Free Things To Do in Quebec City
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Clustered around the city's harbor on the banks of the St. Lawrence River are the quaint stone buildings and narrow, winding streets of Old Québec. This historic neighborhood (and UNESCO World Heritage site) houses some of the city's most notable attractions, including the Citadel, the Quartier Petit-Champlain and the Notre-Dame Basilica. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time here: You'll find it difficult to resist popping into one of Old Québec's artisan shops or stopping to warm up with an aromatic cup of coffee at one of the many charming cafes.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Quebec CityParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Anyone with an interest in colonial history should set aside some time to explore Battlefields Park. Sometimes referred to as the Plains of Abraham, this 267-acre strip of land just west of Old Québec witnessed the sealing of Canada's fate. The Battle of Québec (the pivotal moment of the French and Indian War when the French were forced to cede Canada to Great Britain) took place here.
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To the unknowing eye, this small section in Old Québec may just seem like a pretty place to shop or to grab a cup of coffee. But it is so much more than that: Place-Royale is widely considered to be the birthplace of the French colony and the French-American community. During the 17th and 18th centuries, this area of Old Québec acted as the French colony's center of business and industry, supporting a thriving marketplace and housing many wealthy merchants. While exploring this quaint area, you'll come across several notable tributes to its French Colonial past, including a striking bust of Louis XIV (one of France's most famous kings), the Église Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, the oldest stone church in North America, as well as the Fresque des Québécois, which illustrates 400 years of the city's history. Recent visitors call the area charming and unique and recommend spending time wandering around to take in the sights.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Quebec CityShopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDShopping, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Even shopaholics can't escape this town's devotion to history. Sitting on the southeast edge of Old Québec, the Quartier Petit-Champlain is the oldest shopping district in North America and a great place to pick up souvenirs. Here, boutique shops and cozy cafes spill out of restored houses. And a fun fact: One of the neighborhood's houses belonged to Louis Jolliet, the French Canadian explorer credited with discovering the Mississippi River. To avoid the crowds, recent travelers recommend going either early in the day or in the evening.
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Sitting about 22 miles northeast of central Québec City, this stunning religious site in the small town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré was first constructed in 1658; the current structure was built in the 1920s following a fire. The basilica honors Saint Anne, the patron saint of Québec. Pilgrims travel across the globe to pay their respects to Saint Anne and to benefit from her miraculous healing powers. Legend has it that one of the basilica's original builders began his work on crutches, and was able to walk without them upon the construction's completion. Many visitors commemorate this miracle by leaving a crutch at the front door.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Quebec CityChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
Although the church itself has been rebuilt several times, the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica has stood on the same spot in the heart of Old Québec since 1647, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in North America. The exterior may seem a bit dull (especially compared to the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica just northeast of town), but the bold neo-Baroque interior is breathtaking. Notre-Dame de Québec is gilded in shimmering gold leaf, historical religious paintings and treasures that date back to the French-colonial period. And if you don't mind adding a little spook to your visit, tour the crypt. This part of the facility is the resting place of more than 900 people, including archbishops, cardinals and governors.
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