See Québec City first hand-on foot!

October 4, 2018 -
Le coffre aux trésors d'Hôtel Château Laurier Québec

As we mentioned in a past post, walking tours have long been a popular way for visitors to explore Québec City. Obviously you could just stroll the city streets and explore its narrow passages on your own, but you might enjoy taking a tour led by a professional guide—especially if it’s your first visit. After all, guided tours are a great way to get to know the city, accompanied by someone who can answer all your questions as they pop up. So read on for a few tour suggestions and then slip on your comfiest walking shoes to explore Québec City!

Walking tour in Pointe-aux-Lièvres led by historian and guide José Doré, August 25, 2018. Photo: Suzie Genest.

Relive 400 years of history

As a UNESCO World Heritage City, Québec City has a rich history that will undoubtedly pique your curiosity. Mendel Tours has been offering high quality tours since 1986. Certain packages include meals at high-end eateries and visits to unique historical sites and museums. Tours are available in multiple languages.

One of the most distinctive features of Québec City is the 4.6 km of turreted stone walls that encircle the historic district, making it North America’s last fortified city. Exploring the fortifications is a great way to understand Québec City’s rich military past through its defensive system. Offered by Parks Canada, this tour includes a visit to the Governor’s Garden, a soldier’s bunker within the walls of the Citadelle of Québec, and the powder magazine in Esplanade Park near the Saint-Louis Gate—places not open to the general public.

Certain episodes in Québec City’s history merit special attention because they have a deeper connection to the history of North America as a whole. Historian and guide José Doré takes the time to explore their significance in his specialized guided tours. Learn more about how each side viewed the American invasion, how the Québec City garrison was laid out, how the fortifications held up during the 1775–1776 Battle of Québec, how the British artillery demonstrated its might, where Colonel Benedict Arnold’s headquarters were located, how the December 31, 1775 assault unfolded, and what hardships arose with the cold and the snow.

Civil and religious architecture

If you’re a religious history buff and would like to visit Québec City’s holiest places of worship, the Corporation du patrimoine et du tourisme religieux de Québec has put together a number of interesting themed tours.

The Blessed Founders tour offers a look back at the religious communities that founded the city in the 17th century, and the Religious Old Québec tour opens the doors to some of the city’s splendid churches, including the Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and the neo-Gothic Chalmers-Wesley United Church. Get an exclusive, eye-opening look at Québec City’s religious diversity as you take in the embroidery collection at Musée des Ursulines and the Casavant organ in Chalmers-Wesley United Church.

The Sacred Treasures of Québec City tour ties in well with a visit to the Citadelle of Québec, which includes exclusive access to the military chapel and Georges Vanier memorial. Finally, after the deconsecration of many religious buildings, some churches and chapels have been converted into heritage sites. With the Recycled Religious Heritage tour, visitors can explore Old Québec’s converted religious treasures.

Explore and savor

If you’ve got a taste for local flavor, there are a number of tours that will feed your appetite.

Private food tour with Tours Voir Québec. Photo: Courtesy.

Take a food tour with Tours Voir Québec and explore the charming Petit Champlain neighborhood and Old Port Market in the company of a gastronomic guide. You’ll sample different local products, including cheese, chocolate, ice cider, game meat, beer, maple products, regional cuisine, and other delicacies. Great for families.

A Taste of History by Cicerone Tours is also a great tour for discovering some of the hidden treasur of Old Québec while sampling local products. This special tour includes access to the gardens of Le Monastère des Augustines and a refreshing green smoothie. Note: The ascent from Lower Town to Upper Town is via funicular.

Broue-Tours gives thirsty adults the chance to explore the Québec City brewing scene. The tour includes interesting facts about beer and its history in Québec City, tours of three craft breweries, and nine beer tastings with munchies.

Québec City craft brewery walking tour with Broue Tours. Photo: Courtesy.

Chills and thrills

Or you may want to explore another side of the city—the darker side! A number of companies specialize in tours that highlight strange mysteries, spooky ghost stories, and ghastly crimes and executions in Québec City.

At nightfall, a costumed guide from Visites fantômes de Québec will lead you around the winding streets and old buildings, telling tales of paranormal apparitions and peculiar happenings. Will you be able to tell where history ends and legend begins?

Promenades fantômes offers walking tours like Crimes in New France, or you can take part in the Legends and Superstitions or Crimes in New France interactive street theaters. Most tours are family-friendly. Even your jaded teen will get a kick out of them!

Love a good crime thriller? Take the Bury Your Dead tour  with Tours Voir Québec and follow the trail of landmarks featured in Louise Penny’s best-selling mystery novel by the same name. The tour stops at the Notre-Dame Basilica, Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (Morrin Centre), and Montcalm monument, among other sites. You even get to have tea and dessert at restaurant Le Petit Coin Latin.

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No matter what your taste, budget, or physical condition, there’s a guided walking tour of Québec City for you. The professional guides who lead these tours are skilled storytellers and many have relevant expertise in history, art history, or architecture. If you decide to take a tour, we’d love to hear about your experience!

We’re here to help you plan and make the most of your stay in Québec City. So if you need help finding that special gift, locating a movie theater, booking tickets for a show, or renting a car, contact us any time. We want your visit to be unforgettable!