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Québec

Independent City Discoveries: Québec City

Program No. 18996RJ
Immerse yourself in Old World charm as you enjoy an insider’s perspective on the traditions, cuisine, architecture and culture of Québec — North America’s only walled city.

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At a Glance

Between the Saint Lawrence River and the Château Frontenac’s hilltop seat are the fortified stone walls for which Québec City is famous. Walk through four centuries of history amid the cobblestones of Vieux-Québec, and discover the elegant charms of its outdoor cafés, galleries and artist workshops. Discuss the sometimes-turbulent political history of the Québécois, and get to know their charming city’s art, history and cultural vitality.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Urban walking of two miles or more over varied terrain; some stairs.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting substantial independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn about the region’s unique geopolitical situation at the residence of the Governor General.
  • Savor traditional Québécois cuisine savoir faire at the historic Château-Frontenac.
  • Explore the region's artists, both historic and modern, at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.

General Notes

This program includes substantial free time and outlines for self-directed field trips. You may also be interested in the walking and hiking version of this program, "Walking and Hiking in Québec City" (#23165)!
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Sylvie Nadeau
Born and raised in Montreal, Sylvie Nadeau loves Quebec's largest city, the province's vibrant, creative multicultural hub, which she has been exploring her whole life on foot, by subway and on her bike. A professional in the travel industry for over 30 years and a recipient of several awards honoring the quality of her work, Sylvie hosts and coordinates the activities of Road Scholar groups with competence and enthusiasm. Her funny French accent and infectious joie de vivre give all her programs and tours a very personal color. A sports enthusiast, Sylvie is offering a new series for active travelers in addition to the many programs she already coordinates, all highlighting the many colors of Quebec as presented by passionate Quebecers dedicated to sharing the richness of their unique Canadian Province.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Sylvie Nadeau
Sylvie Nadeau View biography
Born and raised in Montreal, Sylvie Nadeau loves Quebec's largest city, the province's vibrant, creative multicultural hub, which she has been exploring her whole life on foot, by subway and on her bike. A professional in the travel industry for over 30 years and a recipient of several awards honoring the quality of her work, Sylvie hosts and coordinates the activities of Road Scholar groups with competence and enthusiasm. Her funny French accent and infectious joie de vivre give all her programs and tours a very personal color. A sports enthusiast, Sylvie is offering a new series for active travelers in addition to the many programs she already coordinates, all highlighting the many colors of Quebec as presented by passionate Quebecers dedicated to sharing the richness of their unique Canadian Province.
Profile Image of Marie Legroulx
Marie Legroulx View biography
Marie Legroulx, a native of Québec City, has a bachelor's in history and a master's in Québec literature. She taught French and Québec literature at local universities for over 20 years. In 2008, she returned to college to become a professional in the tourism industry, and has since been leading historical, architectural and literary explorations. Québec history and language are topics close to her heart since she is a twelfth-generation Québécoise whose ancestors settled on the St. Lawrence River in the mid-seventeenth century.
Profile Image of Julie Bélanger
Julie Bélanger View biography
A Montrealer by birth, Julie has diplomas in cultural animation and teaching. With her warm and dynamic personality, her prime objective is to share her passion and knowledge of Montreal and Québec City as well as little secrets of the living style of each community.
Profile Image of Marie Bussières
Marie Bussières View biography
Marie Bussières, born in Quebec City, is in love with its culture, French heritage and rich history. She is naturally curious about people and cultures, leading her to numerous travels and living broad. Her academic background includes geography, communication, and tourism. She became a group leader and local expert throughout the province of Quebec, as well as elsewhere in Canada. Inquisitive by nature and physically active, Marie is an avid photographer and skier who, within her guiding work, constantly learns and shares her knowledge generously.
Profile Image of David Mendel
David Mendel View biography
David Mendel studied at York University in Toronto and the University of Paris before moving to Quebec City in 1976. He completed a Master’s in art history and is undertaking doctoral studies at Laval University. A resident of Quebec’s historic district, David is President of the Foundation of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and a member of the Consulting Committee for Religious Architecture of the City of Quebec. His new book, “Quebec: World Heritage City” is the first in a series of four volumes.
Profile Image of Djany Poulin
Djany Poulin View biography
Djany Poulin, having studied tourism promotion, has been leading groups in Quebec City for more than 10 years. As a foodie and history enthusiast, she is fascinated about Quebec’s heritage, cultural scene, and local products. Having worked in the outdoor and culinary industries as well, she finds the Quebec area a perfect playground for her passion for hiking, running, and camping. Her experience has brought her to lead international travelers with different specific interests, developing a broad expertise in Quebec City’s history.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Year
2024
  • 2024
  • 2025
Date
Oct 14 - Oct 18
  • Jun 30 - Jul 04
  • Jul 15 - Jul 19
  • Aug 05 - Aug 09
  • Aug 16 - Aug 20
  • Aug 28 - Sep 01
  • Sep 12 - Sep 16
  • Sep 23 - Sep 27
  • Oct 14 - Oct 18
  • Dec 04 - Dec 08
Please Note: The program differs on certain dates.
Please Note: The program differs on certain dates.
Select trip year and date
2024
  • 2024
  • 2025
Oct 14 - Oct 18
  • Jun 30 - Jul 04
  • Jul 15 - Jul 19
  • Aug 05 - Aug 09
  • Aug 16 - Aug 20
  • Aug 28 - Sep 01
  • Sep 12 - Sep 16
  • Sep 23 - Sep 27
  • Oct 14 - Oct 18
  • Dec 04 - Dec 08
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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5 days
4 nights
8 meals
4 B 2 L 2 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Quebec City, QC
D
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. This program is staffed with an expert Study Leader who will also serve as our Group Leader and who will act as our premier resource in making the most of independent study time, offering local knowledge and insider tips to discover Québec City beyond the highlights. We will greet everyone and have introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar INDEPENDENT program. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, a few group activities, and who are capable and comfortable setting out on their own for a significant part of the day/night. There will be several hours each day of educational content, most meals on your own (excluded from the program cost) to enjoy what you like, and substantial free time for personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the Hotel.

