Words by Lucy Jones
Said to be ‘more French than the French’, the citizens of the province of Quebec are proud Traditional Canadians. Here are five things to do whilst there to make sure you experience the best the city has to offer.
If you can’t stretch to a stay at the Chateau Frontenac (where rooms start at around $450 per night), get a little taste at the hotel’s 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar. The bar itself is beautiful, the views over the St Lawrence River are stunning and there’s a huge selection of local cheeses in a dedicated Cheese Room.
The national dish of Quebec, poutine is French fries topped with a gloopy mix of squeaky cheese curds and gravy. Quebecers are very serious about their poutine and you’ll find versions of it everywhere from roadside takeaway stands to trendy restaurants. Trust me, it tastes better than it looks.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre
In the tiny village of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, around 30 kilometres outside of Quebec City, stands a stunning Catholic basilica that wouldn’t be out of place in Paris or Rome. A church has stood on the site since the mid 1600s, though the current building dates from the 1940s. Half a million pilgrims visit each year, drawn by the supposed healing qualities of Saint Anne. There’s even a wall of crutches left behind by those who’ve been cured.
Niagara, eat your heart out. Montmorency Falls, just outside of Quebec City, stands a full 30 metres tall than its more famous neighbour. In summer, take the new zipline that flies 300 metres across the top of the falls, right through the pounding spray of the water. In winter it’s even more spectacular. The falls freeze almost completely and rugged-up adventurers can climb up the icy face or snowshoe through the surrounding park.
Changing of the Guard
A classically British tradition takes place every day in summer at La Citadelle de Quebec. Soldiers from the Royal 22nd Regiment are decked out in the same bright red coats and black fur hats you’d see at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard. Look out for the regimental mascot, Batisse the Goat.