You’ll find many iconic buildings and places in Quebec City, from grandiose citadels to stately chateaus. As the capital of Quebec Province, this charming European-style city hosts some of the top monuments in all of Canada.

    British and French colonial rule both left their mark in the city’s age-old architectural tapestry, with prominent styles ranging from Ancien Régime to neoclassical and Art Deco. Read on to discover the most emblematic landmarks of one of North America’s oldest European cities.

    1

    Fairmont Le Château Frontenac

    The most extravagant hotel in Quebec

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    • Luxury

    Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is one of the most iconic in the collection of luxury Québécois hotels. Constructed in 1893, this stately Neo-Château-style landmark sits atop the Cap Diamant escarpment, peering down on the Upper Town.

    Some say it’s the most photographed hotel in the world – and upon admiring its fairytale-like turrets and towers, it’s not hard to see why. Even though it was recognised as a National Historic Site in 1980, it’s still a privately operated hotel.

    Location: 1 Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 4P5, Canada

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    2

    Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral

    An awe-inspiring 17th-century church

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    The Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral is Quebec City’s most cherished church, which has plenty of history behind its facade. Built in 1647, it’s the oldest New World parish north of Mexico. Two fires and a military offensive destroyed the building 3 times over the years. The spectacular version you see today was constructed in 1925.

    History aside, the cathedral is a superb example of neoclassical style. Gilded carvings dominate the interior, alongside stately statuettes and rich woven tapestries. Keep an eye out for the enormous stain-glass windows, which illuminate the entire interior on a sunny afternoon. If you’re feeling brave, wander downstairs to explore the historic crypt.

    Location: 16 Rue De Buade, Québec, QC G1R 4A1, Canada

    Phone: +1 418-692-2533

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    3

    Quebec Citadel

    A historic yet active military fort

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    Quebec Citadel is an impressive star-shaped fort that’s been safeguarding the city for hundreds of years. Although the French kickstarted construction in 1750, the British built most of the structure in the 19th-century. Its original purpose was to protect against a potential US invasion. 

    The longstanding institution is the biggest historical fortification in North America – and it remains active to this day. The military facility also serves as the secondary residence to the Canadian Monarch and Governor-General. You can check out military memorabilia at the museum or watch a traditional changing of the guard ceremony (in summer only).

    Location: 1 Côte de la Citadelle, Québec, QC G1R 3R2, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 418-694-2815

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    4

    Parliament Building

    An iconic building housing the Québec National Assembly

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    • History
    • Photo

    The Parliament Building (Hôtel du Parlement du Québec) is an elegant Second Empire-style building home to the state’s National Assembly. Located in the Saint Jean Baptiste District, it sits between Old Quebec (Haute-Ville) and the Plains of Abraham. The 19th-century construction still serves as a critical political hub today. 

    Look for the famous blue-and-white fleur-de-lis flag, which flies proudly from a 52-metre clock tower. On the building's impressive facade, you’ll spot 24 intricate statues depicting notable Canadian figures. City founder Samuel de Champlain and French explorer Jacques Cartier are among the most recognisable names. Guided tours are free.

    Location: 1045 Rue des Parlementaires, Québec, QC G1A 1A3, Canada

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +1 418-643-7239

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    5

    Plains of Abraham

    A historic parkland with numerous intriguing attractions

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    • History
    • Photo

    The Plains of Abraham are historic parklands straddling the Saint Lawrence River in central Quebec City. In 1759, these verdant fields set the scene for the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, a pivotal conflict in the Seven Years’ War.

    Nowadays, the lush public park is a popular spot for outdoor recreation with several unique areas to explore. Its immaculately manicured Joan of Arc Garden features colourful French and English-style flowerbeds. Hit the Plains of Abraham Museum to learn more about the war or visit the ice skating rink to practice your pirouettes. Art lovers will easily find themselves spending hours at the adjacent Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.

