Québec City: What to Do

It's day thirteen (for me) in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year's travels to Canada – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter is Q for Québec City and what we did there. Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)

Québec City convention center

Our first day in Québec City was rather uneventful. We mostly walked around the underground tunnel system accessible by our hotel to the Convention Center and on to Grande Allée where we stopped for a long multi-course lunch at a variety of restaurants. (We'll get into that tomorrow.) By the time we had finished eating, it was already dark outside (though only 5 PM!), so we opted to walk to the local "farmer's market" at the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec. To be truthful, we were seeking an American-style raclette warmer and thought the "Marche" sounded closely similar to the department store in Paris Le Bon Marché, so maybe they might have one? We were shocked to discover that the two stores had very little in common aside from their name… (#LearningFrench)

Along our walk, we passed the convention center

1000, boul. René-Lévesque Est
Québec (Québec) G1R 5T8

Québec City convention center

Québec City convention center

… the Ramparts of Québec City, the only remaining portions of fortified city walls from when the British took Québec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759…

ramparts of Québec City

ramparts of Québec City

… and stunning views overlooking the city…

old town Québec City overlook

Québec City at night

 Québec City

Christmas trees in Québec City

Finally, we made it to our destination: the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec.

160 Quai Saint-André, 
City of Québec, QC G1K 3Y2

Open weekdays from 9 AM - 6 PM

Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec as Marché de Noël in Québec City, Canada

To our surprise, they had turned the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec into a Marché de Noël for the Christmas season!

items in Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec as Marché de Noël in Québec City, Canada

Inside, we saw everything: leather goods, treats (homemade marshmallows, Bûche de Noël, macarons), maple concoctions (syrups, butter), and specialty alcoholic beverages like cidre de glace (ice cider).

items in Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec as Marché de Noël in Québec City, Canada

window in Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec as Marché de Noël in Québec City, Canada

Because everything closes early in Québec City, we opted to return to our hotel for the night planning on getting up early to make good use of the daylight hours the next day.

Québec City, Canada

Château Frontenac in Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

After a ride on the Lévis Ferry, we found ourselves in the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec.

16 Rue De Buade,
Ville de Québec, QC G1R 4A1

(The hours vary by time of year, so be sure to check out the website before you go!)

Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec in Québec City, Canada

The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Québec, is one of the oldest in north America and is a National Historic Site of Canada. The church has been at this site since 1647, but the building itself has been destroyed twice in that time. In 1759, the church was destroyed during the Siege of Québec, rebuilt in just under 100 years going through numerous alterations, then destroyed during a fire in 1922 with additions during the 10 years of reconstruction. In 2014, the church celebrated its 350th birthday with the creation of a "holy door" which has only been opened for two periods during its life and has since been closed until the year 2025 when it will open again. Walking through the holy door symbolizes oneness with the church.

Even though my husband and I did not take part while visiting the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, visitors have the opportunity to explore the crypt, home to more than 900, or see The Notre-Dame de Québec Museum for 5 $ CAD. The museum hours are noon to 4 PM on Saturdays and 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM on Sundays. In the museum, you will see paintings, sculptures, etchings, and other various archives from the church.

Our next stop was Château Frontenac for tobogganing, then Hotel de Glace. Upon return to Québec City, the sun was already sinking below the horizon. We found a place to eat before meandering down shopping districts such as Rue du Petit Champlain and Rue Saint-Jean.

Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

I made a point to stop in Librairie Pantoute and check out the mostly French book selection. I was hoping to find a guide book or picture book of Québec City that was written by someone in the area. That's when I discovered the In Mind series. Of course, I bought Québec City In Mind! Then, we just browsed. I was specifically interested in the children's section (easy French!) and travel section. I was impressed at how large the bookstore was!

M-Sat 10am-10pm
Sun: 12pm-10pm

1100, Rue Saint-Jean
Quebec City, QC G1R 1S5

Librairie Pantoute in Québec City, Canada

Librairie Pantoute in Québec City, Canada

We had taken the Funiculaire earlier in the day, but I had forgotten to get a picture, so, of course, I had to stop and snap one!

M-Sun: 7:30am-11pm

16 Rue du Petit Champlain
Ville de Québec, QC G1K 4H4

Funiculaire in Québec City, Canada

Funiculaire in Québec City, Canada

Funiculaire in Québec City, Canada

As you can see, the Funicular is a great way to get between rue Petit-Champlain and the Dufferin Terrace next to Château Frontenac. The hill looks straight up and down, but Justin and I also attempted the stairs which, for someone as out of shape as I am, wasn't too bad. Of course, if you have 3 $ CAD and you are in a hurry or just want to experience the Funiculaire, it seems well worth it to me. 

The only shop you might miss out on along the stairwell (or at least the only one we found to stop in) is Mary's Popcorn Shop where you can buy Québec Style Popcorn (cheddar, caramel, and plain).

56 Côte de la Montagne
Quebec, Quebec

Open 7 days a week 10:30 am - 6 pm

Christmas tree in Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

A unique shop Justin and I went into was Charlevoix Pure Laine, a boutique, specializing in sheep's wool accessories and handmade yarn.

61 1/2 rue du Petit-Champlain
Ville de Québec, QC G1K 4H5

M-W 9:30-5:30
Tr-F 9:30-9
Sat-Sun 9:30-5

Charlevoix Pure Laine in Québec City, Canada

When we walked into the store a sales associate explained how during the summer when the sheep are shorn, the wool that is removed to keep the sheep cool is the same wool they use to create mittens, hats, socks, and more! The wool products were very soft and I felt tempted to buy something and support the local business until I saw the prices… Living in a typically hot climate without much use for wool, even during the winter, I opted to save my money instead. Maybe one day in the future I will return for some super warm socks or mittens. :)

French singing carolers in Québec City, Canada

To our shock and surprise, we discovered carolers outside the shop and just down the street on rue du Petit-Champlain. We stood and listened to a few carols until the wind and snow got to us.

If you see carolers out (assuming you come at winter time), be sure to listen while they are there. We ducked into a touristy wine and cider shop only to find the carolers gone by the time we emerged only moments later. :(

Santa's chair and Christmas decorations in Québec City, Canada

Located near the carolers, we spotted Santa's chair… (Or at least it looks like a spot Santa would sit at.)

Québec City, Canada

La Buche in Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

Québec City, Canada

And toward the end of rue du Petit-Champlain (down the hill) was a fire pit and some chairs. Québecians really know how to do winter outdoors!!

Québec City, Canada

As we walked back toward our hotel, we spotted the Place d'Youville where we stood around and watched people ice skate. Ideally, we would have put on some skates to, but we couldn't figure out where to rent them. Everyone looked like they were having a lot of fun!

995, place D'Youville
Québec, QC, G1K 3P1

mid-October to mid-March
Monday to Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
no admission fee
skate rentals available

Place d'Youville ice skating rink in Québec City, Canada

Our day and a half of exploration in Québec was magical and fun. We almost felt like we were exploring a Christmas village with the snow falling, gorgeous stores with handmade items, and all of the delicious food available to us. I can't imagine Québec City being any better in warm weather, but pictures seem to indicate it is just as magical during the spring and summer as it is in the winter. I guess there is only one way to find out!

Have you been to Québec City before? Did I miss out on anything fun? If you haven't been to Québec City before, would you consider visiting in the winter?

Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World


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