Quebec City Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Quebec City
By plane: Québec has an international airport which foreign airlines and charter companies make use of mainly in the summer months. There are good connections with Canadian domestic flights, particularly to Montréal and Toronto (the hub of Canada's air network) as well as to New York (USA).By rail: Several trains a day run between Montréal and Québec.
By coach: Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America Québec enjoys the benefit of excellent long-distance coach services. These include services to the big east coast cities of the USA.Québec City (the name derives from the Indian word "kebek" meaning "at the meeting of the waters") is situated at the mouth of the Rivière St-Charles which flows into the St Lawrence River at the head of the St Lawrence Estuary. The city, built on a rocky spur reaching a height of 100 m (330 ft), considers itself the "cradle of North America" and still retains something of a European air. Ever since its foundation in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain Québec has been the political, spiritual and intellectual heart of "la Nouvelle France" (New France). As well as being the capital of Québec Province it is a university city.Québec is also an important commercial and industrial centre (e.g. for the food industries, leather goods, textiles, wood and metal processing, engineering, shipbuilding and the printing trade).Tourist center95 per cent of Québécois are French speaking. Wherever the visitor goes - be it to a shop, a restaurant or the theatre - the French way of life is always in evidence. Québec Old City has been designated a historical monument and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.There are four reasonably large ski resorts and many golf courses all within a radius of 40 km (25 mi.) of the city. Hunting, fishing, tennis and water sports (including white-water rafting on the Rivière St-Charles and sailing on the St Lawrence) are among other leisure activities also well catered for.HistoryIn 1608, having penetrated as far as this stretch of the St Lawrence River, Samuel de Champlain established a small settlement on the northern bank close to the confluence with the Rivière St-Charles. Initially a center for the trade in furs, within a few years the arrival from Paris of Louis Hébert, an apothecary, saw the infant colony developing a thriving agriculture. The soils of the nearby Île d'Orléans were found to be extremely fertile, as were those of the north bank of the St Lawrence below the Montmorency Falls where climatic conditions also proved especially favorable. The colony grew rapidly to become the administrative center of French America. From Québec expeditions pushed upstream into what is now the province of Ontario, as well as southwards to the foothills of the north-east Appalachians and beyond to where the city of New York would later be founded.Despite its defensively strategic position on a rocky spur protected on two sides by rivers, Québec fell to the British in 1629, only to be returned to France in the Treaty of St-Germain. In the autumn of 1690 a British fleet of some three dozen ships commanded by Admiral Sir William Phipps appeared off the town, carrying more than 2000 troops. Bad weather intervened however to thwart their assault.The British under General Wolfe again laid siege to Québec in the summer of 1759. This time the fleet of more than 40 ships carried 2000 cannon and an army 10,000 strong. Wolfe stationed his troops on the Île d'Orléans - abreast of Lévis on the southern bank of the St Lawrence - and also near the Montmorency Falls. Québec was subjected to heavy bombardment. In September 1759 a force of 5000 led by Wolfe made a landing on the north bank of the St Lawrence and a bloody battle ensued on the Plains of Abraham between the British and the French under Montcalm. Both Wolfe and Montcalm lost their lives in the carnage. A few days later the British entered Québec. The French, having retreated to their winter quarters near Montréal, returned the following April to defeat the British at the Battle of Ste-Foy. Little was gained by the victory however, New France being finally ceded to Britain in the Treaty of Paris of 1763.In 1774 the "Québec Act" was passed by the British Parliament guaranteeing religious freedom for the French population and ensuring the survival of the French Civil Code.In the winter of 1775/76 troops from Britain's rebellious American colonies tried to enlist the aid of their northern neighbors in the struggle for independence, laying siege unsuccessfully to Québec. When in the following spring the British frigate "Surprise" appeared in the river the Americans withdrew.Between 1820 and 1850 Québec's citadel was strengthened at huge expense, mainly to counter any further attempts at encroachment by the now independent United States. Large numbers of cannon were mounted on the cliffs of the Old City, trained to fire on the opposite bank or any hostile ships in the St Lawrence River.The first meeting of the "Conseil Général de la Nouvelle Québec" was held in the city in 1648. Laval University - now the foremost institution of its kind in Canada - was founded four years later. Within another fifteen years the erstwhile proud capital of New France had also become the administrative center of a new French speaking province of Québec. Over the next hundred years or so the city acquired its very Parisian parliament building, its City Hall and, in 1892, its most famous landmark, Château Frontenac, a luxury hotel in the style of a medieval château.In the first half of the 20th c. Québec endured a period of stagnation. During the Second World War the city was the venue for some major conferences and it was here in 1943 that the Allies planned the D-Day invasion of Normandy. In 1945 delegates from 31 countries gathered in Québec to sign the charter setting up the World Food Organisation (WFO), an agency of the United Nations which had itself been founded only a short time before.Since the 1960s the city, one of the most beautiful in North America, has enjoyed something of a renaissance as the administrative and economic capital of its region and the focal point of French culture in North America.
The spaciously laid out district immediately south-west of the old Upper Town is the seat of Québec's provincial government. The Parliament, completed in 1877 but later extended, could have been modeled on any number of Parisian public buildings. The Salle de l'Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) and Salle du Conseil Législatif (Legislative Council) are open to the public (tickets should again be obtained in plenty of time). Both are fine old chambers, sumptuously furnished.
As well as plays the Grand Théâtre de Québec (along the Boulevard St-Cyrille Est) also stages concerts by the Conservatoire and the Québec Symphony Orchestra, the latter being the oldest orchestra of its kind in Canada.
Palais des Congrès
Still on Parliament Hill but a little further down, the Palais des Congrès is a large hotel/shopping/entertainment complex in Quebec. It includes a 3800 sq. m (41,000 sq. ft) congress center capable of accommodating up to 5000 people.
There are numerous sites and attractions within a short distance from Québec City.
The small town Ste-Anne de Beaupré is known primarily for the basilica of the same name.
St-Roch-des-Aulnaies belongs to the "Siegneurie des Aulnaies", an imposing estate bearing the street number 132, the castle-like main building of which dates from the middle of the 19th c. A guided tour gives an insight into the way the upper classes lived.It is possible to visit the 19th c. corn-mill which is still in working order.St-Roch-des-Aulnaies which comes complete with costumed interpreters also contains beautiful gardens.
Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier - Valcartier Vacation Village
Village Vacances Valcartier is noted as one of the largest waterpark in Canada. The park features 35 water slides, 2 river rides, a huge wave pool, go-karting, and acrobatic diving shows.During the winter months, Valcartier becomes a winter playground with numerous snow runs that include 4 steep Himalaya runs.
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Map of Quebec City Attractions