Québec: La Belle Province with European Charm
Québec is more than just a capital city – or a province – it’s a world apart.
It’s the home of poutine, Bonhomme Carnaval, the Montréal Canadiens hockey team, Céline Dion (when she’s not hanging out in Vegas), and Cirque du Soleil. So it’s no wonder that much of the world thinks of Québec when they think of Canadian culture.
As one of Canada’s oldest and most storied provinces, Québec is a place that is steeped in history, architecture, heritage and French-Canadian traditions that go back 375 years. Its capital city, Québec City, reflects its European roots with an historic centre surrounded by stone walls, narrow cobbled streets, and the castle-like appearance of the Chateau Frontenac, (arguably one of the most photographed hotels in the world.)
Certainly Québec’s residents (les Québécois) are proud of their uniqueness and heritage, and you’ll want to polish up your French, especially if you are travelling to some of the charming smaller communities. But it would be wrong to think that this province lives in its past. Modern culture is alive and well here, and no matter when you visit, you’re sure to find a festival celebrating music, comedy, food, sport, or the season itself.
Visitors to cosmopolitan Montréal will find a vibrant city with world-class gastronomy, fashion, boutique hotels, and a stunning geographic setting. Mont Tremblant is home to world-class ski hills and a hopping après-ski scene. And Gatineau, which sits across the river from the nation’s capital, Ottawa, boasts the architecturally impressive Canadian Museum of Civilization.
And if you are looking for nature and the great outdoors, Québec has more than enough to satisfy the most intrepid traveller with 1.6 million square kilometres to explore – and adventures to help fill every bucket list, from whale-watching excursions in the St. Lawrence river to salmon fishing at a remote fly-in lodge.
But the one thing that truly sets les Québécois apart from many of their more conservative countrymen is their joie de vivre. This passion for life may be the real reason why visitors to La Belle Province, including other Canadians, feel like they’ve experienced a world apart.
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