Quebec Travel Guide, Quebec
Located above the St. Lawrence River, 250 km east of Montréal, Québec is the city bearing the same name of the province whose major city it is. The province of Québec is Canada’s most popular and the blend of French and English cultures is evident and quite attractive for tourists who can experience two quite different cultures in detail while being in the same place. It is fascinating how two cultures that have little in common succeeded in coexisting for so long, so peacefully and still keeping their distinct identity. Maybe one of the most important things they have in common is tolerance.
It is true that most of the residents of the province are French speaking and are called Francophones.
There was a period when Québec wanted to be independence from Canada, but that has passed and things came back to normal or we could even say they improved since the Canadian dollar became stronger and the unemployment rate dropped. Things have improved for the better in all aspects of life and even crime rates dropped.
Tourism is given a great importance as it is the city’s major income and in part it supports its economy. The resident’s rare occasions of hostility to American tourists experienced in English Canada are even rarer here. Probably because here are more Francophones and they prove to be more tolerant.
Unlike in other cities in the region where residents speak both French and English, in Québec expect to hear only French. They are quite proud of their heritage and the fact that they are keen on their tradition is proven by the way they preserved the Old Town, a beautiful historic centre with houses dating from the 17th, 18th- and 19th-century divided between the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and the Basse-Ville (Lower Town). It is the only walled city north of Mexico and one of the oldest full of parks and monuments. Because of its beauty and historic importance it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
The style and architecture is kept French and you can really feel like you are in France. Coming here is like having a glimpse of France and if you don’t have the possibility or the necessary budget to travel to France, visiting Québec is a good idea as it is the most French city in North America.
The Lower Town or Basse-Ville is the oldest neighborhood with homes where the earliest European inhabitants lived. Visit the Maison Chevalier and browse the many handicraft stores. Among the most visited landmarks is the Le Château Frontenac. Probably a former castle, now hosts a beautiful hotel with a beautiful view over St. Lawrence River. Besides being visited for its historic landmarks, the neighborhood’s location on the banks of St. Lawrence River makes it be visited also for its setting which is one of the most beautiful natural settings in North America.
A good tip for visitors is to bring comfortable walking shoes as cars are not allowed at all within Vieux-Québec (the Old Town) and the only means of transport is the public transportation or bikes if you prefer them. But walking is the best option as you will find it enchanting. Walking its streets packed with charming shops, touristy stores, art galleries, restaurants and some museums you will really get the real feel of the place.
Outside the Old Town the new and old is not so distinct it is more like a nice blend and a mild introduction to the new city which is a modern metropolis with its own charm. It has a lively cultural scene that is maintained by a renowned symphony orchestra, several small theater companies and other venues the choice is quite wide including concerts, plays and other performances that can be held indoors or outdoors depending on the season. The most frequented area by those who want to have some fun and relax king size is Rue St-Jean.
You're out for contrast, history and French atmosphere the opportunities are as vast as the city itself and if you just can’t wait to say ‘Bonjour’, start packing your bags for a journey down under to Québec.
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