When you say Quebec it is not as in queen, or question – you do not say ‘qw’ but it is qaybec or “kay-bec”. The name Quebec comes from the Algonquin word meaning narrow passage or strait. It originally referred to the area of Quebec City and the narrowing of the river at Cape Diamond. If you say Qwebec, they will know that you don’t know. That was me.
Quebec City, also known as Ville de Québec in French, is the capital city of the Quebec province in Canada. I was a little confused myself – so Quebec is a province and a very big one, actually the biggest in Canada, and Quebec (City) is the capital of the province. Montreal is also in the province of Quebec.
Quebec is recognised as the cradle of French civilization in North America. Quebec City beckons travelers from all over the world because of its uniqueness and the beauty of the city.
- 2 Interesting Information about Quebec
- 3 Upper Town and Lower Town
- 4 Getting Around Quebec
- 5 Climate of Quebec
- 6 Very interesting fact
- 7 How French is Quebec
- 8 How Friendly are the Quebeckers?
- 9 History of Quebec In a Nutshell
- 10 11 things to see and do when you visit Quebec City
Interesting Information about Quebec
People from Quebec are called
Quebeckers. This is fact.
Looking at Quebec City
Quebec City is located in the Saint Lawrence River. This very large river is a major shipping route. Here, the St. Lawrence river narrows to a width of just over 1 km, and navigation is made difficult by a group of islands, the largest of which is Île d’Orléans. This is why this site was chosen to be settled, as it is a naturally occurring defensive position.
Did you know?
The Saint Lawrence River freezes over and there used to be an ice bridge over which people walked to cross to the other side of the river. There was even a shack built over it where people could have a drink. Now there are bridges and there are ice breaker ships that are used if the float of ice is too thick to stop the ferries running. There are many winter sports that take here, some a little odd as you will read about later.
Upper Town and Lower Town
The city itself was built on a large rock shelf. This divides the city in two. The Upper Town and the Lower Town, where a very steep rock face is the divider. There is a funicular in case you do not want to climb the steep hill to go between the two.
The city’s skyline is dominated by the most photographed chateau in the world, Château Frontenac. This is now a hotel, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac. Get the latest prices and reviews here to stay in this magnificent chateau. and it is not expensive.
La Citadelle, is also very noticeable as it is an intact fortress surrounding the Old Town.
Upper Town lies on the top of the Cape Diamond promontory. The Plains of Abraham are here. There are six boroughs that make up Quebec City, each with their own character.
The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with 17th- and 18th-century houses and soaring church spires, with the magnificent Château Frontenac towering above it all.
Getting Around Quebec
Walk. It is a very safe and easy and pleasant city to amble around. Alternatively there are public buses and taxis are available as is the funicular.
Climate of Quebec
This is one the most favourite topics in the city with good reason, as it gets very cold when it turns into a winter wonderland. Even the hotels will put the next day’s weather forecast on your pillows at turndown service, as it very important that you know how to dress for the day. In winter it can get to -30.
Very interesting fact
Quebec city is the only place in the world where you can go ice canoeing across the Saint Lawrence River. More coming on that.
How French is Quebec
French is spoken by everyone, English is not. The French spoken in Quebec is different to the French spoken in France. It was explained to us that a Texan speaks English as does a Scotsman. Both speak English but they sound different. So runs the analgy of the French spoken in France and the French spoken in Quebec. There have been different inlfluences and therefore they are different. There has been a divergence in the French in 200 years of history.
How Friendly are the Quebeckers?
Very very friendly. Dismiss the notion that they are haughty because this is not correct at all. English or no English they are very friendly and welcoming people. Note within an hour of being here I was given a gift of maple syrup butter and hell yeah it is good.
History of Quebec In a Nutshell
To understand the influence of both the French and the British on this city you need to understand the history of the city of Quebec, where you will understand the fusion of the French and fierce independence of the Irish and Scottish and English inhabitants.
– The first inhabitants of the Quebec area were Algonquian and Iroquoian First Nations and Inuit.
– In 1534 French explorer Jacques Cartier erected a cross on the shore of the Gaspé Peninsula and took possession of the land in the name of the king of France.
