The Quebec Province of Canada lured us into their cities by the sheer French influence of the region. Strolling merrily down the cobblestone streets of Quebec transported us back to our fond memories of walking down the quaint streets of Paris. With rich history, delectable food offerings, and aesthetically pleasing architecture, both Montreal and Quebec City have a lot to offer their visitors. We took a week off over Fourth of July week to visit these two cities, ending the week with a 3-day visit to New York City. This itinerary focuses only on Montreal and Quebec City.
French Canada Travel Guide
If this is your first trip to the French province, check out our Montreal & Quebec City Travel Guide. This guide includes everything you need to know for your first trip to Montreal & Quebec City, including best neighborhoods to stay in, how to get around the cities, manners and customs, etc.
This itinerary is good for:
- Lots of Eating
This is a jam-packed itinerary but no worries. Many of the historic sites can be a quick walk through and won’t take you long to see the important pieces. Here is a summary of the four days we spent between Montreal and Quebec City. You can read through the entire itinerary (which we highly suggest you do!), or skip to more details about a specific day.
|Day 1: Fly to Montreal & Explore Montreal|
|Day 2: Exploring Montreal Part II|
|Day 3: Travel to Quebec City by Train, Explore Old Quebec|
|Day 4: Quebec City & Montmorency Falls|
**A note on accommodations: Both of the Airbnbs we stayed while in Montreal & Quebec City are no longer listed. However, we recommend staying in the Plateau neighborhood in Montreal and Old Quebec district in Quebec City as they were easy to get to and from attractions.**
We took a red eye flight to Montreal to optimize our short time in French Canada. We landed around 7am local time and took an Uber to our Airbnb located in the heart of Plateau in between La Fontaine and Laurier parks. After dropping off our luggage, we went straight to exploring the city of Montreal on foot.
|1. Walk through Old Montreal|
|2. View the jaw-dropping Basilica Notre-Dame|
|3. Fest on a giant bowl of noodles at Nouilles de Lan Zhou|
|4. Explore Downtown Montreal|
|5. Chill around Mount Royal and climb to the overlook or participate in various seasonal activities|
|6. Enjoy fireworks at L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec at La Ronde amusement park (July 4th only)|
1. VISIT OLD MONTREAL
2. VIEW THE JAW-DROPPING BASILICA NOTRE-DAME
Running down the heart of Old Montreal, Rue St-Paul is one of the oldest streets in Montreal and is barely a mile long. However, you will find a ton of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and art galleries for your enjoyment.
4. FEAST ON A GIANT BOWL OF NOODLES AT NOUILLES DE LAN ZHOU
5. EXPLORE DOWNTOWN MONTREAL
Downtown Montreal is a compact but central business district in Montreal. It mixes business district with high-fashion shopping, popular art museums, trendy food, and a variety of entertainment.
6. CHILL AROUND MOUNT ROYAL
- Beaver Lake (Lac aux Castors)
- Mount Royal Overlook
- Tams Tams (Spring – Fall)
7. ENJOY FIREWORKS AT L’INTERNATIONAL DES FEUX LOTO-QUEBEC AT LA RONDE (JULY 4TH ONLY)
L’International des Feux Loto-Quebec, also known as the Montreal Fireworks Festival, is the largest fireworks festival in the world. Each year, the festivals draws an estimated three million spectators, all whom watch world-renowned companies participate in this fireworks competition at La Ronde amusement park.
|1. Visit Montreal Botanical Garden|
|2. Snack freshly baked bagels from St-Viateur Bagel Shop|
|3. Walk through Parc La Fontaine|
|4. Eat an AMAZING pastrami sandwich at Schwartz's|
|5. Attend the Festival international de Jazz de Montréal|
|6. Grab a late night poutine snack at La Banquise|
1. VISIT MONTREAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
Spanning 185 acres, the Montreal Bontanical Garden is home to more than 22,000 species of flora and offers scenic year-round exhibits. Due to its expansive size, you can spend a good couple of hours here, strolling around and viewing the different sections of the garden.
2. SNACK ON FRESHLY BAKED BAGELS FROM ST-VIATEUR BAGEL SHOP
3. WALK THROUGH PARC LA FONTAINE
4. EAT AN AMAZING SMOKED MEAT SANDWICH AT SCHWARTZ’S
5. ATTEND THE FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE JAZZ DE MONTREAL
6. GRAB A LATE NIGHT POUTINE SNACK AT LA BANQUISE
La Banquiseis an all-night diner for Québécois grub & local microbrews, with many poutine options & hefty breakfasts. This place is popular among tourists so expect a line. La Banquise is 24/7 but we all know that the best time to eat poutine is after a night out 😉
It’s time to leave Montreal and head to Quebec City today. You have 2 options of getting to Quebec City from Montreal: air or train. We took a 3-hour train via VIA Rail Canada since it was more cost-efficient. We took the first train in the morning departing Montreal at 8:53am and arriving in Quebec City at 12:06pm. The Quebec train station was a short 15-walking distance to our Airbnb. After dropping off our luggage, we headed off to start our first day eating lunch and then exploring the old city of Quebec.
