Destinations / JOURNEY
are named after famous guests who fell in love
with the towering icon over the years, among
them Justin Trudeau, Queen Elizabeth II
and Céline Dion. Yes, the history here is rich
(there’s even a historic exhibition to peruse),
and there are equally resplendent views, featuring the city’s distinctive skyline and the
St. Lawrence River. You’ll find windows on
unforgettable landscapes at the hotel’s Bistro
Le Sam, where a table overlooking the St.
Lawrence at sunset comes with a view of daz-
zling colors reflected on the water.
Twilight strolls along the Terrasse Dufferin
boardwalk with its green-and-white-canopied
gazebos are magical. Grab an ice cream cone
and canoodle on a bench near the river.
Wander farther and it’s not uncommon to
encounter street performances, from fire jug-
glers on unicycles to chanteuses charming
couples into dancing cheek-to-cheek.
Québécois (pronounced kebekwa) are passionate about music, something they share
with visitors through their annual Le Festival
d’été de Québec (FEQ), Canada’s largest music
festival. This 11-day event in July (this year
July 4–14) has been going strong since 1968.
During FEQ, a party-like atmosphere prevails,
with pop-up presentations, art installations
FEQ provides a great excuse for noshing
at sidewalk cafes, as certain streets become
pedestrian-only at night. One great place
for kicking back and watching grooving
concertgoers is Chez Boulay – Bistro Boréal
( chezboulay.com) on Rue St-Jean. The Nordic-based fare by chefs Jean Luc Boulay and
Arnaud Marchand is seasonally inspired,
with flavors specific to the region.
Soon, though, music will find even lingering diners gravitating toward stages. Jazz,
blues, hip-hop, rock — with 10 different venues
and 2,500 performances by both emerging
and established artists, there’s something for
everyone. The crown jewel is the Bell Stage,
where the likes of Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney,
the Rolling Stones and Bruno Mars have
rocked out on the historic Plains of Abraham
( ccbn-nbc.gc.ca/en) battlefield.
Clockwise from top left:
Taking the stage at Le
Festival d’été de Québec;
shopping at Rue de Petit
Champlain; enjoy wines and
liqueurs at Cassis Monna &
Filles; the historic Auberge
Saint-Antoine. C L O
If You Go
GE TTING THERE
from San Francisco
(SFO) to Quebec City
Jean Lesage International
Airport (YQB) are available on Air Canada,
United and Delta.
GE TTING AROUND
Lyft, Uber and taxis
are available in Quebec
City; from the airport to
the Historic District of
Old Quebec takes about
Once you’re in town,
many attractions can be
reached on foot or the
Quebec City Double-Decker Hop On/Hop
Off Bus (toursvieux
Extremely useful for
getting from areas like
Old Port to Historic
Old Quebec is the
Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec ( funiculaire.ca).
Note: During FEQ, street
closures make routes
unpredictable, and hailing a taxi or ride-share
is more difficult right
after a big concert ends.
For venturing out to
Park or Île d’Orléans,
consider renting a car
from Enterprise, Hertz
or Avis. Many hotel
concierges can book
a rental convenient to
where you’re staying.
From the Plains of Abraham you can explore other Quebec City
attractions, including the museums and gardens on the Plains
themselves and the nearby 1899-constructed La Citadelle de Québec
( lacitadelle.qc.ca/en) atop Cap-aux-Diamants. For further exposure to
local arts and culture, the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec (funiculaire.
ca) can whisk you to spots that reveal even more.
You can also learn through immersion by staying in a museum hotel,
such as the Auberge Saint-Antoine ( saint-antoine.com) in the city’s Old
For dinner, head to Chez Muffy, set inside an 1822 maritime warehouse.
The stone walls and wooden beams will appeal to history buffs, while
the terrace is for farm-to-fork dining and reveling in the sun.
Just steps from the Auberge’s front door, the Musée de la Civilisation
( mcq.org/en) has natural history knowledge to offer. A new exhibition
to catch is Curiosities of the Natural World, which, in addition to 200
pieces on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, has some
objects unique to Quebec: a beluga skeleton, fossils from the Miguasha
Heritage Site and Mont Saint-Hilaire minerals.
Just outside, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of Quebec’s founder
Samuel de Champlain, past Place Royale and its Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (North America’s oldest stone church; ndvsf.weconnect.com),
along with a mural depicting four centuries of local history. Quartier
Petit-Champlain’s shops and galleries are fun to investigate, too.
At Old Port, hop aboard the AML Louis Jolliet ( croisieresaml.com),
It’s easy to feel swept away by Île d’Orléans’ sweet country lanes,
where you can see endless panoramas and hear stories about Quebec
from a guide in historic garb. On summer nights ( Wednesdays and
Saturdays, July 31–August 24) the sky comes alive as fireworks light up
“La Vieille Capitale.”
The boat ride also reveals two nearby places to explore the outdoors:
At Montmorency Falls Park ( sepaq.com), minutes from downtown,
you can take in the majestic 272-foot waterfall by cable car, suspended
bridge, hiking, three different ferrata (protected climbing) routes,
or even by soaring past on a 985-foot zip line. And a quick drive over
the Pont de l’Île suspension bridge leads to Île d’Orléans (tourisme.
iledorleans.com/en), the city’s agricultural mainstay. Here, indulg-
ing in fresh-from-the-fields produce is a must. Cassis Monna & Filles
( cassismonna.com/en), a 40-acre farm renowned for black currants,
produces 50,000 bottles of black currant wines and liqueurs each
year; at lunch on the terrace of its restaurant La Monnaguette, you
can imbibe a crème de cassis–flavored Monsieur Martini created by
mixologist Patrice Plante. Afterward, get a black currant–vanilla ice
cream “softie” to go.
particularly where they sidle up to the St. Lawrence with its hypnoti-
cally bobbing kayaks and sailboats. Then your gaze falls on Quebec
City, and its staggering beauty elicits a gasp. Oui, c’est l’amour d’été. m
Holding sway above the city is the regal, 126-year-old Fairmont
Le Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world.