Lapin Saute al Fresco seating + Rose
Another Miller sister trip is in the books! If you didn’t already know, Ariana (my younger sister!) and I are besties and love to travel together so we have been making more of an effort to go on multiple sister trips throughout the year. A couple months ago, we traveled to NYC, followed by this summer trip to Quebec, and we are thinking about going to Hawaii next! We always have the best time and it’s so fun traveling together this year. While we were gone, quite a few of my readers reached out and asked whether or not I would be creating a Quebec travel guide for those that were interested in traveling there so here we are!
Views from lower old Quebec
Traveling to Quebec was actually my sister’s idea. I have never been to France and when we researched Quebec more and more, we found that many people referred to Quebec as a tiny piece of Europe in Canada. That was enough to sell me so we bought our plane tickets and never looked back! We arrived in Quebec after two flights (one five hour flight on a larger plane and one 35 minute flight on a tiny hopper plane) right in time for dinner. Even though we had woken up at 3:45 am to make our SFO flight (woof), we were immediately invigorated by the energy of Quebec. Ariana and I couldn’t help but squeal with excitement when we walked the streets of this charming walled city for the first time. We literally stopped on each corner when we left our hotel (a full review of Hotel 71 coming soon!) because we couldn’t help but be charmed by every little building and restaurant. At first glance, Quebec truly feels like a small European country. Everyone is speaking French and the streets are so tiny and cobblestoned that you feel immediately transported somewhere magical.
Boardwalk in front of the Chateau Frontenac
Place de Armes
Swing set seating at Batinse
Our home away from home, Hotel 71, was located in lower old Quebec (there is a lower Quebec and an upper Quebec). There were a ton of restaurants and shops within blocks of our hotel and we had a great time looking for places to eat and sip matcha lattes. Just around the corner from our hotel was the Place Royale, an adorable square complete with a very old church (the oldest in all of Quebec!) and some cafe’s/restaurants. We actually really lucked out with finding matcha lattes in Quebec and frequented La Maison Smith, also located in Place Royale, which had a great outdoor eating/drinking area to lounge and people watch! Ariana and I loved stopping here each morning before we started our day and the employees were so kind. Speaking of locals, everyone greets you in French but 100% of the people that we interacted with spoke English. Also, I have never felt more safe traveling in a new city. Never once did we feel intimidated or even worried for our safety. It was so incredible and refreshing.
Incredible artwork in lower Quebec
Charming streets in upper Quebec
Like I’ve said a million times, Quebec is so charming that we truly felt like we were on set for the live action version of Beauty and the Beast. Since there are two parts of old Quebec, upper and lower, Ariana and I never really ran out of things to do or see. While both parts of the city were charming in their own ways, upper old Quebec was my favorite. It was much larger and there were many more things to see/do/eat/drink. Plus, in upper Quebec, you have the Chateau Frontenac and the Place De Armes, which were just as breathtaking as they are in photos. We found ourselves hiking up the hill from our hotel to upper Quebec every day, multiple times a day because we fell in love with it. We spent our days just walking around, stopped to take photos everywhere (huge shoutout to Ariana for being my photographer on this trip. She killed it!), and looked into shops and restaurants. Also, there are so many historical spots that you really want to take the time to take it all in. We also spent a lot of time talking and walking, which is something I always love to do with Ariana. In my opinion, you should take the time to walk down every street in old Quebec, both upper and lower, because you will stumble upon the most amazing things.
Morrin Centre Library + Prison Tour
Restaurant Champlain (inside the Chateau Frontenac), High Tea
My Quebec Recommendations
Okay, I hope this doesn’t come across as snobby, but living in San Francisco has made me very particular when it comes to food. In all honesty, old Quebec is filled with 85% tourist trap restaurants that I would recommend avoiding. However, I have the BEST readers and was sent a list of great old Quebec restaurants that basically saved us on this trip. We had the WORST second dinner experience at a place called Aux Anciens Canadiens. Basically, this was a total tourist trap and the food was AWFUL. We both felt sick and couldn’t wait to get out of there. Hey, at least we wised up after that!