|1. Enjoy crepes at Le Billing|
|2. Visit La Citadelle of Quebec|
|3. Stroll Old Quebec|
|4. Visit Basilique Cathédrale-Notre-Dame-Quebec|
|5. Walk on Terrasse Dufferin|
|6. Walk down Quartier Petit Champlain|
|7. Fine dine at Restaurant Initiale|
1. ENJOY CREPES AT LE BILLING
Le Billing is neighborhood eatery specializing in sweet & savoury crêpes, coffee & wine. The duck confit crepe was absolutely devine!
2. STROLL OLD QUEBEC
Old Quebec is full of vibrant life and history. Comprising the Upper Town and Lower Town, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. VISIT NOTRE-DAME DE QUEBEC BASILICA-CATHEDRAL
Built and existing in the same spot since 1647 and located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Notre-Dame de Quebec-Basilica-Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in North America.
4. WANDER THROUGH PLACE-ROYALE
Place-Royale is full of life and activity despite its small size. Paved with cobblestone streets, this is where French American was born, as the first French settlement was started here in 1608. Today, the town square serves as the main marketplace and center for business activity.
5. WALK ON TERRASSE DUFFERIN
6. WALK DOWN QUARTIER PETIT CHAMPLAIN
Quartier Petit Champlain is a short and narrow cobblestone street filled with unique shops and boutiques. Strolling down this charming street is a reminiscence of Old Europe.
Today we’re venturing out to Montmorency Falls Park where you can zipline across a waterfall! How often do you get to do that?! Then spend the afternoon exploring Musee de la Civilisation, the coolest and most interactive museum we’ve been to. End the night by enjoying the view of Quebec City from Bastion-de-la-Reine Park.
|1. Zipline across a waterfall at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, aka Montmorency Falls Park|
|2. Indulge in delectable chocolate and ice cream at Chocolato rue Saint-Jean|
|3.Spend the afternoon exploring Musee de la Civilisation|
|4. Enjoy an intimate dinner at Cafe St-Malo|
|6. Enjoy the sunset and night views of Quebec City at Bastion-de-la-Reine park|
1. ZIPLINE ACROSS A WATERFALL AT PARC DE LA CHUTE-MONTMORENCY
Located outside of Quebec City, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, or Montmorency Falls Park in English, contains, well, a waterfall (duh!). At this park, you can zipline, hike, bike, and various winter activities such as snowshowing and ice climbing. We ziplined across the waterfall and despite my terrifying fear of heights, it was exhilarating and fun. I wish I could do it again!
2. STROLL DOWN RUE SAINT-JEAN
Rue Saint-Jean houses a string of boutiques, restaurants, churches, historic buildings, and occasional live performers that create a unique and lively atmosphere. During the summer, the street is closed to traffic.
3. INDULGE IN DELECTABLE CHOCOLATE AND ICE CREAM AT CHOCOLATO RUE SAINT-JEAN
Located on Rue Sanint-Jean street, Chocolato is a chocolatier specializing in, well, chocolate alongside artisanal gelato, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, and homemade desserts. Perfect for the sweet tooth chocolate lover.
We recommend the soft-serve vanilla ice cream dipped in creamy noisette, or hazelnut, chocolate. We also had a few of their chocolate truffles which we thought were just okay. Just stick with the soft-serve dipped in chocolate and you can’t go wrong!
4. SPEND THE AFTERNOON EXPLORING MUSEE DE LA CIVILISATION
Set in Old Quebec, Musee de la Civilisation is a cultural and eye-opening experience for visitors of all ages. The museum holds various exhibits ranging from exploration of ancient civilization to understanding the fascinating inner workings of the human body.
The Musee de la Civilisation is a cultural and eye-opening experience for visitors of all ages. The museum holds various exhibits ranging from exploration of ancient civilization to understanding the fascinating inner workings of the human body.
5. ENJOY AN INTIMATE DINNER AT CAFE ST-MALO
Tucked away on a quiet street of Quebec City, Cafe St-Malo offers authentic French cuisine in a cozy but charming and intimate atmosphere. Their kitchen is small, so reservations are required.
6. ENJOY THE SUNSET AND NIGHT VIEWS OF QUEBEC CITY AT BASTION-DE-LA-REINE PARK
Walk up to Bastion-de-la-Reine park, accessible via Avenue Saint-Denis for sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River, the Dufferin Terrace, and Château Frontenac. At night, the city is sweeping in lights and the atmosphere is magical.
If you have an extra day to spare in Quebec City, we highly suggest venturing out and exploring Parc National de La Jacques-Cartier (or Jacques-Cartier National Park in English). We weren’t able to do this due to time constraints but it looks amazing! Have you visited Jacques-Cartier National Park before? What did you think?