Discovering Québec City

Visiting Québec City means discovering a unique culture

L'équipe de rédaction
Photo prise par © Emmanuel Coveney

QUÉBEC — See the city differently and enter a world where old meets new in perfect harmony. Cradle of French civilization in North America, Québec is a city that will fill you with wonder. Gaze upon a steady stream of cruise ships dotting the horizon of the magnificent St. Lawrence River while people move happily along the ramparts of the fortified city, a festive energy in the air. In winter, let yourself glide across outdoor rinks or take a heart-pounding ride down the famous ice slide. This beloved capital will energize you with its arts and culture, and just 20 minutes from the city is an astounding natural playground. Come be a part of it!

A North American city with European flair, Québec City and area offers you a very special stay. Discover its culture and the legendary hospitality and lilting accent of its residents. Visiting Québec and not stopping in Québec City is like travelling to Egypt and not going to see the pyramids! Cradle of the French civilization in North America, the city, established over 400 years ago, offers an unforgettable trip back in time. To walk up and down its picturesque pedestrian streets, discovering buildings that highlight its Indigenous, French and English influences, is to immerse oneself in the rich culture of Québec.

To discover the fortifications that surround it and its citadel along the river, is to understand the strategic role the capital has played in the history of Québec. And to explore this jewel of UNESCO World Heritage, a combination of tradition and modernity, definitely is the best way to fully appreciate the culture of Québec and the pride of its people. Québec City is a place you should visit on foot to fully appreciate all of its treasures. On your way, you will enjoy its vibrant cultural scene, among others its summer festival, as well as its rich religious and built heritage, including the famous Château Frontenac, a true icon of the city. Witness to the founding of the city, the wonderful Place Royale will transport you instantly back in time. So will the Petit Champlain neighbourhood, one of the oldest shopping streets in North America.

Don’t be surprised if you come upon South Korean tourists having their picture taken: a TV series popular in South Korea was filmed in the streets of Vieux-Québec in the fall of 2017. And that will not be your only surprise: your stroll will eventually take you to the Plains of Abraham, an immense oasis of greenery in the heart of the city, the Central Park of Québec City.

The list of must sees and must dos is so long that you will want to extend your stay… or plan a return visit!

Some interesting facts regarding Québec City :

• Québec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico.

• Château Frontenac is the most photographed hotel in the world.

• The Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica Cathedral houses the only Holy Gate outside of Europe. 

• The architecture of the Parliament Building is inspired from the Louvre Palace in Paris. 

• Place Royale, first permanent French settlement in America, houses the oldest stone church in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, erected in 1688. 

The European flair of its neighbourhoods, its legendary gastronomy, its bubbling cultural scene, its impressive views on the St. Lawrence River, and the warm welcome you will receive from its residents will seduce you!

May 22 - June 8, 2018

Le Carrefour international de théâtre           
T. 418 692-3131 / 1 888 529-1996
This theatre festival will showcase about ten works chosen from among the best from the national and international repertoires. Over 50 performances, a dozen works in progress and 35 activities where festival goers can meet creators and performers. A true celebration of theatre. An entertaining show, “Où tu vas quand tu dors en marchant ?” (Where you go when you sleepwalk), will rove through the streets of Québec City.

june 21 - sep. 23, 2018

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
179 Grande Allée Ouest, Québec, QC G1R 2H1
T. 418 643-2150 / 1 866 220-2150   

Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist will focus on the artist’s figure paintings and portraits through approximately 50 to 60 paintings from both public institutions and private collections. This tour will be the first dedicated presentation of Morisot’s work to be held in the United States since 1987, the very first solo exhibition of her work to be mounted in Canada, and the first time since 1941 that a French national museum will devote a monographic show to this important painter. One of the founding members of the French Impressionists, Berthe Morisot was celebrated in her time as one of the leaders of the group, and her innovative works were coveted by dealers and collectors alike. Despite her accomplishments, today she is not as well-known as her Impressionist colleagues, such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The exhibition traces the exceptional path of a female painter who, in opposition to the norms of her time and social background, became an important member of the Parisian avant-garde from the late 1860s until her untimely death in 1895. Through her portrayal of the human figure, Morisot was able to explore the themes of modern life that came to define Impressionism, such as the intimacy of contemporary bourgeois living and leisure activities, the importance of female fashion and the toilette, and women’s domestic work, all while blurring the lines between interior and exterior, public and private, finished and unfinished.