– For the next 75 years Quebec was visited by fishers and fur traders.
– In 1608 Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec and established the first permanent colony.
– The final battle between the French and British for possession of the New World was fought on the Plains of Abraham at the city of Quebec in 1759. The battle was part of the French and Indian War.
– Both commanders—Joseph Montcalm and James Wolfe—were mortally wounded in the battle. By the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Canada was ceded to Great Britain.
– Quebec was governed under the authority of a royal proclamation until the passage of the Quebec Act in 1774. This act guaranteed the French freedom of worship and property rights under French civil law.
11 things to see and do when you visit Quebec City
Quebec City is known as being one of the most visited places in Canada due to its various festivals. One of the most popular is the Winter Carnival. There are also many historic sites like the Citadel of Quebec and several museums.
1. Château Frontenac
Address: 1 Rue des Carrières, Québec City
2. Quartier Petit-Champlain
Explore the UNESCO listed Old Town and see the Tromp l’oeil, or Fresque des Québécois. This mural tells the story of Quebec City, and there are 15 historic figures and many of the city’s notable writers and artists. This mural explains the city and its development from the beginning to now.
3. Place Royale
It was at this spot, in 1608, that Samuel de Champlain established a fur trading post. There are many beautiful and very historic buildings including the Notre-Dame des Victoires built in 1688.
4. Explore the Citadel
This sits at the top of Cap Diamant, and the views of the St-Laurence River and Levi across the river are amazing. In winter time you can watch the ice floats go down the river. Or it could be up.
Address: 85 Rue Dalhousie, Québec City
5. Parliament Hill
This is the seat of Quebec’s provincial government. It is also where you can see the Grand Théâtre and the Palais des Congrès
Address: 1045 Rue des Parlementaires, Québec City
6. The Plains of Abraham
In 1759, the Plains of Abraham was the site of a fierce battle that decided the future of the city. British General Wolfe won Quebec City from the French.
It is also the venue for many amazing concerts with top contemporary bands from around the world appearing here.
Address: 835 Ave Wilfrid-Laurier, Québec City
A ferry crosses the St. Lawrence River, providing a connection between Quebec City and Levis.
Address: 1 Rue des Carrières, Québec City
8. Ile d’Orleans
This island is the weekend getaway venue for many Quebeckers and others. There are six villages or parishes on the island. It is here that you can visit wineries, try the renowned ice wine and ice cider as well as sample many berries, cheeses, and chocolates. It is a very popular destination.
9. Montmorency Falls and Bridal Veil Falls
This legend tells us of a love story. A young bride was due to be wed, but her fiancee was called away to battle. She waited and waited but during a battle at Montmorency Falls in 1759 the young soldier lost his life. The bride discovered her fiancee has been killed in the war and threw herself off into the Montmorency Falls. It is claimed that you can see here ghost, if you are pure of heart, through the mists of the Montmorency Falls.
As she fell to her death, her veil flew off, creating the Bridal Veil Falls
Quebec has amazing food that starts with its apples and its berries and its maple syrup and a lot more. To get an understanding of the food, it is a great idea to do a guided walking food tour and discover many things that you wouldn’t read about in a guidebook. We have two restaurant recommendations, which we are sure you will love. The first is Simple Snack Sympathique, called SSS where the food, ambiance and service are exceptional. I recommend the gnocchi and Gordon recommends the duck. The next is Le Lapin Sauté, the very popular and delightful cafe in Petit-Champlain. The service here is so pleasant and the food very good. Lapin lasagne recommended and the cod, which were both amazing.
SSS – 71 Rue ST-Paul Vieux-Port , QUÉBEC G1K 3V8
Le Lapin – 52 Rue du Petit Champlain, Québec City, QC G1K 4H4
Stay at the luxurious Le Germain Hotel Quebec. This beautiful hotel is located in the heart of Old Quebec and was once two adjacent historic buildings, one a former bank, one a historic fruit-and-vegetable market. Once named Germain-Dominion, it retains all the cachet and contagious charm of this grand era
This is the tip of the iceberg when you visit Quebec city and much more can and will be written about this cradle of French civilization in North America.