More than anywhere else, Quebec is France’s great New World legacy and Francophone culture is more stridently championed here than anywhere else in the world. This has long made Quebec Canada’s problem child: a province so determined to carve a future in line with its past that it often ignores the culture and trends in the rest of Canada. The sun may be setting on talk of separation – due to battle weariness and more cosmopolitan outlook of a younger generation – but, for the visitor at least, differences between francophone Canada and the rest continue to fascinate and help make Quebec an intriguing and rewarding destination.
Quebec’s main and greatest city is two million-strong Montreal (double that size if you include adjacent towns). It’s an undeniably rag-tag place: a seething mix of writhing highways; congested intersections, potholed roads, strongly immigrant neighborhoods and iconic modernist architecture. Its skyscrapered downtown provides a pivot, but only a scant focus for the rest of the city, which looks to its old town, parks and gardens, bridges, key streets and civic landmarks for its identity – at least when it’s not wholeheartedly distracted by some festivity. The annual comedy festival and a Formula-1 race are foremost among them, but there are many. All this – and the dynamism of its restaurant, bar and nightlife scenes – help make Montreal Canada’s most happening city.
Most of Montreal’s cosmopolitan excitement has long ebbed away by the time you reach, Quebec City, a three-hour drive northeast of Montreal. This provincial capital also has a provincial feel, thanks in part to its architectural roots. A walled city and narrow cobbled streets are the focus here, beguiling all those who love to be mentally transported to Europe.
Outside its two great cities Quebec is a very different place; tidy provincial towns provide hubs but leave the landscape to become the main attraction. East of Montreal this comes in the shape of the Eastern Townships, a medley of small towns that dot the rolling hills on the border of Vermont. Northwest of Montreal the more substantial hills of the Laurentians lure skiers and hikers to various resort towns and particularly Mont Tremblant.
Northern Quebec – broadly all that north of Quebec City – is far more lightly explored by visitors although there’s plenty for those willing to invest the time and effort. Key attractions include Tadoussac, famed for whale watching, Lac Saint Jean is a lovely place for gentle bike touring, while it’s on the Gaspe peninsula that Quebec finds a craggy windblown identity.
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Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in C$.
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $5 per person
$$ => Tickets $6-15 per person
$$$ => Tickets $16 per person
$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $101-200 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $201 for a double
$ => $1-20 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$ => $21-40 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $41 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-30 per person
$$$ => Tickets $31 per person