  Photo : Heiko Wittenborn

July 24 - Aug. 6, 2018    

T. 418-529-4142 
An annual event showcasing lyrical art, the Quebec Opera Festival is back in the Old Capital from July 24 to August 6, 2018. The highlight of the Festival will no doubts be The Magic Flute by Mozart, in a staging by Robert Lepage. Magic, vocal acrobatics, enchanting music... all elements combine to seduce opera lovers. Maestro Stéphane Laforest and the Sinfonia de Lanaudière kick off the festivities with the concert "Four sopranos under the stars" in the Vieux-Séminaire courtyard. Soprano Véronique Gens will present a recital with works by Mozart, Gluck and Rameau, accompanied by the Violons du Roy. And again this year, emerging singers are given pride of place. Debussy's Pelléas and Mélisande will feature some of the most promising young artists from Québec and France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French composer's death. On a lighter note, the operetta La belle Hélène by Offenbach, in association with Jeunesses Musicales Canada, will brighten the mood of festival-goers. Also not to be missed: the return the popular Brigade lyrique, an afternoon concert featuring works by Tchaikovsky and his fellow countrymen, as well as other discoveries. 

August 1 – 5, 2018       

Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France   
It’s a unique and festive historical event showcasing 17th and 18th century America. Thanks to its historical and entertaining atmosphere, its numerous activities for gourmets and its 400 shows, reenactments and lectures, the Fêtes de la NouvelleFrance festival celebrates with both pomp and humour the historical period that gave to Québec city its major role in the history of the continent. Hundreds of artists, crafters and interpreters bring life to this rich cultural heritage. Festive, historical, gastronomical are thus the three words that summarize the idea behind this festival. 

August 2 - 23, 2018    

Les Grands Feux Loto-Québec  
Spotlight on the river! This summer, you will not want to miss the fantastic firework shows. From an excellent vantage point on the bank of the St. Lawrence River, you can watch the brilliant pyrotechnical display light up the night sky. The fireworks are launched from a firing platform in the middle of the river, in front of Château Frontenac. Six shows are scheduled for August!   

August 8 – 19, 2018      

The international comedy industry comes to Québec City every year for this great event, which draws hundreds of artists and tens of thousands of festival goers. A celebration of comedy in all its forms: stand-up, theatre, music, improv, comic strips, variety shows, multiplatform fictional series, movies and more. 

12 - 22 Sep., 2018     

Festival de cinéma de la ville de Québec  
During the Festival, the capital IS cinéma for its Québec City Film Festival (QCFF)! Classic films and new works of all kinds and for every style are presented in one of its 6 venues.  

Nov. 22 - Dec. 23, 2018    

Marché de Noël allemand 
Inspired by the numerous European Christmas Markets, the German Christmas Market taking place in Old Québec City. A charming wood cabin village will seduce and entice you with it’s many specialties and very original products that visitors will just want to put their hands on and  bring back home. Yes, this is where you’ll find some beautiful Christmas gifts ! But there are many delicacies to savour also, from sausages to luscious pastries, from hot chestnut to ginger bread and other sweets and the not to be missed hot wine, the Glühwein, an old German tradition.  

