This article originally appeared on Travelocity.com on June 1, 2016.
There is so much world to explore that I seldom return to the same place more than once. Except for Québec City in Canada. I’ve visited Québec numerous times, in all seasons, and my favorite time to explore is summer. Come along as I share some of the best of summer in Québec City.
UNESCO World Heritage Treasure
Old Québec is the heart of Québec City and a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with authentic European charm. The city, founded in the 1600s, sits on the banks of the massive Saint Lawrence River. While the majority of people today speak French, which is the official language, you won’t have any problems as an English speaker.
The old walled city — the only walled city north of Mexico — is perfect to explore on foot. As you meander the narrow cobbled streets, it is easy to see why millions of people visit each year.
One of the best ways to see Old Québec and explore the history and architecture is with a walking tour. Tours Voir Québec offers a two-hour English tour that takes you to some of the best places in the old town.
The tour starts at the center of Old Québec in the tourism information centre across from the world-renowned Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.
Explore the quaint streets and wander through Place Royal, the square that was home to the first permanent French settlement in North America. Just off the historic square, experience a step back in time with the Old World architecture along Rue du Petit-Champlain.
You will likely stop in your tracks on Côte de la Montagne when you first glimpse the massive Fresque des Québécois mural. This impressive work of art made me do a double-take. Is it real or is it art? The mural shows the story of Québec City with a mix of yesterday and today. Even if you don’t recognize the historic Canadian figures, you’ll love the intricate life that comes alive in the life-size mural.
Stretched along the Saint Lawrence River just out of Old Québec is the Plains of Abraham. This beautiful park, often billed as the Central Park of Québec City, is part of Battlefields Park and home of the Citadelle built in the early 1800s as Britain’s largest fortress in North America.
Across from the Plains of Abraham is Parliament Hill, home to Québec’s government. A beautiful fountain, Fontaine de Tourny, sits outside the Parliament Building. Originally built in Bordeaux, France in the 1850s, the fountain made its way to the city somewhat by chance. A Québec businessman, Peter Simons, found it in a Parisian flea market and shipped it back to Canada in 2003. After he had the fountain restored, he presented it to the city to celebrate Québec’s 400th birthday.
The massive Parliament Building, inspired by the Louvre Palace in France, opened in 1886. Be sure to wander the Parliament Gardens in front of the building. The gardens not only offer a great place to relax and unwind, but are filled with native plants and a collection of edible plants and herbs used in dishes served at Le Parlementaire Restaurant inside the Parliament Building. These urban gardens are pesticide and insecticide free, offering a perfect environment for the honey bees sitting atop many buildings in Québec City.
A Foodie’s Paradise in Québec City
Old Québec is filled with a selection of culinary treats. From chocolate shops and old markets to cafés and fine dining establishments, Québec City is a foodie’s delight.
While wandering downtown, pop into J.A. Moisan, the city’s oldest grocery store that opened in 1871. This still-operating market is a bit of a living museum. Products from Canada, from maple products and chocolates to cheese and local wines, fill the aisles. There are great photos from the past and you can pick up tasty treats at the same time. The deli counter is simply amazing with the most magnificent meats and cheeses.