Quebec City Travel Guide: European Romance in North America

This place has continental allure.

A view of Château Frontenac. / Photograph via iStockPhoto

No need to take the time to trek overseas when Québec City is so close: This charming city feels like a European capital, with narrow, winding streets, enchanting architecture, magnificent churches at every turn, famous landmarks (including the most photographed hotel in the world, Château Frontenac), and, of course, everyone speaking French (it’s bonjour before hello every time). —Nicole Scott

WHERE TO STAY / There isn’t a better location than Hotel Manoir Victoria. The stately hotel, built in 1830, is right in the heart of Old Québec, just off bustling, buzzing Rue Saint-Jean, a main thoroughfare that’s packed with shops, cafés, and restaurants. And you’ll feel at home here thanks to a welcoming staff and comfortable rooms (complete with fireplaces!). 4 Côte du Palais; from $205 per night.

WHERE TO EAT / You cannot leave Québec without dining at Chez Muffy, located at the Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel inside a historical warehouse (think: wood beams, exposed stone, tons of character). Just about everything on its elegant farm-to-table menu will impress, most especially the classic chocolate soufflé. You’re also going to want to pay a visit to the burger-centric Le Chic Shack, where the Le Robuste (a decadent, loaded bison burger) is much better than any bison burger has a right to be. Ask to sit in one of the open-air window seats and order your burger, plus poutine to share and a maple-whiskey-spiked salted-caramel milkshake. Speaking of booze: Treat yourself to an old-fashioned (or a Québecois beer, if that’s more your style) and an amazing view of the Saint Lawrence River at Bar 1608, inside Château Frontenac.

INSIDER TIP / Québec is the only walled city on the continent north of Mexico. Its ramparts are about 3 miles long, and they provide an excellent vantage point from which to view the town. If you take only one tour, it should be the guided walking tour along the wall.

TAKE HOME / Leave room in your bag for items from Lambert & Co. The boutique, inside Château Frontenac, sells plaid weekender bags, fur gloves, wooden children’s toys, and handmade home goods.

DAY TRIPPER / At the Wendake reserve (25 minutes by car), you’ll immerse yourself in the culture of one of Québec’s largest Native American nations. Tour the grounds, visit the museum, and eat First Nations–inspired cuisine at La Traite restaurant. Orleans Island on the Saint Lawrence River (15 minutes by car) offers breathtaking vistas, centuries-old homes, and lovely wineries and cider houses. (Try ice cider, a regional specialty.) At Montmorency Falls (15 minutes by car), you can cross a suspension bridge over falls that are higher than Niagara. (The less adventurous might opt for a cable-car ride.)