Travelers who love fine dining, eclectic shopping, and interesting historical attractions all wrapped up in a picturesque European setting must visit Old Québec City. Named a heritage district by UNESCO in 1985, it is the only city in North America still surrounded by protective walls. Here are some must-see things to do in Old Québec City, which showcase the city’s vibrant past and the colourful French culture.
Delightful Things To Do In Old Québec City
1. Shop in the Quartier Petit Champlain
Named after Samuel de Champlain who founded Quebec City in 1608, this bustling pedestrian-only neighborhood is the oldest shopping district in North America. Everything from designer clothing to kitchenware can be found in the little shops nestled behind stone facades. When it’s time for a break, stop at a sidewalk cafe for some local cheese and a glass of red.
Where is the Petit Champlain Shopping District? In Lower Town on rue du Petit-Champlain (Petit Champlain Street) surrounded by boulevard Champlain and rue Sous-le-Fort.
2. Browse for Antiques
Known as the Antiques District, rues St-Paul and St-Pierre make up a fashionable area filled with antiques dealers and art galleries, and dotted with cafes and bistros. And to browse original art in a unique setting, explore the open-air gallery on the narrow rue du Trésor, with an array of creations by local artisans in a variety of mediums.
Where is the Antiques District? Where is Rue du Trésor? The antiques shops are located around rue St-Paul and rue St-Pierre in Lower Town, and the Rue du Trésor outside gallery can be found between rues Ste-Anne and Buade in Upper Town.
3. Place Royale
Place Royale is where Samuel de Champlain founded the City of Québec in 1608. This is the location he built the first permanent French settlement in North America. Erected in 1688, you can visit Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church. You will have the chance to see the outline of Samuel de Champlain’s second house and have the opportunity to take pictures of the magnificent historic buildings.
Where is Place Royale? It’s located on Rue Notre-Dame.
4. Ride the Funicular or Climb the Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Staircase)
Old Québec City is made up of two towns, Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and Basse-Ville (Lower Town). The Funicular, which is a cable-car, links the two. Enjoy panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River, and the Lower Town with the Petit Champlain shopping district and the historic Place Royale square. Or, climb the Breakneck Staircase for a taste of how it was done in the early 1800s.
Where is the Funicular? The Lower Town entrance is located in the House Louis Jolliet on 16 Petit-Champlain Street. The Upper Town stop is located off the Dufferin Terrace in front of the Chateau Frontenac.
5. The Plains of Abraham
The Plains of Abraham was a site of major battles. The Battlefields Park includes the Plains of Abraham and Des Braves Park in Old Québec. It is also Canada’s first national historic park! You can visit the Plains of Abraham Museum which offer a gateway to the Park, exhibitions, activities, services, and more information about your visit.
6. Take a Picture in Front of the Chateau Frontenac
Said to be the most photographed hotel in the world, the spectacular Chateau Frontenac resembles a castle from a fairy-tale with its stone towers, copper turrets, and majestic lobby. It has stood at the heart of Old Québec City since 1893 and hosted royalty, world leaders, and movie stars.
Where is the Chateau Frontenac? 1 rue des Carrières at Place d’Armes in the Upper Town.
With its cobblestone streets and beautiful 17th and 18th century architecture at every turn, Old Québec is a romantic destination filled with European charm. Exploring these sites and areas will provide a great sense of what makes this city so special and unique!