The 400th anniversary celebrations may be over but Canada's birthplace still offers plenty of opportunities for family revelry. History is alive here! Costumed interpreters, street performers, age-old fortresses, castles and acres of green space stoke childrens' imaginations. The city's links to the Acadians who settled this area as well as some portions of the Northeastern United States help bring classroom history lessons to life. Delicious, kid-friendly foods (like poutine and sugar-pie), a multicultural and welcoming atmosphere, and an easygoing French spirit makes vacationing easy, but leaving hard.
You may enjoy Québec City the most in the summer, when warm days and plenty of festivals make walking the Old City's cobblestone streets easy and fun. Expect plenty of tourists and the need for a sweater in the evening hours. For families traveling with youngsters who are keen on winter activities, the proximity to Mont Ste. Anne ski hills and the famed Winter Carnaval, and trucks offering taffy-topped snow deserts will make choosing where to start the toughest part of the trip. Crowds are worst during the Canadian March Winter Break.
Québec weather typically moves through the four seasons with the seasonal differences one might expect of a northern city, although the fluctuations in temperature are less predictable of late. Expect warm summers with cool evenings and substantial snow fall in the winter. Dressing in layers is a good idea throughout the year.
The hardest part about getting to Quebec City will be remembering to get a passport (and you WILL need one if you're traveling from outside Canada). Québec City is accessible by direct flights to Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) on several airlines including Air Canada, Continental, Northwest Airlines, United, Air Transat, Westjet and Porter Airlines. Train travel to Quebec City is available on Via Rail to Quebec City's Gare du Palais train station from across Canada with connections to Amtrak in several cities.
The Ecolobus -- an electrical bus gifted to the city from the government for the 400th anniversary -- is a fantastic way to get around Old Québec City. Each of the eight buses can carry up to 21 passengers and they arrive at clearly marked stops on the continuous loop every 10 minutes. Driving isn't difficult though one way streets can make it a bit tedious. The easiest way to get around the key attractions is often on foot or by bicycle (particularly if you're staying in Old Québec). For places further afield taxis are readily available and the local bus system is easy to use.
Maybe it's the fluctuating temperatures in the summer or the inevitable damp cold of winter that makes the festivals of Quebec City so vibrant. Locals seem to live a Joie de Vie philosophy that is evident in the kaleidoscope of reasons they find to celebrate.
For more information on Québec City tourism, visit www.quebecregion.com.
City Passports offers discounted admission to popular Québec sites. You can find hotel package deals and specials online at www.quebecregion.com. Checking individual attraction websites is also a good idea as many offer seasonal discounts and specials.
Québec celebrated it's 400th anniversary in 2008 with a nightly Circus performance -- Cirque du Soleil now comes back every summer for the next 4 years to perform for free in the heart of the city.
Québec's Montmorency Falls are 275 feet (84 meters) high; a full 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls.
The pivotal Battle of the Plaines of Abraham took less than an hour, and killed both the British General Wolfe and the French leader Montcalm.
Le pont de Québec is the longest cantilever bridge in the world, measuring over 3,239 feet (987 meters).
Quebec city is "the most bombed place in North America" thanks to historical conflicts between the British and the French.