Don't Miss in Quebec City
Dufferin Terrace above the Old Town and the River offers a one-stop experience blending history, showbiz and commerce: It's close to great restaurants, charming shops, the Old Town and street performers -- mimes, jugglers and the like. Pull up a bench and enjoy!
Stroll through the Plains of Abraham -- also called Battlefields Park -- where the British and French fought in 1759. Today, it's Quebec City's equivalent of Manhattan's Central Park, home to concerts in summer and cross-country skiing and sledding in winter. Enjoy the tranquil gardens and river vistas while envisioning the hard-fought battles there. There's a multimedia show and more than 30 regimental uniforms in the Plains of Abraham Museum (418-648-4071).
Learn more about the battles at the Plains of Abraham and Benedict Arnold's march to Quebec at Musee du Fort, a historic recreation of the six sieges of Quebec. It's conveniently located near Chateau Frontenac and open daily during the spring-fall cruise season.
Join in the hustle and flow around the Place Royale, a centerpiece of Old Town. The young crowd clusters and older folks stop to rest near the regal statue of Louis XIV or at one of the many cafes.
Check out the artists exhibiting along Rue de Tresor (literally Treasure Street) and take a sample home. Choose from watercolors of the Citadel, oil paintings of the Chateau Frontenac, splendid street scenes in varied media and a variety of handicrafts. This daily art show is there through rain and snow and is especially wonderful on a bright sunny day.
The Ile d'Orleans
, just 25 minutes from the Le Vieux Port, is a rustic and beautiful island where time almost seems to stand still. Its wondrous farms, churches, produce stands and quaint shops offer a wonderful respite from the urban port. In spring, sample strawberries; in fall, pick apples off heavily laden trees in the orchards of apple cider makers. (Remember, cider there, as in Europe, is an alcoholic beverage.) Many of the wineries offer samples in tasting rooms overlooking vineyards. Combine a gourmet lunch with wine tasting at Vignoble de Sainte-Petronille vineyard, permanent home to a "food truck" run by hotel Auberge Saint-Antoine's top-rated restaurant Panache.
Have more time and a rental car? Drive to the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, where the cascading falls are one and-a-half times higher than Niagara. Stunning mountain and river views accompany a cable car ride to the top of the cliff where walking trails and a suspension bridge take you to lookout points. Before heading back, stop in the elegant Manoir Montmorency where you'll find a gift shop and interpretation center.
Travel just 15 minutes from Quebec City to enter the fascinating world of the Huron-Wendat Indians, the first peoples to live in this part of Canada. The Huron traditional site, located on the reservation, features guided tours that visit long houses and a museum to explain tribal life in the 17th century. Interactive activities, native food sampling and dance presentations provide a glimpse into their culture and traditional know-how. A short walk through scenic natural surroundings leads to Kabir Kouba Falls by the Saint-Charles River. The center includes a hotel, gift shop and restaurant. (575 Rue Chef Stanislas Koska, Wendake; open year-round; hours and shows vary by season)