The Streets of Old Québec City

By Kate Riley August 13, 2012

Last week, we were on vacation on a whirlwind trip to New York City and then a road trip north across the border to two places we’ve always dreamed of visiting, Montréal and Québec City.  We loved both!

After visiting, I have discovered Québec City to be one of the most beautiful and charming places in all of North America.  (Pics from Montréal next week).  Québec City is so European in feel and flavor, we absolutely loved our days spent roaming the winding brick and cobblestone streets.  It’s one of those places where if you allow yourself to wander, around every bend you discover something new and completely enchanting.


We spent most of our time in the old part of town which is filled with colorful homes and small hotels with European flair, the architecture featuring dormers, lanterns, and window boxes aplenty.


Meander down the streets and you’ll find block after block of historic buildings, restaurants, and shops to explore.


At the heart is Chateau Frontenac, which is now a Fairmont hotel, but quite a stunning structure.

When in Quebec, one must eat like the locals, my favorite specialties were the fondue (seriously, what’s not to love about fried cheese?) and crepes, oh the crepes! Fluffy wonderful thin pancakes available at both breakfast and lunch, choose them sweet or savory.  All around you’ll hear the residents speaking in their native French, but those working in the tourist industry were very cordial and kind enough to answer in English despite our rudimentary efforts to speak the language!

The one thing that kept my camera clicking was the painted doors of the old city, no doubt attributable to my obsession with all things home!  There is no fear of color here, in fact, with the cobblestone and brick exteriors playing the role of the neutral blank canvas, painted trim, mullions, and doors are part of the colorful character of the town, so I couldn’t wait to share some favorites with you!











Beautiful, right?  Which one is your favorite?

If you’ve never been to Québec City, definitely put in on your list of places to visit in your lifetime.  You’ll find you leave a little piece of your heart there, and you’ll likely be tempted to paint your front door !



  1. I love, love Quebec City. My husband and I actually tied the knot in Quebec City on New Year’s Eve five years ago. It is magical in the winter (and cold). We got married in a big cathedral just across the street from the Epicerie Richard, which is in one of your pictures (BTW, I hope you went in that epicerie because they have pastries that are to die for).

    Glad you enjoyed your trip!

  2. I’m so happy you had a chance to visit Quebec City. Montreal is where I live and love the European flair. Beautiful pictures! I’ve stayed at Chateau Frontenac several times. Last year we stayed at Hotel 71. A boutique hotel to check out the next time you’re in the area.

  3. I, too, love QC! I am hing to one day take a long vacation and stay in a place in the Old City. Did you by chance get to see the Cirque Du Soleil show?

  4. I live in Montreal so was thrilled to see your post – I did a small one on Old Montreal which is a teeny version of Quebec city – beautiful photos and I’m so happy you enjoyed your visit to our province!!!

  5. Ohh you came my province…I leave in Montreal but travel to QC city often…You should come in winter next time. Even if its cold it is oh so charming!

    • Hi Yannick! Our taxi driver said the same thing, he said winter in Quebec City is tres magnifique!! He said it’s the most beautiful Christmas too, can’t wait to come back and definitely when the city is covered in snow!

  6. Quebec City is gorgeous – if you ever get a chance to visit near Christmas you should – it is stunning during the holidays, particularly the Old City. But no pictures of Montreal? I’m from Montreal and we have some amazing architecture and colourful sectors of the city. I hope that you had a chance to experience some of it during your trip, if not, you should come back for another visit. Fall is a particularly beautiful time.

  7. I love Montreal and Quebec. I moved to the U.S. 6 yrs ago after having lived in Toronto, Canada my entire life. I do miss the charm of such quaint cities like Quebec. I must remember to take more pictures next time I go back! :)

    I love all of your photos, thank you for sharing and I’m glad you had such a nice time! :)

  8. I’m so happy that you went to Old Quebec! My favorite Canadian place to visit for sure! I have some of the same photos of the same doors and window boxes from our last trip for my 30th birthday. It’s always been great but visiting with my Quebecois boyfriend was definitely icing on the cake.. he knew all the secrets!

