Guidebooks promote the European flavour of Quebec City, where you can stroll the cobblestone streets, see the fortified walls and soak up 400 years of history. While this is a popular tourist destination, and worth a visit, it represents a small slice of what the Quebec City region has to offer.
If you went to New York City, would you like to stay near Times Square?
Would you prefer being surrounded by tourists, or having a more representative feeling of what it is to live as a New Yorker?
If you prefer to explore off the beaten tourist track for a more québécois experience, venture out and discover what the Quebec City region has to offer.
Quebec City region: Urban vibe vs nature
With its roughly 700,000 inhabitants, Québec City is relatively small, especially for a provincial capital. The heart of the city is divided in Upper Town and Lower Town (haute-ville and basse-ville in French), and the historic neighborhood spreads both uptown and downtown around the Cap Diamant.
The Old City, with all its historic and European charm, is very crowded, especially in the summer. It’s a lovely place to spend the day and to go out at night, but if you stay within the walls (it’s a fortified city), you would be missing the real Quebec vibe!
Though Quebec City has a thriving urban life, nature is also a big part of its appeal for tourists and residents alike. A 30-minute drive from the heart of the city will bring a drastic change in scenery: mountains and vast forests! And Quebecers love that closeness to the countryside, all year round.
Experience the best Quebec City has to offer (while keeping it on-budget)
Consider taking the path less traveled (pun intended) and choosing a more québécois vacation spot outside of the city. You can enjoy the great outdoors and have the option for a day trip to the city. Quebec City is easily accessible by highways and main roads, and is serviced by public transit, if you ever want to leave the car outside of the old district. Many vacation rentals are available with kitchen facilities, which keep the costs down, especially when travelling as a family.
For larger family groups exploring Quebec, the family oriented Domaine du Lac Labbé, with its private lake and fully equipped cottages, is really the best of both worlds. You’re just 90 minutes away from downtown Québec City, while onsite there are activities for all ages. The husband/wife proprietors are anglophone and francophone who have lived in the region since 2006 and are happy to help you explore the region.
Old Québec City and the peace and calm of the mountains. A dream vacation – yours for the taking.