Photo: Pedestrians passing shops and eateries

A European atmosphere flavors the Quartier Petit Champlain in Quebec City's Old Town.

Photograph by Yves Marcoux, Getty Images

Canada’s oldest established city, Quebec City, located on the St. Lawrence River, celebrated its 400th birthday in 2008. The Old Town is pleasantly walkable, with lots of open spaces. Stroll Place Royale, where Champlain and his men first settled. Tour the Parliament Building, home to the Quebec Parliament. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the river, Le Château Frontenac looks like a fairytale castle and is actually a Fairmont hotel (and supposedly the world’s most photographed). The hotel even has a Canine Ambassador, a Labrador/Bernese mountain dog mix named Santol, who hangs out in the lobby greeting guests.

Where to Play

Bike around the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City’s answer to Manhattan’s Central Park. Covering nearly 450 acres (180 hectares), the park is a great place to picnic and explore. In the winter, you can cross-country ski and snowshoe here. At the Musée de la Civilisation, hands-on exhibits and collections teach visitors about Quebec’s centuries-old history. The kids will especially enjoy the costume workshop. For a view of the old port, stroll along the Rue des Remparts, which are nearly 20 feet (6 meters) high.

At Day’s End

Cosmos Café has a kids’ menu and a funky vibe. A section of the floor is made of glass, so that you can watch the fish swimming below.


For more information about Quebec City, go to

Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux

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