5 Tips For Your Trip To Quebec City (Plus 2 Christmas Tips)

5 Tips For Your Trip To Quebec City (Plus 2 Christmas Tips)

Quebec City is a charming and gives you the feel of being in an old French city without having to fly overseas. Add in some delicious food and great sights, and you’re left with one fantastic trip. If you’re preparing (or just dreaming about) a trip to Quebec City, here are some tips to make your trip perfect.

5 Tips for Your Trip to Quebec City

 

5 Tips for Your Trip to Quebec City:

    1. Stay near Old Quebec (the part that is inside the fortress). The entire area of Old Quebec is very walkable, so it doesn’t really matter what part of Old Quebec you stay in. In fact, we stayed just outside the fortress at Hilton Quebec and never had a problem walking to the things we wanted to see. We were a quarter-mile from tons of restaurants, cafes, churches, and an ice skating rink.
    2. Do not try to park on the streets inside Old Quebec. On Christmas Day, we were getting ready to head to the Montemorency Falls, which is outside of the city and requires driving. Being a holiday, we assumed things would be quieter so we drove our car into Old Quebec hoping to park outside of a restaurant for lunch. This turned out to be a big hassle, and I’m pretty sure when ended up illegally parking (it’s hard to know when the signs are in French and we speak zippo French). Summary: park your car in a lot and keep it there. Sure, you’ll have to pay (typically C$20), but the street parking are all meters (and add a parking ticket or two into the mix, and suddenly the lot is completely the way to go).
    3. Speaking of French…French is the sole official language of Quebec. All other provinces have officially adopted French and English, so Quebec is unique in this. While we found that most people easily transitioned into English, it would be helpful to brush up on your French before you go. I’d highly recommend the duolingo app/website for this. It’s free and actually fun to use. I used it on the drive up, and it helped to be able to learn some key words and phrases. Though at this point about all I can say is “je mange une pomme” with a bad accent, which is probably not particularly helpful or necessary. Regardless, it’s a great app if you stick with it, and it’s nice (and respectful!) to have even the roughest knowledge of the language.
    4. If you’re hungry, you won’t be disappointed. The food ranges from Canadian fast food (such as poutine) to places as expensive as you’d like to pay. The same goes for shopping; you can lay down some serious cash here if you wanted. For some affordable places, I’d recommend the following:
      1. Crepes: Le Casee-Crepe Breton ($) Delicious crepes, both sweet and savory, in a cozy sit-down environment. We went for dinner, but it would be a great dessert stop as well. It’s a create-your-own crepe menu with a great assortment of toppings (savory: cheeses, veggies, sauces or sweet: chocolate sauces, fruits, Nutella). 
      2. Italian: Sapristi Bistro Bar ($$) Two many choices of pastas, brick oven pizzas, and salads. I ordered a Caesar salad that came with big chunks of bacon on it…nothing like bacon to made a salad amazing. Kyle got the Fantasia Pizza which came with tomato sauce, prosciutto, parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, and arugula. It was super busy when we were there, but we got a table right away; the people behind us weren’t so lucky. They don’t take reservations, so you might need to be prepared to wait a bit. 
      3. Pastries: Paillard ($) Seriously, if you ignore everything else I tell you, you must must must go here. They have over 1300 reviews on tripadvisor, if that tells you anything. We waited in line for about 20 minutes to get the best croissants and miscellaneous pastries ever. You can also order sandwiches and other lunch-y foods. But when there’s chocolate croissants, why would you even consider ordering something else? 
    5. Take one afternoon to venture out of town to see Montemorency Falls. This is an impressive waterfall, but the best part is the access you have to the falls. At the foot of the falls, you can walk up to a viewing deck where you’ll get drenched by the spray; you can also hike up a steep staircase next to the fall and then hike over the fall on a bridge. If you go in winter, the spray at the bottom of the fall will start to freeze — tall enough to even lure in ice climbers.

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Bonus: Two Christmas Tips

    1. If you visit around the holidays, show up well before Christmas so you can see the German Christmas Market. One of the highlights of our trip to Austria were the Christmas Markets, and we were excited to experience it again in Quebec City. Unfortunately, the last day it was open was December 20, so we missed it. Now, there was still plenty of holiday cheer and festivities to go around, but we were sad to miss out on this. If you can swing it, show up early enough to experience this; or instead of visiting over the actual Christmas holiday, go for a weekend earlier in the month.
    2. Regardless of what the internet may lure you to believe, things will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, most stores and some restaurants started closing around 5pm. Still, we had no problem finding a place to eat that night. On Christmas Day, the streets were dead in the morning; however by lunch many restaurants were opened, and we had no problem finding a place to eat for lunch or dinner. If you’re looking for something fancier, many of the hotels have excellent breakfast and dinner buffets for Christmas Day, but you absolutely need a reservation to go to these (especially the one for dinner).

Castle Quebec City

What travel tips would you add to this list? What was your favorite thing to do/see/eat in Quebec City?

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