If Canada's a puzzle, Quebec's a huge piece. Literally. (Consider that France would fit inside of it three times.) Remember,
"New France" was here first, and
Francophones claim a certain pride of first arrival. There is an élan about French Canada, a European
je ne sais quoi that charges it up.
can dance. It wears its hair down and its heart on its sleeve. It knows its history and can sing it-in the shower or at any little
boîte àchanson you care to name.
, Quebec's commercial and cultural hub (and second-largest city in Canada), has a cosmopolitan vibe unmatched in Canada. (Privately or not, it's many Canadians' favourite city: it's the cool, mysterious kid we wanted to be like.) And visiting
, the walled provincial capital that's like nothing in North America, well, that's like stepping back into a time when beavers were currency and rivers were roads-the first draft of Canada, if you like.
To light out then to the regions-the sugar maples of the
, the whales of the
, the rock sentinels of the
-is to round out the picture of la belle province.
Québec is more extreme than the R.O.C. (Rest of Canada), and that includes its weather: hot summers and cold winters. That cold aside, winter may just be the best time to visit, what with
(Winter Carnival king) lumbering around in Quebec,
alive with skiers and the
Habs in perennial contention for the
Stanley Cup. But summer's pretty great, too, what with all that jazz floating down
Québec. Gotta love it. Tout le kit.
Quebec in a nutshell:
Fresh sheet: bagels,
tourtière, maple syrup on ice, smoked-meat sandwiches
· Beer: Molson Export
Museum of Civilization,
The Plains of Abraham,
Lachine Canal National Historic Site,
Gilles Vigneault (Unofficial Anthem: Mon Pays, Ce N'est Pas un Pays: C'est Hiver)
· Background music:
(Unlikely musical double-bill:
and Arcade Fire)
(French/English musical bridge:
Kate & Anna McGarrigle)
· Pavilion by:
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, La La La Human Steps,
Montréal Symphony Orchestra
· Written in stone:
Mavis Gallant (with help from: Marie-Claire Blais, Yann Martel)
Courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
"We welcome our readers' input and personal travel tips. To share feedback on this article, please click below."
Others have made submissions which you may find of interest:
View Article Comments
Meet Great Writers
On These Pages|
Search For Travel Articles
Informative articles organized
by your favourite writers.
Destination Index by Author