Quebec Travel Guide
It’s more baguettes and fois gras than North American stodge in Canada’s Quebec, the country’s only province with a predominantly French speaking population. It’s a unique destination by all accounts with an identity that sets it clearly apart from the rest of the country.
Canada’s largest province by area is considered a nation within a nation on account of its French heritage, French language and dedication to preserving all aspects of its distinctly French culture. For visitors, this means a chance to dine on great cuisine, drink a few glasses of cabernet sauvignon and have some fun mispronouncing those hackneyed entries in the old French phrase book.
Montréal is the biggest city in the province and the place to experience a real medley of sights and sounds. Modern North American skyscrapers sit amid traditional European style churches and monuments, providing a veritable treat for the eyes. Aside from French and English, you’ll hear languages such as Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Mandarin spoken as you walk the streets.
Montréal’s landmarks can be used as a means of navigating around the city, but take the time to look at them and you’ll realise that their aesthetic value far outweighs the former function. The Notre-Dame Basilica and the Oratoire St-Joseph are among the most eye-catching examples, while the Stade Olympique and Bonsecours Market also make for good eye candy.
Quebec City is the province capital, its most historic city and one of its most picturesque on account of its location on the banks of the St Lawrence river. The Old City is the historic center and a destination that boasts World Heritage site status, care of UNESCO. Traditional cobbled streets, well preserved 17th and 18th century architecture, historic monuments, elegant squares and pretty gardens are among the sights on offer.
Powder addicts can get their fix of the white stuff at Saint-Jovite-Mont-Tremblant, part of the Parc du Mont Tremblant and Quebec’s most popular snow sport resort. Located in the Laurentian mountains, the resort has a good selection of pistes with conditions suitable for both skiers and snowboarders, novices or experts. Come summer time, the same national park attracts hikers, hunters and canoeists.
If it’s fine scenery that floats your boat, then take a drive out to the Gaspé peninsula located on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence river. Lying north and west of the peninsula is the Gulf of St Lawrence, while south and east of it is the Baie des Chaleurs. It’s the mountains in between, however, that provide the most stunning views while driving through the region along Highway 132.
On a trip to the peninsula, be sure to take the time to check out Parc National de Forillon, located at the tip. Walking trails in the park offer some spectacular flora and fauna with the chance to see whales in the Baie des Chaleurs. From the park, make the short journey to Percé, a village famous for its unique karst monolith known somewhat unimaginatively as Percé Rock.