Evening: We’ll set out on a stroll of discovery and first impressions with our Group Leader through the streets of the Old City to the Terrase Dufferin over looking the St-Lawrence River behind the Château Frontenac.

DAY
2
Old Québec, Château Frontenac, Music Tradition
Quebec City, QC
B,L
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking up to 3-4 miles during the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, a local expert will give a presentation highlighting the city's foundation and exceptional geographical location as well as its present-day social and economic facets. We’ll gain an understanding of how Québec City's history contributed to the creation and development of Canada and why it was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We’ll then head out on a walking field trip with our expert to explore Québec City with its eclectic architecture, streets, and monuments that serve as eloquent, perfectly conserved testaments to its evolution. Enjoy the city's uniquely European atmosphere, enchanting setting, and friendly inhabitants. We’ll conclude at the renowned Château Frontenac, one of the city’s landmarks and the most photographed hotel in the world. It boasts a fascinating history, owing its name to Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the powerful Governor-General who guided the destiny of New France in the late 1600s.

Lunch: At the famous Château Frontenac, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with appetizer, choices of entrée, dessert of the day, and beverages including coffee, hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar. Bon appétit!

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You might like to explore the lower part of Old Québec near the river and enjoy Petit Champlain, one of the most appreciated neighborhoods in Québec City, known for its architecture, street performers, boutiques, craftsmen, art galleries, and the Museum of Civilization. At 5:00 pm at the hotel. Join local musicians who will guide us in a discovery of Québec through song, instrumental music, tales, and jigs. We will learn about Québec musical traditions, rhythm and song, and experiment with musical instruments.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like from the many and varied opportunities to “taste” Québec City.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Features of French America, The Political & Social System
Quebec City, QC
B,L
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles during the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Led by an expert, we will visit the official residence of the Governor General of Canada, located within La Citadelle of Québec overlooking the majestic St. Lawrence River. Québec, the cradle of French civilization in North America, is a repository of history and culture from the French, English, and Canadian periods. The fortified boundaries of this old British fortress are the only such remaining walled defenses on the continent. After a terrible fire in 1976, it was restored with Canadian materials throughout to showcase the city’s history, modern cultural sensibilities, and outstanding artists. Today, it houses an important collection of art and period furnishings.

Lunch: In the heart of Old Quebec.

Afternoon: Free time. See and do what interests you most. You might like to explore the famous Plains of Abraham, a magnificent 267-acre urban park composed of plains, woods and gardens. It is also the setting for the National Fine Arts Museum of Québec, dedicated to the works of the best artists of the region with its surprising annex, the former prison of Québec.At 4:30 pm take part of our Book-Club Hour. Join our literary expert for a one-hour walking field trip to some of the sites featured in Bury Your Dead, the best-selling novel by acclaimed author Louise Penny. A great way to bring the book to life.(voucher included in the program). From 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., we’ll enjoy cocktail hour. You're invited to join our study leader for drinks (Dutch treat), to share the highlights of your day, and plan your evening.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to stroll in the Old Town and have coffee or digestif in a café or bar.

DAY
4
Île d'Orléans/Montmorency Falls
Quebec City, QC
B,D
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Getting in/out motor coach. driving about 40 miles , approximatively 3 hours. Walking up 3 miles.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll take an expert-led field trip via motorcoach a few miles from the city to experience the beauty of the traditional Québec countryside. The birthplace of French America, Île d'Orléans is a large pastoral island known for the quality of its agricultural products as well as the heritage of its many historic buildings. This well-preserved natural and cultural landmark is situated in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. On our return to the city, we'll stop for a closer look of the Montmorency falls that we saw from the Ile d'Orlean. With its 272' tall, (30 more than Niagara) the falls offers a stunning demonstration of the power of nature. The falls has captivated visitors in all seasons for centuries.

Afternoon: Free time. Enjoy another opportunity for independent exploration to continue exploring Québec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and what is known as New Québec. If you haven’t done so already, you might like to take a walk on the Grande Promenade Samuel-De Champlain along the Saint Lawrence River and visit the Public Market.

Dinner: At a renowned restaurant in Old Québec noted for its local “garden to table” gastronomy. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Go out for a bit of independent exploring, revisit a favorite night spot, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax. Prepare for check-out and departure following our closing session in the morning.

DAY
5
Wrap-Up Discussion, Program Concludes
Quebec City, QC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: At a favorite local bakery in Old Québec we’ll have coffee and croissants.

Morning: At the bakery, we’ll have a closing session with our Study Leader to discuss city life and local issues. We expect to end by 10:00 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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