Québec in Eastern Canada is approximately seven hours from the UK but you’ll feel a world away. It’s well worth paying a visit and here’s ten reasons why…
Discover the island city on a cycling or walking tour. Hire one of the bixi bikes and enjoy the 600km network of cycle paths. To get a different view of Montréal try jet boating or rafting on the Lachine rapids, follow this with relaxing on the man-made beach or exploring Mont Royal Park. Don’t miss Old Montréal with its cobbled streets, many boutiques, restaurants and pavement cafés.
Québec is one of the few places in the world where you can see such a wide variety of large sea mammals. There are six species of pinnipeds (seals etc) and 13 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins etc). They are attracted by the river’s wealth of shellfish, which they feast on… and by its impressive depth. Take a whale watching cruise from late May to early October in the St Lawrence River and see how many white beluga, humpback, fin, sperm, minke and blue whales there are.
Québec also has a number of other wildlife including Black Bear and Moose. Black Bears can be found in their natural habitat from June to September near Québec City in the Duchesnay Resort or further afield in the Réserve Faunique des Laurentides. Some hotels also offer Bear observation as an early evening activity. Moose are found in the Jacques-Cartier National Park just 45 minutes from Québec City. They are best seen from the water in the early morning, so try a lake kayak at dawn to spot them.
The only walled city in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a gastronomic walking tour around, visit the Plains of Abraham and the historic citadel. This city blends European charm with modern North American influence. Stay in one of the many hotels including the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac overlooking the St Lawrence River or one of the many boutique hotels including the Auberge Saint-Antoine.
Best food in North America? Home-grown trendy young chefs using the best locally produced ingredients added to a mix of French tradition and modern North American flavours to produce some of North America’s best cuisine. For more information click to Québec Gastonomy.
Québec knows how to party and has over 500 festivals year-round. This summer is the 35th edition of the ‘International Jazz Festival’, listen to Michael Bublé or some of the many other stars. For a laugh, go to the ‘Just For Laughs’ Festival with a variety of international comedians including many British names, such as Jimmy Carr, probably. Both these festivals have over 50 per cent of their shows free of charge and on the city streets. Find out about Québec’s festivals.
Fashion and Design
Montréal is home to a number of chic, ground-breaking young designer-owned boutiques, and seven of their top fashion designers came to London during London Fashion Week. Montréal was also the first North American City to be appointed a UNESCO City of Design (2006) as only in Montréal does a simple stroll seem like time travel with a surprising mix of sky scrapers and quaint cobbled streets bursting with boutiques, bistros, and pavement cafes.
Québec has lots of national parks throughout the Province, including Jacques-Cartier National Park and the Duchesnay Resort just 45 minutes from Québec City. These parks offer numerous activities including hiking, cycling and kayaking. Get out of the car and enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife Québec has to offer. Sépaq also has plenty of accommodation options including huttopia, yurts, hékipia, cabins and a few hotels.
Try Québec in winter with skiing in Tremblant, just 90 minutes from Montréal and a pedestrianised village so everything is close at hand. Enjoy some of the other winter activities including a winter city tour including skiing, skating and sledding across Montréal, or try snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing and dog sledding. Take part in the biggest winter carnival in Québec City in January and combine that with a visit to Village Vacances Valcartier, a snow park, with over 35 slides to suit thrill seekers.
There are a number of spas throughout Québec, including Spa Eastman, just a short drive from Montréal and in the heart of the Eastern Townships. Take part in one of their Raw Food Weeks, or just enjoy their fine dining, yet healthy food throughout the year. They aim to source all their food organically and locally. Spa Eastman is surrounded by breathtaking countryside so enjoy the walks and the fresh air. This 326-acre haven offers various treatments aimed at relaxing both body and mind.
You can find out more information by going to the Québec Original website.