    Location: 835 Wilfrid-Laurier Ave, Quebec City, Quebec G1R 2L3, Canada

    Phone: +1 418-649-6157

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    6

    Dufferin Terrace

    A pedestrian-friendly promenade with gorgeous river views

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    • Adventure
    • History
    • Photo

    Dufferin Terrace is an elegant boardwalk enveloping Château Frontenac and offering sweeping Saint Lawrence River views. Unlike the château, the promenade is a public space, so you’re free to wander around on a whim. Lord Dufferin, the Canadian Governor-General, ordered its construction in 1879.

    Pop into one of the panoramic gazebos to admire the view under shelter. Don’t miss the 150-metre Terrasse Dufferin Slides, which daredevil tobogganists zoom down during the annual Quebec Winter Carnival. Once you’re done, hop onto the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec cable railway for a quick but scenic ride to the Lower Town.

    Location: Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 5J5, Canada

    Phone: +1 888-773-8888

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    7

    Place Royale

    A cute historic plaza in the middle of the Old Town

    • Food
    • Families
    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Place Royale is a pretty little plaza in the heart of Old Quebec. The iconic site is the spot where Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. However, the highlight here is the historic Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, a charming chapel with a towering steeple. Constructed in 1688, it’s the oldest stone brick church in North America and continues to hold services today.

    The quaint, cobblestoned plaza also houses a small selection of restaurants and cafés, some of which offer alfresco dining in the warmer months. In December, a large illuminated Christmas tree sits atop a heavy dusting of snow.

    Location: 32 Rue Sous-le-Fort, Québec, QC G1K 4G7, Canada

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 418-692-1650

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    8

    Quebec City Old Port

    A glitzy riverfront district famed for its endearing old-timey vibe

    Quebec City Old Port is a charming riverfront district and a popular spot for docking yachts. Straddling the Saint Lawrence River, the picturesque neighbourhood has a slew of endearing streets to explore. Take a leisurely wander along Rue Sous‑le‑Cap for ritzy restaurants or Rue Saint‑Paul for museums and stores.

    Home to the International Cruise Terminal, it’s the first port of call for passengers in the city. If you’re keen to set sail on a quick pleasure trip, you’ll find several sightseeing cruises departing here. At night, the brightly illuminated Bunge grain silos light up the skyline. Got more time? The Gare du Palais Train Station and Îlot des Palais brewery are other worthwhile sites.

    Location: 57 Rue Saint-Paul, Québec, QC G1K 3V7, Canada

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    9

    Quebec City Mural

    An enormous open-air masterpiece

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    Quebec City Mural portrays the city’s history in one gigantic artistic display. Over 9 weeks, 12 talented French and Québécois artists painted the realism-style fresco, which the city inaugurated in 1999. The mural pays homage to numerous noteworthy figures set to a backdrop of Quebec City’s eclectic architectural styles.

    You’ll find the open-air artwork on the walls of Maison Soumande, a stone’s throw from Place Royale. Like what you see? There’s a solid selection of other colourful murals scattered throughout the city.

    Location: 29 Rue Notre-Dame, Québec, QC G1K 4E9, Canada

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    10

    L’Hôtel de Ville

    A stately building that serves as the City Hall of Quebec

    • History
    • Photo

    L’Hôtel de Ville is the local name for the Quebec City Hall – it’s an impressive 1896 construction built in the Second Empire style. Architect Georges-Émile Tanguay is responsible for designing this iconic edifice, known for its unique classical and medieval influences. Take the time to admire its trademark towers and turrets, which fit seamlessly into the Québécois cityscape.

    Set in the heart of the Old Town, the site sits near the Notre Dame Basilica and Château Frontenac. Photographers and architecture buffs alike will find plenty to admire in this spectacular part of the city.

    Location: 2 Rue des Jardins, Québec, QC G1R 4S9, Canada

    Phone: +1 418-641-6311

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    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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