The province of Québec is a place all its own: It’s a country within a country with its own traditions, architecture, and language. Its two major cities, Montréal and Québec City, illustrate the diverse character of the province.
Montréal has been shaped by Franco-Anglo tensions and an ever-changing wave of immigrants. Because of this, the city is unbelievably diverse and dynamic. Known for its laissez-faire and hedonistic attitude, the city is one of the most artistic and culturally rich places in the country—and can throw a hell of a good party. From the vine-covered alleys to the corkscrew staircases, Montréal should be discovered by foot or bike. Take your time exploring its nooks and crannies, stopping for a coffee in a cozy café or a drink in one of its historic taverns along the way.
Perched on a cliff above the St-Lawrence River, Québec City is the soul of the province: the first city to be founded in Canada, the seat of the Québec government, and the self-proclaimed “Capitale Nationale.” You can still walk the narrow, cobblestone streets of Vieux-Port or pose next to one of the many cannons that line the city’s walls. But a youthful revolution in the old working-class neighborhoods is bringing a daring new quality of art and culture to this historic city.
In both cities, the historic landmarks and 17th-century architecture are captivating. But what will impress you the most is the infectious energy that people exude here. Temperatures drop below freezing in winter but bars and restaurants are still packed, with windows steaming with that unmistakable joie de vivre.
Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Montréal & Québec City.