To be able to see and eat your way around a city in 48 hours can be somewhat of a struggle, but for Quebec City it can easily be done, even if you are on a budget.
Quebec City in the province of Quebec has the history, the quant streets, poutine and a good night life. We were staying in a hostel in Old Quebec, right in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage site. The streets are tiny and filled with little privately owned shops; breweries; cafes and the odd tourist shop that somehow seems to blend in with the quant 19th century European feel to the Old City. The Old City can easily be done in a day, if you don’t want to go into the Parliament Building or museums; and cheap at that.
O L D Q U E B E C
If you are looking for culture then your first stop should be to head for Old Quebec. A good way to start is to see the Parliament building first (which unfortunately the grand front part of the building is under construction). If you want a free tour, make sure you book in advance; we didn’t and could not go inside, which is something that we regret.
After Parliament, head for the plaines d’abraham the site of the battlefield and Canada’s first national park. The museum will set you back $16 and takes around an hour and a half, or you can simply go for a walk around the plaines d’abraham, which has been compared as Quebec’s Central Park. From here you can see the cliffs; the citadelle and the start of the Old Town. If you walk along the promenade, you will get some incredible views of the St. Lawerence river; the edge of the citadel, before reaching the most photographed hotel in the world – Chateau Frontenac.
Once you are done taking hundreds of photos of the Chateau and getting the right shot for Instagram, head straight into the Old Town. You will find everything from statues, churches and even a Christmas shop. Explore what the old town had to offer. Whether that is having a drink at a brewery; or having brunch at one of the numerous restaurants; or stopping for a hot chocolate and a pastry at a local cafe. There is also a horse and carriage ride, although you may have to do some research on to where it picks up and drops off.
In terms of shopping, head to the all year round Christmas Shop, which will make you think it is just a couple of days before Christmas. If you want clothes shopping, then the Old Town is probably not for you but the main city offers you Mango, Urban Outfitters etc.
W H E R E T O E A T & D R I N K ?
Quebec City has something for everyone; whether you are a brunch person, a classic pub person, looking for something a bit more fancy or just want a Tim Hortons, it has it.
Bar Ste-Angele is a pub that you would not come across if you did not know about it. It is tiny and the only pub or any type of business down the street. The cocktails are $7 and the choose is good, whether you want something that is long or something that is strong. The pub has live jazz music and the atmosphere is incredible. You feel like you are in the middle of France. If you have the chance, go and have a drink. They don’t serve food, but it is a great place just to sit with friends or family and is not a tourist trap.
Pub Saint Patrick in the Old City will offer you everything from poutine to bangers and mash. As it was right by our hostel, we headed there twice – once when we arrived and all we wanted was food and when we were all slightly hangover after we had checked out of our hostel. The nacho’s are pretty good and so is the Fish & Chips.
Poutineville is the place to go for poutine. Poutine is the national dish, the dish Quebec is famous for. It is basically chips with gravy and cheese curds and it somehow works. Now, I was not a fan of poutine until I tried their poutine. The great thing is you can add whatever you want to it. The first time, I went for fries, mozzarella, mushrooms and normal poutine gravy which was good, but the second time I went for their famous crispy potatoes with Cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, hot pepper and pulled pork but in a small portion and it was amazing. They also have a location in Montreal.
Cafe La Maison Smith is the place to go for a hot chocolate and whatever cake or pastry you could imagine. I choose the Belgium hot chocolate, which was basically melted chocolate and cream and it was incredible. Others also had the cheesecake which was mouth watering good.
Bristo L’Atelier outside of the old city is perfect for evening cocktails. Now I can not recommend any, because I did not get one, but some of my friends did.
Chocolate Shops are everywhere. Well not exactly everywhere, but there is quite a few, so you could easily do a tour of the small chocolate shops in Quebec.
Have you visited Quebec City? Or thinking of visiting?