With its unique blend of French roots and a modern melting-pot sophistication, Quebec has a unique climate where culture can thrive, a definite draw for visitors. Added to its cultural intrigue, Quebec has a land mass nearly three times the size of France and is compromised of all kinds of weather and terrain. Such a blend lends this Canadian province a country-within-a-country feel. Add to these features the exquisite cuisine found in Quebec and you’ve got a vacation destination sure to be on the list of favorites.

Quebec City is agreed by most to be an excellent beginning of a vacation in Quebec. Compared to more modern areas, this town is considered the soul of the province and is rich in history. See for yourself with a visit to Old Quebec, the oldest fortified town in North America. On this leg of the journey, the Petit-Champlain District, Place Royale, Plains of Abraham, and the Parliament Building are highlights not to miss. Continue on to admire the stained glass, paintings, mosaics, and sculptures at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. This basilica is the oldest pilgrimage site north of Mexico and is one of five in national shrines in Quebec. Be sure to carve out time for the Onhoüa Chetek8e Huron Traditional Site to learn about the indigenous Huron-Wendat nation.

Quebec City is not all about museums and history, however. Just 15 minutes from downtown you’ll find Montgomery Falls. Almost 100 feet higher than Niagra Falls, this waterfall can be enjoyed by gondola, suspension bridge or for thrill seekers, a double zipline. Travel northwest for only 40 minutes and you’ll find yourself in beautiful Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. In this breathtaking mountainous plateau of deep valleys and expansive rivers, you’ll find adventures in hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking, camping and fishing all around.

After your stay in Quebec City and its nearby countryside, continue to Montreal. Like Quebec City, this town is rich in history and plenty is found in Old Montreal’s charming town squares full of art galleries, shops, cafes and parks. The Botanical Gardens and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts offer a more cosmopolitan atmosphere along with endless popular festivals featuring artists, writers, and musicians. Montreal also offers excellent shopping and, notably, excellent food.

When it’s time to take a break from city life, consider Charlevoix. A yearlong playground, visitors welcome springtime with whale watching as the bitterness of winter fades. As summer begins in earnest and even into the fall, they find entertainment in two excellent national parks, Les Grands-Jardins and Hautest-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie, for hiking, kayaking, and camping. Finally, rounding it out, the outdoor fun continues with skiing and snowboarding come winter.

Finally, the cuisine of Quebec. Although French at heart, the food has been influenced by so many varieties of cultures over the course of time that it’s come to have a unique flair all its own. Quebec has long been known for its maple syrup production. In fact, sugar in general plays a big role in Quebec’s famed cuisine. Tarte au Sucre (sugar pie) and pouding chômeur (a pancake-like pudding) are found throughout the area and should be tried whenever possible to taste the local differences. Quebec cheese has a fame all its own, as do the savory flavors found in poutine (French fries, gravy and cheese curds), Pâté Chinois (a Canadian shepherds pie), and the traditional tourtiere (meat pie). No matter what flavor you’re craving, you’ll find the perfect dish to match it in Quebec.

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