It is not unsurprising to say that there are lots of things to do in Quebec City. However, if you’ve only a day in Quebec City, this may be the itinerary for you!
After coming home to Canada from my semester abroad, I was pretty sad. While I love Toronto to the moon and back, these North American cities just lacked the charm of the small streets, rich cafes, and altogether laid-back atmosphere of Europe.
So when the opportunity came, I applied for a scholarship that took me to live in a charming little town near Quebec City. I quickly became smitten by the province. Although I only had a day in Quebec City, I managed to see a handful of tourist attractions by foot.
1. Check out the Château Frontenac
The Château is one of the most luxurious hotels in Old Quebec. Its castle-like structure overlooks St Lawrence River. Visiting the hotel and having lunch on the terrace is a great way to spend the morning. Often, musicians would showcase their talent by the Champlain Monument.
Wikipedia tells me that the Château is the most photographed hotel in the world. I wouldn’t be surprised, as its magnificent physique compelled me to take loads of unskilled and vaguely satisfying pictures. The hotel itself was built to attract not-so-budget travelers. With the average rate for a standard room ranging from CAD 229 – CAD 741. Instead of staying at the hotel, we wandered around the lobby and public grounds, where the atmosphere was just as sophisticated and beautiful.
2. Explore the Streets of Old Quebec
The walk from Château Frontenac to the lower town of Old Quebec was fast. It was a downhill hike that lasted approximately 10 minutes. The neighborhood was crowded with tourists and restaurants. Cafes and gift shops lined the streets. We had lunch at one of the little cafes and enjoyed the view.
Despite Quebec City being some 5000 km away from the tip of Europe and divided by the roaring Pacific, the city maintained an old-school charm and sophistication. Yet, it was nothing like Paris’ uptight mannerisms. Rather, a tour of this city reminded me of towns along the French Riviera-simple, relaxing, happy.
Then again, I was on vacation.
After a few hours, we headed back uphill to catch a bus towards the Montmorency Falls.
3. Relax at the Montmorency Falls
Montmorency Falls is a waterfall some 12 km away from Quebec City. There are several ways to muse at the waters- either partaking on an hour-long walk from its tip-top to the bottom or by cable car for CAD 10 one way. You can also get a bit crazy and hop on a zip line for CAD 30 or a cable car for CAD 25! Of course, I opted for walking along the stairs. It was a magnificent view, having the waters below me while crossing the bridge and befriending a rainbow. To get a bit more wild, stand on the platform just beside the waters as seen above. You will be showered and set for days, within seconds.
Coming from Toronto, I have to say the waterfall is nowhere near the magnitude of Niagara Falls. But angry not Québécois, Montmorency is 30 m higher than Niagara*
4. Wander around the City during Sunset
Following the Montmorency Falls, we had some time to walk around the city. The streets were much quieter away from Old Quebec and tourist areas. While the bar was a bit far from the key tourist zones, Le Bureau de Poste is a great place to have a quick bite. The bar has the authenticity of a bar/restaurant but is less than the price of a Big Mac! In fact, their entire menu is priced at CAD 5!!
We ended the night by walking along the city wall. The wall had a beautiful view of all of Quebec City. It was great to have a bite in peace while overlooking the streets that buzzed with traffic and people.
The #800 bus between the Montmorency Falls and the city was around CAD 3 for a single trip. Concerning, we had a delicious burger at restaurant Le Chic Shack just across the street from the Château. Their burgers are extremely tasty despite being a little pricey. You can visit them here. The restaurant provides a nice view of Rue de Fort, but it can get pretty rowdy with all the tourists.
Otherwise, I spent CAD 10 or so throughout the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up eating at Le Bureau de Poste due to its massive line. A day in Quebec City may be short, but like any other destination in Canada, there is still plenty to do within 24 hours. Whether you are in the streets of Vancouver or amongst the nature of Victoria, a short stay in any of Canada’s cities will give you a glimpse of the charming, captivating ways of the Great White North.