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Four ways to discover Québec[edit]

Québec offers four different tourist experiences, each with a wide range of activities.

The streets of downtown Montréal, Québec

The City Experience[edit]

Montréal, Québec City and Gatineau are an integral part of Québec’s City Experience. Combining a European feel with the modernity of North America, Québec’s major cities charm visitors with their vibrancy, energy and warmth. The cultural life of these cities is well developed with many festivals, shows and museums, and they also offer high-quality hotels and restaurants.

Québec City[edit]

Each of the major cities offers a new facet of Québec to discover. The capital, Québec City, is the only fortified city in North America and has its own European cachet. The oldest Francophone city in North America, Québec City was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 and will celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2008.


The only Francophone metropolis in North America, Montréal is also the second largest Francophone city after Paris in terms of population.6 This major centre of 3.4 million inhabitants is a tapestry of cultures from the world over with its many neighbourhoods, including Chinatown, the Latin Quarter, the Gay Village, Little Italy, the Plateau Mont-Royal, the Quartier International and Old Montréal, just to name a few.7 Montréal [6] has a rich architectural heritage, along with many cultural activities, sports events and festivals.


Neighbouring Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Gatineau offers a broad mix of both urban and natural tourist attractions. It is host to many cultural and entertainment activities, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Casino du Lac-Leamy. For those who love the outdoors, Gatineau Park has plenty of hiking, interpretation, cross-country skiing and cycling trails.


There are many different resort activities in Québec. Resort accommodations can be found in the countryside or deep in the forest. Here is a brief overview of resort activities in Québec:

  • Spas-Relais Santé: Resorts offering spa treatments for health and well-being. Personalized care such as massage therapy, algotherapy and hydrotherapy.
  • Hôtellerie Champêtre: A network of around 20 inns and hotels in Québec. These establishments have been selected for their personalized welcome, comfort and cuisine inspired by regional products.8
  • Mont-Tremblant Resort: Located in the Laurentides region, Mont-Tremblant Resort is a four-season resort offering activities for the whole family.
  • Bed and breakfasts: Bed and breakfasts are private residences that offer accommodations in up to five rooms and that serve breakfast [1].
  • Tourism routes: You can travel Québec by bike, on foot or by car along its tourism routes.
  • National parks: Québec has 27 protected national parks for exploring nature and enjoying the outdoors.
  • Southern Quebec:Located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River between the major cities of Montreal and Quebec City and the American border. Birthplace of rural life in Canada, this uniquely charming region captivates visitors with its beauty, the richness of its history and the warmth of the people who bring it to life.

The St. Lawrence River[edit]

A whale’s tail in the St. Lawrence River, Québec

The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest rivers in the world and historically was the means of access to the centre of North America. Its 1,800 kilometres (1,120 mi.) are lined with old coastal villages, bird and marine mammal sanctuaries, lighthouses and verdant and rocky shores. The river is one of the largest navigable waterways in the world, and its estuary is known for its wide variety of marine mammals, birds and fish that live there year-round.

Upstream from Montréal to the tip of Gaspésie, a road borders the shores of the St. Lawrence River, allowing drivers to explore a coastline that changes from mountainous to rural to wilderness. At one point, visitors can explore the rich Saguenay Fjord.

The 1,600-kilometre (994-mi.) St. Lawrence River [2] transforms into a gulf that is more like an inland sea. The Gulf of St. Lawrence can be travelled by ferry, sailboat, kayak or cruise ship. Whale watching is very popular in Québec, particularly in Tadoussac.

There are also many islands and archipelagos [3] with rich flora and fauna scattered along the river. The Île d'Anticosti and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine have fascinating legends from sailors and fishermen who continue to live there.


Aboriginal tourism, Baie-James, Québec

For those who enjoy the outdoors and adventure [4], Québec’s wide open spaces have a great deal to offer. There are many outdoor sports, hunting and fishing activities visitors can enjoy:

  • Québec’s outfitters: Québec’s outfitters offer services and accommodations to hunters, anglers, families and those who enjoy the outdoors. They are located in the heart of the forest.
  • Aboriginal peoples: Visitors can discover the traditional way of life of the first inhabitants of the territory, the Aboriginals.
  • National parks: Québec has 27 protected national parks for exploring nature and enjoying the outdoors.
  • Aventure Écotourisme Québec: An association of professional adventure tourism and ecotourism operators in Québec.

St Jean-Baptiste

  • St. Jean-Baptiste (Fête Nationale), province-wide. June 24. The saint day of John the Baptist is also the national holiday of Quebec. With origins in France, the holiday took on major importance in the New World since it coincided with the summer gathering of fur traders. Many Quebecois celebrate the beginning of summer with backyard barbecues and parties at home, but there are also large public events in almost any town in the province, and huge public concerts in Montreal and Quebec City. A great day to see what makes Quebec so special.