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Guide to Canada's Top Cities

View of a downtown marina.

Photo: Joao Canziani

Quebec City

Find a francophile mecca, with fairy-tale turrets and cobblestoned streets made for romance.


Built in 1893 as an ode to Loire Valley châteaux, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (doubles from $266) is one of the city’s major landmarks. Aristocrat-worthy furnishings, such as carved headboards and antique tapestries, make up for the minuscule size of some rooms (ask for one with a view of the St. Lawrence River). Great Value Loews Hôtel Le Concorde (doubles from $178), just outside Old Town’s storybook walls, gets top marks for its views. Great Value A formerly gritty Holiday Inn, Hôtel Pur (doubles from $155) fits right into rapidly gentrifying St.-Roch. Interiors are awash in charcoal grays and stark whites, with graffiti-inspired art, mod Japanese soaking tubs, and windows that look out onto surrounding steeples.


Don’t be put off by the waitstaff outfitted in period style—even local taxi drivers swear by Aux Anciens Canadiens (dinner for two $75) for home-style Québécois dishes such as duck braised in maple syrup sauce and pheasant served with pork and beans. In a town brimming with boulangeries, Paillard (lunch for two $22) stands head and shoulders above the rest: manned by a Parisian master baker, it turns out whisper-light patisserie, sandwiches on crusty baguettes, and irresistible vanilla-pear jam.


The oldest grocer on the continent, J.A. Moisan stocks English teas, French soaps, and picnic fixings (our favorites: wild boar sausage and a wedge of locally made Cumulus cheese). Clothing boutique Blank is Quebec’s answer to American Apparel—a source for eco-friendly basics like perfectly fitting tees and baby-soft hoodies, all made in the province.


In the heart of St.-Roch, the warehouse-like restaurant Le Cercle morphs into a dynamic performance space after dark. Events range from poetry slams, film screenings, and DJ sets to concerts by folk and indie bands from around the country.

Sidewalk Attraction

Cirque du Soleil began as a humble group of street performers from a small town in Quebec. See them pay homage to their roots when troupe members perform for free under a Highway overpass five nights a week this summer (June 24–Sept. 5; quebecregion.com).

Top Sights by Foot

Musée de la Civilisation
Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Québec
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
La Citadelle de Québec — Kathryn O’Shea-Evans


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