A visit to Québec City is not complete without a little window shopping! Considering the number of boutiques and stores in the city, this enjoyable activity can be practised just about anywhere.
A charming cobblestone street called rue du Petit-Champlain, located at the foot of the cliff on which stands the Château Frontenac—one of the city's best-known landmarks, is the oldest commercial street in North America. Here you will find exclusive fashions by regional designers, jewellery, decorative objects, Native handicrafts and much, much more. You can take a walk through yesteryear by visiting the numerous antique dealers along rue Saint-Paul, a bustling street located a short distance away in the same neighbourhood. The historical Old Port district comprises many art galleries showcasing the works of Québec artists and Inuit sculptors, as well boutiques specializing in leather clothing and furs.
Your tour of the city is incomplete until you have taken a stroll outside the fortified walls surrounding Old Québec. Walk along rue Saint-Jean in the picturesque Saint-Jean district and browse through the shops offering a wide selection of gift ideas and fine foods.
Day or night, Grande Allée is always a hive of activity. The sunny sidewalk cafés, beautiful architecture and exciting nightlife draw local residents and tourists to this popular thoroughfare.
Running through the heart of the chic Montcalm district is rue Cartier, a must for shopping aficionados. In the Saint-Roch district, you will find rue Saint-Joseph, a street lined with trendy shops and restaurants. More fashionable boutiques and excellent restaurants are located along avenue Maguire in Sillery.
If you want a larger selection of merchandise, then you should visit the city's major shopping centres: Laurier Québec, Place de la Cité, Place Sainte-Foy and Galeries de la Capitale. Hundreds of stores, some of which are exclusive to Québec City, are gathered under one roof.
The Taste of Québec City to Go
Be sure to stop by the Marché du Vieux-Port de Québec (public market) when exploring the city's culinary treasures. This farmer's market is open year-round and also features fine food items and specialized shops.
No matter the weather or time of year, it is always possible to do a walking tour of the city. Thanks to cutting-edge technology (geocaching, markers and transmitters) Centre d'interprétation de la vie urbaine de la ville de Québec / Maison Chevalier, exploring Upper and Lower Town, Old Québec and four hundred years of heritage has never been such fun.
The VivaCité Tour is a 5.3 km (3.3 mile) walking tour that is easy to follow since it is marked by little green circles embedded in the sidewalk. This tour leads you to fascinating discoveries outside traditional tourist areas as it winds through the neighbourhoods surrounding Old Québec.
Three podcast tours, a diversified offer that includes everything from historical sites to parks, provide an entertaining and informative perspective of the attractions visited can be downloaded for free.
You can walk through the Old City to admire the enormous frescoes painted on the walls of various buildings inside the fortifications or near Parliament Hill, but no official walking tour exists that focuses on this particular attraction. These works of art in trompe-l'œil style are giant paintings that illustrate the city's historical or cultural lore. Another dozen frescoes can be found scattered throughout the region, namely in Cap-Rouge, Beauport, Wendake, Côte-de-Beaupré and Lévis.
Festivals and Events
The unending succession of events and festivals throughout the year add to the appeal of the Greater Québec Area tourist offer.
The crowning summer event is the Québec Summer Festival, which draws over one hundred thousand visitors annually. This major musical sensation transforms Old Québec into a mosaic of people and concerts. For eleven days, the streets are filled with the rhythm of world music and Francophone song, and the entire city becomes a gigantic open-air stage. Also on the program: many different musical styles, children's theatre and street performers who captivate the public with their dexterity, skill and daring.
Other summer events include Loto-Québec Fireworks, a firework competition set to music; and the the SAQ New France Festival, which pays homage to the city's French roots.
Now to Plan Your Itinerary...
To fully savour your Québec City experience, draw your inspiration from local residents, who know how to live the good life: bistros, sidewalk cafés, posh restaurants, trendy streets such as Cartier, Maguire and Grande Allée and must-see districts like Nouvo Saint-Roch and Petit-Champlain. Be sure to visit the antique dealers, art galleries, boutiques and the Old Port Market. You can unwind at the end of the day at one of the region's many inns, hotels or spas. And that is the art of living in Québec City!