The number one visited site in Québec boasts a working fort, a museum (visitors must be part of a group with reservations) and the highly popular Changing of the Guard. The origins of Québec's Citadelle go back as far as the War of 1812, when the Duke of Wellington ordered its construction in anticipation of renewed hostilities with US forces. Today, the 25-plus buildings that comprise the Citadelle make it one of the largest North American forts still occupied by troops. One-hour tours of the grounds are offered daily. Hours and ceremonies are seasonal.
One of Québec City's most famous landmarks, this historic building and hotel has hosted many notables, including Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Prince Rainier, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In fact, several summit meetings between Churchill and Roosevelt were held here, resulting in strategies that helped the Allies win World War II. The 1908 castle-like structure can best be viewed from atop the Citadelle or the Levis Terrace. Worthwhile guided tours are available, led by guides dressed in period attire.
Located inside the city walls, this enormous compound boasts fortifications that date to 1712. Over the years, barracks and officers' quarters, a redoubt, an arsenal and a foundry were constructed in various sectors of the park – all in an effort to protect the St. Charles River. From the 1870s until just after WW II, the park served as one of Canada's most important munitions factories. Today, the park is open to patrons, who are free to tour the grounds, see the exhibits and stop by the visitor center, where they'll see a model of Québec City that dates from around 1808.
This is a must for anyone interested in Native American history. Originally built between 1807 and 1820 for the Huron-Wendat Grand Chief, Nicolas Vincent, the house today serves as a cultural interpretation centre. Inside, there are fascinating exhibits on the archaeology of the site and the history of the people, and visitors are invited to watch Huron-Wendat artisans as they create traditional pieces of moose hair embroidery, porcupine quill-work, pottery and basketry. Outside, the back yard features a traditional garden with medicinal plants and subsistence plants such as corn, beans and squash. Guided tours are available.
Part of a sprawling complex that also includes the Musée de la civilisation, Musée de l'Amérique française, and the Centre d'interprétation de Place-Royale, Maison Chevalier is an impressive structure originally built in 1752 for Jean-Baptiste Chevalier, a wealthy Québecois merchant. Today, the structure incorporates three adjacent circa 1675 buildings, making it a treat for the eyes architecturally. After you're done admiring the exterior, take a look at the interesting historical and cultural exhibits presented inside.
Typical of the 18th century, this restored farmhouse was occupied as such until the 1980s when it was taken over and restored by the Société historique de Charlesbourg. Inside you'll find a number of interesting exhibits on life on a farm in the early days. Open Tuesday and Thursday, and by appointment.
In the early days, Québec had earthen walls. But in 1832, the British erected solid stone ones as a defense against American attack. Today, it's the only walled city in North America, which earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1985. The interpretation centre has in-depth historical exhibits and a path, complete with interpretive signs, follows the walls making a self-guided tour easy and informative. Alternatively, there are two different 90-minute guided tours, which start at the Kiosk Frontenac on Dufferin Terrace and at the Interpretation Centre at 100 St-Louis Street. Call ahead for the schedule.
Built in 1862, this is the former home of François-Xavier Garneau, the first to write a complete a history of Canada. The home is filled with Victorian furnishings, but there's also a magnificent rare book collection and an antique decorated Christmas tree. Several artifacts from the shipwrecked steamer, the Empress of Ireland, are on display here, as well.
Built in 1877 and 1886, this grand building houses the National Assembly, where 125 members of Québec's Parliament spend their time. Built in the Second Empire style, the building is a center of government, history and culture. Twenty-two bronze statues honoring important Québecois dignitaries adorn the front of the building. A lovely fountain honoring the area's first occupants (the Amerindians) graces the main entrance. Guides lead visitors through the National Assembly Chamber where Parliamentary debates occur, and they also show guests the Legislative Council Room and Speaker's Gallery. Plan for your tour to take about 30 minutes. Tours are offered in both English and French.
If you plan to visit Beauport, this is a great place to start. The circa-1800 stone house is at the center of the historic district, and today it houses the Société d'art et d'histoire de Beauport's exhibits about the city's cultural and architectural heritage.