February 1 – 17, 2019     

Carnaval de Québec  
T. 418 621-5555
For more than 60 years, the biggest winter carnival in the world has been celebrating the joys and magic of winter. Experience the thrills and emotions with your family by taking part in a variety of winter activities: horse-drawn sleigh rides, dogsledding rides, children's village and much more. Come to the splendid palace in the heart of Old Québec and say "bonjour" to the king of the festival, Bonhomme Carnaval. Let yourself be carried away by the whirlwind of renowned events, such as the canoe race on the icy St. Lawrence River, the International Snow Sculpture Competition, and the magical Night Parades.    
Photo: Jean-François frenette


Maison de la découverte des plaines d'Abraham       
835, Avenue Wilfrid-Laurier, Québec, QC G1R 5H8
T. : 418-649-6157 
The ideal spot for obtaining detailed information about the park and starting your visit by bus or on foot. See a model of the park, watch an audio-visual display, visit the gift shop. Te permanent exhibition Battles 1759-1760. transports us to the world of the battles of the Plains of Abraham of 1759 and Sainte-Foy of 1760 as well as the siege of Quebec. Through the exhibition Identities, contemplate the many artefacts from the archaeological collection of the park through several themes. The Battlefields Park is both a place of history, culture and nature. The great battles of 1759-1760, the Martello Towers, the creation, occupation and evolution of one of the most prestigious urban parks in the world are at the heart of the activities of animation and interpretation.   
Observatoire de la Capitale          
1037, Rue de la Chevrotière, Québec, QC G1R 5E9
T. 418 644-9841 / 1 888 497-4322
 In addition to offering the highest and nicest panoramic views of Québec City, this observatory presents an original experience that takes you on an intuitive and imaginative journey to discover the history of Québec's capital and the sources of the Québec identity.      
68, rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec  QC, G1K 4H4
T. 418 692-2631
Théâtre Petit Champlain offers you a musical spectacle that blends music with theatre, and an unforgettable chance to meet multitalented artists.      
Domaine de l’Arc-en-ciel           
1878, Rang 5 Ouest, Joly, QC G0S 1M0
T. 418728-5522 / 1 866 928-5522 
Not far from Québec City, there is a gay camping called the Domaine de l’Arc-en-ciel. Why not have a dream weekend at the camping, you can either rent a log cabin or a caravan, there are more than a hundred camping spaces. It’s an ideal and intimate camping in the middle of a natural environment. Or treat yourself to one of the spaces located on a small and quiet island…  


Fairmont Le Château Frontenac     
1, rue des Carrières, Québec  Q G1R 4P5
T. 418-692-3861 / 1 866 540-4460
Ideally located inside the walls of Old Quebec, the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac has undergone a multimillion dollar renaissance project that will reposition it as one of the world’s leading hotels. The restoration blends the charm of the hotel’s enchanting past with modern innovations, creating an allure that is fresh & seductive, balanced with the hotel’s rich history & dynamic future. In any one of its 611 guestrooms and suites, you'll feel an elegant touch of historic Europe. Your experience at this landmark luxury hotel will guarantee you a memorable and inspiring stay in one of the most beautiful, and walkable, cities in the world. 
Hôtel Hippocampe           
31, Rue Mcmahon, Québec, QC G1R 3S5
T. 418-692-1521 / 1 888 388-1521 
 The owner, Yvon Pépin, invites you to have an unforgettable experience in this one-of-a-kind hotel. The Hippocampe offers well-equipped, air-conditioned, spacious bedrooms that will please his guests. Every bedroom is equipped with a large bed, cable TV and wireless high-speed Internet. Guests of the Hippocampe also have access to these services: free coffee every morning, a sauna, free parking, a laundry room, a wake-up service, a security deposit, XXX movies and a sex shop.     
144, Rue Saint-Pierre, Quebec, QC, G1K 8N8
T. 418-692-2777 /  1 866 417-2777 
Each of the Port-Royal's spacious suites, located in the heart of the Old Port of Quebec, are all equipped with kitchenettes or even a kitchen - fully equipped, a dining area and a bathroom with shower or bath / shower. Several also have a double sofa bed. The wireless high speed internet connection is free for all our guests. The service offer also includes breakfast served at the La Taverne Louise restaurant, parking with valet service and room service provided by the hotel's restaurant. In addition, pets are welcome. Live a royal life in the sumptuous Royale Suite, with its magnificent terrace. Let yourself be seduced by this brand new and incredible experience.    
49 Rue d'Auteuil, Québec, QC G1R 4C2
T. 418 694-1173
Enjoy the splendor and elegance of this French art deco boutique hotel. Discover the charm of this historic building, the personalized attention of the dedicated and multilingual team. Located within the walls of the old city, the location is ideal for tourists, business travelers and travelers looking for romantic getaways. As soon as the doors of the hotel are crossed, be immersed in a decor and architecture that will take you back to another era. Manoir d'Auteuil offers 27 unique rooms and historic junior suites with enchanting art deco decor. The Manoir also offers all the sweet treats that will make you feel comfortable away from home while you settle important business or enjoy the many activities in Quebec City.


