you’ll discover sights and adventures that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the country – whether you stumble upon them or make a point to check them out.
Here are just a few of them…
Sure, you’ll find French-speaking Canadians and French culture in other parts of the country. But nowhere is Canada’s unique French history as prevalent as in Québec City. Dubbed the “cradle of French civilization in North America,” Québec was founded by French explorer Samuel de Champlain and is one of the earliest European settlements on the continent.
With its rich history, Old Québec is the closest thing you’ll get to that European vacation without actually leaving the country. Designated a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO, Old Québec is basically a real-world history lesson; it’s jam packed with culture, architecture and art. You’ll find no shortage of horse-drawn carriages, European-style cafes, and winding cobblestone streets.
Even if you’ve never been to Québec City (what are you waiting for?) you’ve probably heard of the iconic Château Frontenac – one of the most famous hotels in the country. If you’re craving a castle getaway, Château Frontenac may be the closest you’ll come. Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, newly refurbished hotel is centrally located in Old Québec and boasts perks like stunning views, a wine-and-cheese bar, and a luxurious spa.
Old Québec is the only fortified city north of Mexico. The fortifications that surround Québec City are close to 4.6 kilometres long and span three centuries of Québec City history. Guided tours are offered along the walls, offering prime views of the cityscape.
Montmorency Fall Park
You can also take in some nature during your Québec City trip at Montmorency Fall Park – and you don’t have to travel too far to get there. Located just a few minutes from downtown, here you’ll find breathtaking waterfalls that are higher than Niagara Falls, footpaths, lookout points, and cable cars for optimal views of the surrounding wilderness. For thrill-seekers, be sure to opt for a session on the Via ferrate or Tyrolienne to get from point A to point B.
Local Producers on Ile d’Orleans
If you call yourself a foodie and have a soft spot for all things local, you need to check out the offerings from local producers on Ile d’Orleans. You’ll find a wonderland of agricultural offerings year-round on the island, which is accessible via a bridge. You’ll also find vineyards, sprawling strawberry fields, and a renowned chocolate store – perfect for treating yourself. Another must-stop is the Cassis Monna et Filles, a century-old farmhouse complete with world-class homemade wine and spirits, restaurant, and gourmet shop.
The Small Cafés and Terraces in the Petit-Champlain and Place Royale Districts
For a breezy, European dining experience, indulge in a meal at one of the dozens of cafes, restaurants, and terraces found in the Petit-Champlain and Place Royale districts. Also known for their unique boutiques on pedestrian-only streets, a visit to these neighbourhoods will leave you full of culinary goodness, and hands full of shopping bags.
The Plains of Abraham
If you’re a history buff and park-lover, you have to visit the Plains of Abraham. They are the scene of the1759 battle between generals Wolfe and Montcalm, today one of the world’s largest and most pristine urban parks. Perfect for picnicking (and pretty much anything else), you may want to stop here after stocking up on your culinary findings on Ile d’Orleans.
There is much more to offer within the borders of Québec City, of course, including a distinctly romantic vibe and a bustling nightlife to complement all the historic sightseeing.
Photo via Crystal Cruises