  9. So funny – we painted our front door last week!

    I love all the colors. These pictures would be so great framed on a gallery wall.

    • I agree Carmel, in fact I have 5 or 6 more, they would look fabulous framed in a grid in a set of 9 on a wall – such a great idea and perfect memento!

  10. WOW, so beautiful! My parents used to vacation there and LOVED it, can’t wait to someday bring my family. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. I have not been to Quebec City, but while in university, went toMontreal with my gf and fell in love with old Montreal- at that time I had never been to Europe, but was totally smitten with the history and “local flavor”. My gf had an aunt that was living in a delightful row house on Rue St. Famille, a couple of blocks from McGill University where she was a professor. LOVED the visit! That was 25 years ago…

  12. You went to my city! I was born and raised in Montreal and now live in Sacramento. Huge difference! lol I keep telling people here if you don’t have the money to go to France, go to Montreal. ;)

    • Agreed Nancy, you can get the “feel” without crossing the Atlantic!

  13. A couple of winters ago, we had a romantic weekend away to Quebec City. We travelled by train, through a snowstorm! It was in January so all the outdoor Christmas decor was still up! Loved it!
    One of the most romantic weekends I’ll never forget. It was so cold but our room was quaint and cozy with a thick feather duvet!

  14. First of all, A big Welcome!!! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to one of our Canadian Cities. I have 2 favorites. The one with the yellow shutters and red door and the black and mustard house with the gorgeous detail in each window. Lovely pictures and as always a great post.

  15. These doors rival those I saw in France back in the spring. Who would have thought to paint their shutters orange on anything besides a beach house. Def my fave!! Dying to go to Quebec City and Montreal but I keep putting off my youngest daughters passport (probably should do that instead of spending so much time commenting on blog posts!) Thanks for sharing!

  16. Wow that really does look so charming! I love ALL the painted doors and windows but the one below the red door is pretty neat! It’s like a forest green or something? LOVE!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. Sounds like a great place. Maybe I can talk my daughter into visiting Quebec City and Montreal with me.


  18. Glad to see that you made it to our Great White North, when it was nice and green! Next trip check out the buildings in the coastal towns in the Maritimes – no fear of colour there! There’s even an island that is part of France out there, with it’s own distinct, and colourful, flavour. Of your gorgeous photos my favs are the lighter teal door and window trim and the coral door with the black awnings – I’ve already pinned them both! :)

  19. I’m so glad you came to this side of the border! Quebec is truly one of my favorite places. I’m from Toronto, but get to Montreal quite frequently. Quebec is breathtaking and well worth the trip… so much beauty to take in. Not sure if you checked out the fashions, but Quebec has their own designers and the clothes are to die for.

  20. Hi Kate!
    SO glad you enjoyed your trip! I adore Quebec City. I haven’t been for ages, which is silly b/c it’s not that far. Would love to go back with hubby. Fabulous photos from your trip, btw.

  21. Wow! What gorgeous pictures. It is so quaint and pretty. I would love to go there. Glad you had a good time.


  22. Both Montreal and Quebec have been on my list a long time. After this glimpse of the old time beauty me thinks I really must move it up to the top of the list…..Thanks for sharing.

  23. Glad you liked both my home town (Quebec) and my adopted home (Montreal). Personally, though, I think Montreal beats out Quebec. Easy. ;-)

  24. Looks beautiful! My husband has been there (on a missions trip to Quebec), and has been wanting to go back again, and have time there as a couple, just the two of us. Your photos made it look so inviting!