La Piazzetta     
1191 av. Cartier, Québec  / 64, rue Saint-Paul, Québec
357, Saint-Joseph Est, Québec  /  707, rue Saint-Jean, Québec
This chain revolutionized pizza in Quebec in 1989 by offering thin-crust square pizza inspired by the Europeans. It uses only quality ingredients and creates exclusive taste sensations. Products are made the traditional way, with no chemical additives or preservatives.    
71, rue Saint-Paul, Quebec, QC, G1K 3V8 
T. 418-692-1991
The Simple Snack Sympathique, at 71 Saint-Paul Street, a few minutes walking distance from Toast! its older brother, SSS offers you two distinctive athmospheres. Enter through the lounge section, with its high tables and chairs and the music a beat higher. The restaurant section offers another decor and more cosy athmosphere with its working fireplace where time is of no importance to savour a great meal.     
17, rue Sault-au-Matelot, Quebec, QC, G1K 3Y7
T. 418-692-1334
In the heart of the Old Port of Quebec, housed in the charming Hotel Le Priori. There is a current and warm décor, the kichen is inspired by the flavors and fragrances from around the world. We have a large inner courtyard with garden terrace in season, heated and protected from the weather.   

Photo: Jean-François frenette


bars et clubs

Cabaret Club Le Drague 
815, rue Saint-Augustin, Québec,?Québec 
T. 418-649-7212

A bar open to all. Including : free wifi connexion, the canoy and the Cabaret section are open daily; and the ZONE 3 section open from Wednesday to Saturday. The Club section on 2 levels offers the beats of the moment to dance the night away and is opened from Thursday to Saturday.    
Club Forhom             
221 Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1N8
T. 418-522-4918
This is a men’s only bar  located on the street level of the centuries’ old building that houses Bloc 225 gay complex in Québec City. Club Forhom is managed by a team of gay volunteers for the men of Québec’s gay community. Open to members and others.    
Le Dagobert            
600 Grande Allée E, Québec, QC G1R 2K5
T. 418-522-0393 
Among Quebec City's residents it is known as the ''Dag''. The Dagobert is a bar that has constantly evolved but remained a must for all clubbers.
Le ST-Matthew’s             
889, Côte Sainte-Geneviève, Québec, QC G1R 5M2
T. 418-524-5000
Mostly crowded with men, this gay bar is opened everyday from 11 :00 am till 3 :00 am in the morning. One will find a pool table, a terrace and video lottery machines. One of the best moment to visit is on Saturday evenings when the bars transforms itself into a club with dancefloor and weekdays during happy hours.   

bath houses  

Sauna Backboys     
264, Rue de la Couronne, Québec, QC G1K 6C8
T. 418-521-6686 / 1 877 523-6686
The most recent sauna in Quebec City. 45 rooms and lockers, glory holes, rooms for leathermen, labyrinth, steam and dry saunas, whirpool. Nudist nights on Mondays et Tuesdays. Special rates for student. Open daily 24h/day.  
Sauna Bloc 225            
225, Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1N8
T. 418-523-2562 / 1 877 523-2562 
Over fifty rooms and lockers in a Victorian house. Whirpool, dry and steam saunas, boutique inside, screening room and private booths. Special rates for students. Open daily.rooms.      
Sauna Hippocampe            
31, Rue Mcmahon, Québec, QC G1R 3S2
T. 418-692-1521 / 1 888 288-1521
 The oldest such establishment in Quebec City recently face lifted. Now with a whirpool, dry and steam saunas, screening room, glory holes and dark rooms. More than 60 rooms and as many lockers. Special rates for students. Open daily, 24 hours.      
Tourisme de la Région de Québec