With its narrow, cobbled streets and historic 17th- and 18th-century homes and monuments, there’s no place else in Canada that feels quite like Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec). As the only existing fortified city north of Mexico, it’s full of living history, rich Quebecois culture, and European-style charm. The historic district of Old Quebec—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is a must-see when in Quebec City.
Walking tours are a great way to experience Old Quebec, as its many sights, including the Château Frontenac and Dufferin Terrace, are best explored on foot. The area can also be seen by bike and even from the air. Those interested in experiencing the old city through its food can take a food tour and sample the best of many French-Canadian eats. Most Quebec City tours include a stop at the area’s Place Royale, which is considered the cradle of French civilization in North America.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A knowledgeable local tour guide can provide context for all the history and culture you’re viewing and experiencing.
- Old Quebec’s streets are mainly cobblestone, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
How to Get There
The historic Old Quebec district is located inside Quebec City, which has its own airport but is also easily accessible as a day trip or overnight from Montreal. The nearest train and bus station is Gare du Palais. Walking tours tend to begin within the old city walls, while bus tours offer hotel pickup and drop-off.
When to Get There
Summer is the most popular time to visit Quebec City, and while the warm weather draws larger crowds, it also allows for al fresco dining and charming sidewalk cafés. The winter months are also full of activity and are quite beautiful if you don’t mind the cold—average winter temperatures are often below 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 Celsius).
Highlights of Old Quebec
The winding streets of Vieux Quebec are charming in their own right, but the old city’s many monuments and museums are not to be overlooked. Particularly picturesque are the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec, La Citadelle, and the Place Royale. Also worth a visit are the nearby Plains of Abraham, a historic park and former battlefield, and the beautiful Montmorency Falls, on the Beaupré shore. These can all be visited easily in one day and are included in most Quebec City sightseeing tours.