Lapin Saute (lower Quebec): Incredible outdoor seating and French Onion Soup
La Maison Smith (3 locations in Old Quebec): Matcha lattes and really nice looking pastries
Batinse (upper Old Quebec): The vibes were INSANE! Loved the place! The food was excellent and our swing set table made our day! Instagrammable to a T!
Cafe Saint Henri (Outside the walled city): Amazing matcha lattes and they had oat milk! Very popular with locals.
Le Chic Shack (upper Old Quebec): Great for burgers and fries, really cool vibes and I tried poutine (the food of Quebec!) and it was great!
Bello (upper old Quebec): Amazing Italian food (some of the best pesto I’ve had!) and great outdoor seating!
Mary’s Popcorn Shop (one in lower and one in upper Old Quebec): A little touristy but the popcorn was SOOOO good.
Les Trois Garcons (upper Old Quebec): Great brunch! Large portions and really tasty.
Restaurant Champlain for High Tea (located inside the Chateau Frontenac, upper Old Quebec): HIGHLY recommend making a reservation for high tea at this restaurant. We loved our experience and it was chic AF! Plus, they don’t serve you tea desserts. YOU select all the desserts you want from their dessert table!
La Pizz (lower Old Quebec): Great outdoor eating for pizza and pasta! Very Instagrammable indoor seating.
Aux Petit Con Breton (upper Old Quebec): By far our favorite restaurant of the trip! Unfortunately, we found this place two days before we left and I was OBSESSED WITH IT. You can order crepes to go in a paper cone and you can eat in as well. Their crepes are insanely good. So light and fresh. This place was so authentic that I highly recommend going to this place if you visit.
Blender Bar A Jus (outside the wall, Rue Saint Jean): We only got to drink matcha at this place once but were very impressed with how great their drinks were and their decor. They also served smoothies and juices as well.
Rue Saint Jean
Isle d’Orleans dipped soft serve cones
Le Chic Shack
What to see/do
Many of the people that we saw visiting Quebec were constantly on tours. We don’t really love being with a tour group all the time but the two tours that we went on were great!
Bus Tasting Tour of Isle d’Orleans: Ariana found this tour and we were so glad to see this island. Very quaint and picturesque with a ton of great sweet treats to try. Our tour stopped at 5 different spots on the island: wine tasting, chocolate tasting (and dipped soft serve cones!), nuggat tasting, apple cider/butter tasting, and black currant wine and jam tasting. All of the places felt incredible but our tour felt a little rushed. Not a lot of time to hang out and take it all in. I would definitely recommend checking out Isle d’Orleans because it’s beautiful but rent a car or a scooter or some bikes to truly take in the island.
Morrin Centre Tour: This was a huge highlight! Ariana found this tour again and this historical prison turned school/library was so amazing to witness in person. I highly recommend taking this 45 min-1 hour tour because we learned a lot of the history of Quebec and how different of a city it really is. Plus, the library was SO COOL.
Rue Saint Jean: If you can, definitely try to venture outside the walls. We loved seeing the more urban side of Quebec City and we were actually a little sad to not spend more time outside the walls. We found so many cute little streets, but our favorite was Rue Saint Jean. So many incredible food/drink spots to help you feel like a Quebec local. We loved it!
River Walk: Our hotel was right by the river and we actually loved walking on the river path located right next to the river. Go at sunset! The views were breathtaking.
Uber: If you are curious to see things outside the walled old Quebec, you can take Uber everywhere! This was super convenient for us and we took it to and from the airport!
Our souvenir sweaters bought in lower old Quebec
Les Trois Garcons Brunch
To-Go Crepes from Aux Petite Con Breton
Cafe Saint Henri
Blender Bar a Jus
Blender Bar a Jus
Overall, I feel like Quebec is the perfect city to visit when you get the hang of how to navigate it. My biggest advice would be to not get lured into touristy places and try to find the authentic spots to truly get a feel for local Quebec life and walk A LOT. It was so fun experiencing the city on foot because we would’ve missed so much if we had taken a car or scooter. Another successful sister trip in the books!
Thanks for reading!