Quebec City Tourism 101. The Basics: What every first-time visitor should know about Quebec City.
Quebec City, the only walled city in North America, is well-known by regular visitors for its cobblestoned streets. The centuries-old stone buildings, and not least for its French-Canadian culture. Quebec City tourism is accessible for everyone.
French and English too
French, of course, is the official language in the Province of Quebec, but English is spoken nearly universally by virtually all residents of greater Quebec City. Quebec (as Quebec City is known by its residents) is a pleasant and fairly easy drive from the New England states on uncongested interstate highways (about six hours from Boston and Hartford), easily accessible by train, especially from Eastern Canada, and/or by air from anywhere in North America.
Visitors will want to stay in one of Quebec City’s four distinct neighborhoods, three of which have multiple hotels, restaurants, and museums, and are walkable from each other (or are a short taxicab ride from each other on the coldest of winter days). The Walled City is right upon Cap Diamant above theLower City and the Grande Allee districts.
Lower Town / Basse Ville
The Lower City District, at the foot of the wall along the St. Lawrence River, is the oldest part of the city where centuries-old stone buildings line cobblestoned streets, and it is the home of several of Quebec’s most unique small hotels, including the Auberge St-Antoine, which is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in all of North America. The historic Quartier Petit Champlain shopping district is in the Lower City.
Upper Town / Haute Ville
The Walled City District is centrally located between the other two, and is anchored by the magnificent Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world. The remarkable Monastere des Augustines, and a number of smaller, European-style hotels like the Hotel du Vieux Quebec and dozens of retail stores and restaurants (one more charming than the next) are located within this district, which is also the home of Quebec City’s Latin Quarter.
The Grande Allée District stretches from the St-Jean and St-Louis Gates at the western edge of the wall, past the Provincial Parliament complex to the Plains of Abraham, 300 feet above the St. Lawrence River. There are a handful of modern, high-rise hotels in this neighborhood, including the Quebec Hilton and the Delta Marriott, and the Chateau Laurier and the Hotel le Concorde anchor the picturesque Grande Allée, the Champs Élysées of Quebec. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Quebec, the provincial art museum with 42,000 works, including a fine collection of Quebec Historic art, is a pleasant, ten-minute walk from the Grande Allee.
Beyond the core
The Quebec City suburbs. Many families have learned that some of the most affordable hotel options are located outside in the suburbs. Notably including the suburb of St Foy, on either side of Laurier Boulevard, about five miles west of the Chateau Frontenac. Visit Quebec’s editors consider the Best Western Hotel Aristocrate in St. Foy one of the best values in the region. The Hotel Aristocrate is about a ten-minute drive from the walled city. Atwo-minute drive to the Quebec Aquarium (and to Place Laurier, a large shopping center.) The Quality Suites Quebec, walkable to and from the Galeries de la Capitale shopping mall and indoor amusement park. IT is another affordable option for families, about 15 minutes by car from the center of Quebec City. The Galeries de la Capitale is a rainy day destination for families staying in any of the three in-town neighborhoods.
Why Visit Quebec City?
Quebec is a close, safe, friendly, comparatively small, and eminently walkable City. Even in winter you’ll enjoy how pleasant the city is. In short, an Quebec City inexpensive, palpably European destination for a European vacation without jetlag. A getaway that feels like you did get away. Immerse yourself in a small jewel within a few hours of driving or flying. Visit Quebec ; so far, yer, so near.