  25. Just a tad jealous. Okay, a lot more than that actually. Quebec City has been one of my dream vacation spots for years. I love your pictures. Thanks for giving me a little taste :)

  26. I just started following your blog in the last couple months, just recently getting addicted to design/DIY blogs, and I check you and YHL constantly. I live in Montreal! So seeing this post was so exciting, and so nice that you came to visit :) You’ve put a visit to Quebec City at the top of my priority list !
    p.s. the pale yellow door at the end is my fave!!

  27. Ah, Quebec! (spoken with the best french accent I can muster) I had the pleasure of visiting after falling in love with french in school. I seriously considered not going back to my Missouri home. I could have stayed there forever. :)

    My husband has never been, although he has patiently listened to me carrying on and on about how I loved it so – I think a romantic trip for two to Quebec is in order once baby (we are due in 7 days!) can stay with Grandma for awhile!

    Thanks, Kate, for the beautiful images and for a trip down memory lane! (I’ll probably be speaking in French – as best as I can remember, anyway! – for the rest of the day!)

  28. Glad to hear you loved Montreal! You should come to Toronto next time! It’s pretty awesome here as well. The old part of Montreal is fabulous eh!

  29. WOW Kate these pictures are gorgeous!!! I love the turquoise door and windows the best, but they are all gorgeous. I wish the streets of NYC looked that way. But NYC has it’s own style for sure. Thanks for sharing with us. Can’t wait to see the rest of your pictures. What did you do when you went to NYC?

  30. The only thing that tops Quebec City in the summer is Quebec City in the winter : ) One of my favorite places! When we go back home to Canada to visit my parents, it is always on the top of our lists to go visit, kids in tow too!

  31. We just went to Toronto, Montreal & Quebec City last week as well! My, oh my, we adored the Old Port area at Montreal and the old part of Quebec City. My children loved watching the street performers and the artists painting in the lanes in Montreal and sight of the city at night from the top of St. Joseph’s Oratory was unforgettable. Our favorite part of the trip was Quebec City–we loved strolling through the shops, looking at some of the handmade crafts sold by some of the vendors, going into the cathedrals and taking the funicular down. We will be going back!

  32. Quebec City is one of my favorite cities! I’m an American living in Canada, moved here when I met my husband 16years ago.

    Did you have poutine?? I avoided it for years, but it finally got to me. Definitely a special treat to have once and a great while. :)

  33. oh completely gorgeous – my husband has been there and LOVED it! We will go together at some point I’m sure. Apparently my husbands family founded the city (too bad we didnt’ inherit!) so when he checked into the hotel, they started speaking french and he had to stop them! ha! oooh la la!

  34. I love the old part of Quebec! Having lived most of my life in the suburbs of Quebec, it’s my favorite part of the province ;). We actually spent acweekend up there two weeks ago an as always we had a blast! Not far they also have an amaIng water park.

  35. Your pictures are beautiful Kate! Will make a great wall art if
    Laced n a series! I’m loving the blue doors more!

  36. Ah, those doors! They remind me of the lovely doors all over Paris! Do you remember a commercial many years ago for Egoiste cologne? All those ladies yelling “Egoiste!” and slamming different doors…reminds me of that too. :)

  37. Kate,
    What a wonderful trip, I have wanted to visit Montreal and Quebec for a very long time. I liked the red door with the darling boy in the red t-shirt standing nearby, your son?
    There is a series of mysteries written by Louise Penny, The Gamache series takes place in Montreal and one of the books takes place in Quebec…the descriptions are wonderful of the surroundings and the food.

  38. Visited Quebec City last summer, loved it, very European. It is a beautiful and friendly city and can’t wait to return. I live close to Toronto but love Montreal as well. Everyone should visit our neighbors to the north.

