As one of the oldest settlements in North America, Québec City has been charming visitors for centuries. Spread across a cliff face overlooking the St. Lawrence River, this historic city still boasts its original fortified walls, as well as an enchanting Old Town core that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wander its quaint, cobbled streets, lined with handsome buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and you'll immediately feel you've stepped back in time. However, as the capital of the Francophone province of Québec, the city is also an exciting modern destination, packed with inviting cafés, bistros and boutiques that lend it a European feel. Book a hotel near the centre of Québec City and you can easily explore all the attractions on offer in this compact and walkable destination.
Québec's Old Town is split into two sections: the Old Lower Town (<i>la Basse Ville</i>), where explorer Samuel de Champlain first established a settlement in 1608, and the Old Upper Town (<i>la Haute Ville</i>), which stretches across the Cap Diamant cliffs and offers panoramic views over the river and nearby Laurentian Mountains. The two are linked by a few sets of steep steps (including the evocatively named Breakneck Stairs) and a funicular, with the entire scene surmounted by the distinctive outline of the Château Frontenac.
For history buffs, there's much to savour. Tour La Citadelle, the vast fort founded by the French in the 1750s, and visit the Plains of Abraham, site of the significant British victory in 1759 over the French. Today, this open green space is part of the Battlefields Park, a popular destination for walking, picnics and other outdoor pursuits. You can also visit the picturesque Place-Royale, where Champlain first landed, and the fascinating Musée des Ursulines, which tells the story of the role played by nuns in the early days of New France.
Arts and culture fans can easily while away a day in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, where you'll get a taste of Québecois art through the centuries, and the stunning Musée de la Civilisation. In summer months, the streets, parks and squares come alive with buskers and musicians, while in January and February the city is cheered up by the Winter Carnival celebrations, which include snow sports, parades, and the International Ice Sculpture Competition.
Shoppers can peruse the shops of Petit Champlain – one of the oldest commercial areas in North America – or browse the fresh produce on offer at the Marché du Vieux-Port. Hunting for your favourite brands? The Place Laurier is Eastern Canada's largest shopping centre.
Ready to experience the energy and romance of Québec City? Book your hotel with Marriott today and prepare to be charmed by this beautiful city.