Even though Québec City is the capital of Québec, it has a small-town charm that makes you feel as if you’re in Europe rather than Canada. It’s such a cute place!
It’s no surprise that the old town (Vieux-Québec) is the prettiest place to be, and a cliff divides Vieux-Québec into two parts: the upper town and the lower town.
Since our hotel was in the upper town (we stayed at Auberge Place d’Armes and the location was perfect!), we started there, wandering past the city’s most famous sites.
I loved the open-air art gallery on Rue du Trésor, which exhibits the work of 36 different artists.
And the Terrasse Dufferin is a cute boardwalk with gorgeous views of the St-Lawrence River.
Right along the boardwalk is the Château Frontenac, which is known as the most photographed hotel in the world. My dad didn’t want it to lose that title on our watch, and throughout the trip would jokingly say, “Quick, Ashley, take another picture!”
Right outside there’s a unique piece of art that doesn’t feel old fashioned at all: Salvador Dali’s L’Éléphant Spatial.
The Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec connects the upper town with the lower town (although there are also paths between the two if you’re trying to get your steps in)!
The lower town is my favorite, since it’s the prettiest and most quaint part of Québec City. And the Quartier du Petit-Champlain is its most picturesque neighborhood.
As pretty as it is during the day, I loved Québec City most at twilight, when the lights reflect off the buildings and everything turns a gorgeous shade of blue.
If you’re planning a trip I recommend only going for a couple of days, since it’s easy to exhaust all of the things there are to do.
And while you’re there, you definitely want to try poutine! It’s a Quebecois dish that’s popular across Canada, and is made with french fries, cheese curds and gravy. It sounded disgusting when I first heard about it, but I’m glad I gave it a shot because it actually is quite delicious!
You should also follow the boardwalk up to La Citadelle, which is the largest British fortress in North America (and, fun fact, the largest fort in North America to have never seen a battle)! From there you’ll have gorgeous views of the St-Lawrence River.
And you can even visit the fort!
If you time it right (we were lucky!) you can watch the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place at 10am every day in the summer.
Of course there was a goat… Oh Canada…
While you’re walking around the upper town you should also walk along Les Fortifications, which are the walls surrounding Vieux-Québec.
From there you have a vantage point over all of the upper town, and it’s fun looking down on the narrow streets.
But if you want to get even higher, then the Observatoire de la Capitale offers 360 degree views of all of Québec City.
Or, you can view the city from the water, which I highly recommend.
You really have two options to do so. First, you can take the Québec-Lévis Ferry, which crosses the St-Lawrence river to Lévis, the town opposite. There isn’t really anything to do in Lévis, so you’d just be going there and back, but for a few dollars this is a great way to have a nice vantage point of Québec City.
We did the ferry, but then when we docked back in Québec City we saw this boat and wanted to try it too!
We boarded the AML Croisières‘ Louis Jolliet boat for an hour and a half of sightseeing.
I definitely recommend this trip over the ferry, since we still had great views of Québec City, but this way the explorer Louis Jolliet (or at least someone dressed like Louis Jolliet!) also shared the history of the city and the river.
We also got to see more of the St-Lawrence River.
As well as the Montmorency Falls which, although not as wide, are actually taller than Niagara Falls!
I had such a wonderful few days in Québec City. Thank you mom and dad for the thoughtful 30th birthday present!
Be sure to check out my favorite Québec City restaurants here, since you know a trip isn’t complete without fabulous meals!