Discover more than 400 years of history in the cradle of French civilization in North America! Old Québec is famous for its European charm and well-preserved architectural treasures. The entire district, which is best explored on foot, is a living history book, and every garden, building and street corner is its own chapter.
Here are the city's 10 must-see historic attractions:
1 Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
History is everywhere in Old Québec—down every street, at every monument and inside every historical building.
The eminently walkable fortified city has a unique European feel and is extraordinarily well preserved after 400 years. You’ll love the look and charm of its lovely neighbourhoods and architecture.
2 The Founding Nations Heritage
Québec City is marked by the history of a people unique in North America, strong and proud of its Aboriginal and European ancestry.
Come meet First Nations people who are proud of their origins and witnesses to the history that shaped our country. Many buildings and remains also testify to the legacy and the founding of New France as well as the period when it came under British rule after many battles. You’ll see the influence of both nations in various important sites that are now attractions open to the public.
3 The National Historic Sites of Canada
Explore the Fortifications of Québec, which span close to 4.6 kilometres around Old Québec. They're one of a kind this side of Mexico! Then wander over to Artillery Park, where characters in period costume will welcome you to defensive buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Take in the history of a site where decisions that affected all of North America were made at Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux, an archaeological crypt revealed beneath the Dufferin Terrace.
And round off your trip by learning all about Jacques Cartier's first winter in Québec City in 1535 and the history of the Jesuits at Cartier-Brébeuf Park.
4 The Citadel and the Military Tradition
Wander round the "Gibraltar of the Americas" on Cape Diamond!
A key part of the city's fortifications, the star-shaped Citadel showcases Québec's military history. The Royal 22e Régiment museum (housed in a 1750 powder magazine and a military prison dating back to 1842), the summer military ceremonies (changing of the guard, firing of the cannon) and the Governor General of Canada's official residence are all worth seeing.
5 Plains of Abraham
See where Canada was born!
Explore the Battlefields Park, scene of battles between the French and English forces (Montcalm-Wolfe in 1759, Lévis-Murray in 1760). The park is not only one of the world's finest city parks, it is also a lasting reminder of the site's storied past. Numerous exhibitions and interpretation activities are also offered to discover this heritage site.
6 Parliament Building
Get to know the men and women who have left their mark on Québec's political history. The imposing facade of the Parliament Building bears 26 bronze statues that pay them tribute.
Come inside and look around this impressive building built between 1786 and 1886. The National Assembly Chamber, home to Québec's parliamentarians, the Legislative Council Room, the Speakers' Gallery, and the renowned restaurant Le Parlementaire are also worth a visit.
7 The Old Churches
Churches are to Québec City what castles are to Europe: architectural marvels.
Québec is a real treat for heritage buffs. You'll be amazed by the crypt at the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, the final resting place of four governors of New France; Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church, which was built in 1688 and is the oldest stone church in North America; the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine and the many other churches in the region that are over 100 years old!
8 Île d'Orléans
Take a tour of the island to discover the birthplace of New France and many beautifully preserved historic buildings.
Enjoy stunning views of the St. Lawrence River at Parc maritime de Saint-Laurent and learn about the region's maritime history. Relive the settlers’ lifestyle in Maison Drouin, a typical house that has preserved its authenticity. Finally, trace the genealogical history of 300 families who settled on the island at the beginning of the colony while visiting Maison de nos Aïeux.
9 The Historic Museums
Over the years, several archaeological digs have uncovered objects that bear witness to Québec's rich history.
L’Îlot des Palais is an immersive exhibition taking shape in the 18th century vaults of one of Québec’s most archeologically significant historic sites. At Musée des Augustines, the nuns have preserved nearly 40,000 objects from their work with patients since the time of the first hospital in North America.
10 The Tourist Routes
Admire heritage homes, mills, and churches along the New France Route, one of the oldest thoroughfares in all of North America. Or explore Chemin du Roy in the Portneuf region. Built in 1737, it was the first highway between Québec City and Montréal.
The New France Festival
Early August is the time to be whisked back to the days of New France in the authentic surroundings of Old Québec. Costumed parades, street entertainment, shows, plays, historical reenactments and public markets provide a window onto bygone days at this exciting historic festival!