  39. Yes it has been on my list for a long time. The window box from the hotel Saint Louis is simple yet so gorgeous.


  40. When I was in 10th grade I went on a trip to Quebec City and Montreal as part of my school choir. It was around April at the time so there was still snow piled shoulder high on the side of the road. Both cities were beautiful, but I’d have to say Quebec City was my favorite. We stayed in this little hotel that brought baskets of croissants, cheese, fruit bowls and orange juice to our doors each morning. All of the buildings were beautiful, and the shops and churches that we visited were lovely. That was probably the best vacation I’ve ever had. If you ever get a chance, and don’t mind cold weather you should visit in the spring so you can see the snow. Nearby, there’s a waterfall where the snow gathers into a big fluffy pile at the bottom – it’s a must-see.

  41. So beautiful Kate..I wish I could visit there too..I like the red door best..Every Chinese New Year I say I am going to paint the door red for luck..Maybe next time I will..

  42. LOVE Quebec City and Montreal……….good thing I live just a few hours away from both! We visit each year and I always want to sneak into those beautiful historic homes and check’m out.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely pics.

  43. What a surprise to see Québec featured on your blog. I’ve been calling it home for almost twenty years and never tire of walking the streets of the old city and photographing the old buildings. Thanks for sharing all your beautiful pictures.

  44. I have been to Montreal and Quebec twice and Quebec is one of my most favorite places on Earth! Thank you for bring back the memories!

  45. Love the sage green door with the stone and the red door and window box. Have ever read any Louise Penny books? Often set in Quebec City.

  46. Wow, it’s just as beautiful as I’ve heard, and the streets really do look so clean you could eat off ’em!

    (PS – you inspired me to start blogging! It’s up-and-running, and I’m loving the escape for my creative energy!)

  47. I love the brick with the teal windows and door. But it’s so hard to choose – your pictures are beautiful. They make me feel like I’m right there in the middle of it all =)

  48. As an Australian, I was lucky enough to visit Quebec City for a conference. It was really so beautiful – the walking was brutal at times – such steep hills!

  49. I live in the Northeast and escape to “Europe” every summer when the heat makes me want to cry. An hour-long flight and I’m in Montreal, where I can eat as if I were in Paris–just cheaper and no jet-lag. Sometimes I fly to Quebec City and feel as if I’m in the French country side. The last scene of “Catch Me If You Can” was filmed right outside of the old church, by the funiculaire; it is supposed to be in France and, boy, does it look it. For all of you that call Quebec city home… you’re so very lucky. Though Montreal is just as high on the list of favorites, topped by the Botanical Gardens and Au Petite Extra, still my favorite place to eat, after fourteen years and numerous “eating trips.” Thanks so much for the photos and memories.

  50. What is it about beautiful front doors and windows? We are not alone in our love of photographing them. Alas, one day . . .

  51. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of a very gorgeous place. I have added Quebec city to my bucket list that we are creating for our retirement in a couple of years! I like the teal blue door with the
    half-door on the left. I wonder if the basement is really accessible through that door???

  52. Kate,

    Quebec City is one of my husband’s and my favorite places to visit. We discovered it several years ago while on a cruise and fell in love with it. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to France I’m sure and is rated as the most French city in North America. We have been a total of four times and learn new things each time we go. Living in Fl as we do, we like a little taste of cold weather once in a while so we go in early November. We were lucky enoug to be there for the first snow fall last year and enjoyed it very much. Like you, my favorite breakfast is crepes with maple syrup. You can’t beat the real maple syrup made locally and we always bring some home with us.

  53. I love old Quebec. We live about 8 hours away by car, and we’ve gone for weekend visits before. It certainly conjures memories of Europe for me. I even tried taffy for the first time there! I’ll never forget those cobblestone paths or views of the St. Lawrence River.

    • Oh those views of the St. Lawrence are divine Antonella, just gorgeous!

  54. I am from Quebec City, and I have forgotten we had so many beautiful coforful doors, thanks for the visit, sorry I missed you in Montreal. The turquoise door is my favorite.

  55. I am from Quebec city and we tend to forget how our city is beautiful. Thank you, you helped me discover my city on a new eye

  56. I am from Quebec city and we tend to forget how our city is beautiful. Thank you, you helped me discover my city on a new eye

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