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Independent Québec City and Montréal: People, Places, Culture

Program No. 20338RJ
Gain a comprehensive understanding of Montréal and Québec from experts, learning about the art, architecture, history and cuisine of these two great French Canadian cities.

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At a Glance

Enjoy French Canada’s two very different cities — cosmopolitan Montréal and charming Québec City — and revel in the fine cuisine, history and artistry of both cities, with plenty of cultural insights from longtime residents.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Urban walking of two miles or more over varied terrain; some stairs. Participants need to carry their own luggage and on the train each participant is restricted to one piece of baggage and one carry-on bag.
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

  • Discover Québec, with its eclectic architecture, streets and monuments—eloquent, perfectly conserved testaments to its evolution.
  • Delight in a day for food lovers that'll lead you on an adventure through the many flavors of Montréal, strolling along beloved Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
  • Enjoy independent study time with the benefit of insight from our local expert, entry to five major museums and the Botanical Garden and a metro pass.

General Notes

This program is an active exploration of Montreal and Québec City and includes substantial free time and directions for self-directed excursions.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Andrée Girard
Andrée Girard has been an active figure on the arts scene in Québec and in Canada for over 25 years. She worked as a broadcaster for CBC radio and television before becoming programming director for CBC French radio’s Chaîne culturelle for several years. She was also a founding member and director of the Conseil québécois de la musique. Over the course of her career, she has been associated with the creation of the Opus Prize, as well as the development of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.

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

Profile Image of Andrée Girard
Andrée Girard View biography
Andrée Girard has been an active figure on the arts scene in Québec and in Canada for over 25 years. She worked as a broadcaster for CBC radio and television before becoming programming director for CBC French radio’s Chaîne culturelle for several years. She was also a founding member and director of the Conseil québécois de la musique. Over the course of her career, she has been associated with the creation of the Opus Prize, as well as the development of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.
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 Michel Jutras
Michel Jutras View biography
Originally from Montreal, Michel Jutras holds a master's degree in the management of cultural organizations and has extensive experience in leading educational excusions. Passionate about researching history, especially the history of the dietary and culinary traditions of Quebec, he is working on a large collection of ethnological texts, the first volume of which has already been published, while the second is currently being printed.
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 Françoise Baby
Françoise Baby View biography
Françoise Baby loves to share her enthusiasm about Montreal with visitors. She has a penchant for great food — her mother is French! — history, and architecture. What she enjoys most about being a local expert is interaction with Road Scholars. Her wish is that they come away with a cultural experience. The two most frequently asked questions Françoise gets are whether she is a native Montrealer and what is her favourite “thing” about the city. The answers are “yes”, and the multiculturalism that best defines Montreal.
Profile Image of Ian Beaulieu
Ian Beaulieu View biography
Ian Beaulieu is passionate about intercultural exchange. He has been involved in tourism for 20 years and has welcomed people from all over the world. It is his pleasure to help them discover Quebec culture. He specializes in both corporate and educational travel. He is an international group leader and pays particular attention to the quality of the meeting with the participants. A sportsman in his leisure time, he combines health and travel in order to share all the beautiful moments that life offers.
Profile Image of Anna Maria Polonia
Anna Maria Polonia View biography
Anna Maria Polonia was born and raised in Quebec City, and is now based in Montreal. Since a young age, she was marveled by Quebec City, and she now appreciates the effervescence of multicultural Montreal. After working in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, she has been sharing the wonders of both cities with her groups.
Profile Image of Jim Dinan
Jim Dinan View biography
Jim Dinan, a Quebec City native versed in both the English and French cultures, has been forever been interested in the layered history of his city, even working at the famed Chateau Frontenac. Alongside a travel expert course, he has surrounded himself with almost every book relating to history, arts, cuisine, politics, and geography relating to the makeup of modern-day Quebec. In his 70s, he continues to enjoy playing hockey recreationally, painting, and drawing.
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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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9 days
8 nights
10 meals
4 B 2 L 4 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:15 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table at the mezzanine to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived.

Dinner: At a restaurant in the heart of Old Montréal.

Evening: Orientation. 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 independently for a significant part of the day/night. The program is staffed with a Study Leader who will also serve as Group Leader. As Study Leader, she will be your primary resource in making the most of your independent study time, offering local knowledge and insider tips to ensure you get to know the cities beyond tourist highlights. As Group Leader, she will attend to logistical details. After welcome and introductions, we will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will also have an introduction to Montréal's Museums Pass that is included in the program cost and provides access to public transportation and the city's most important museums (during the program). Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Study Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

Old Montreal
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll set out on a walking field trip to explore Old Montréal, focusing on its history and architecture. Along the way we’ll venture into the Old Port on the St. Lawrence River and discuss its transformation and impact on the surrounding community, native Montrealers and visitors alike.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

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 Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In Old Montréal, you might like to see the port, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology (built on the very foundations of the city), the Bonsecours Market (Québec Arts & Crafts, featuring top-quality “made in Québec” creations), or a popular street known for its art galleries.

Dinner: On your own to explore the multitude of Montréal eateries. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Underground City, Golden Square Mile, Theater District
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation, métro & bus. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This second day of discovering Montréal will be dedicated to three of the city's star attractions with a local expert: the surprising "Underground City," the Theater District and the Golden Square Mile, including the renowned McGill University and the magnificent Museum of Fine Arts.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the farmer market.

Afternoon: Free Time. As you continue exploring Montréal, you might like to visit the impressive Botanical Garden. A popular oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Botanical Garden is recognized as one of the world’s largest. You can explore the beauty of the garden through its 10 greenhouses and some thirty thematic gardens.

Dinner: On your own to sample the local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

A Day for Food-Lovers, Montréal Boroughs
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation, métro & bus. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This is a day for food lovers. A local expert will lead us on a culinary adventure through the many flavors of Montréal by strolling along beloved Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Here we'll discover many colorful restaurants, brought to the city by the different ethnic communities that have settled along the length of the street over time. We will finish our food lovers' exploration at the Jean-Talon public market in Little Italy, a favorite meeting place of Montréalers. We’ll be able to savor the Schwartz’s famous Montreal smoked meat, Jewish bagels, Portugal's renowned egg tarts (Pasteis de nata), true Italian coffee, and an array of Québec products at the public market.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the Museum or in the surrounding area.

Afternoon: Free Time. You may wish to further acquaint yourself with the Golden Square Mile, exploring its impressive art galleries, imposing 19th century houses, and grand museums, including the stately McCord Museum.

Dinner: At a landmark French restaurant in Old Montréal, we’ll say farewell to the city with a 3-course plated meal including appetizer, choices of entrée, dessert of the day, coffee, hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to explore more on your own, attend a performance or other event, or revisit a favorite Montréal café with new friends. The Group Leader will have plenty of suggestions. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning. Baggage aboard the train is limited to one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag.

Basilica de Notre-Dame de Montréal, Transfer to Québec City
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Baggage aboard the train is limited to one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag per person. We will carry our baggage when we transfer to the train station. There it will be loaded onto the train for us; keep carry-ons with you. The train ride is about 180 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Upon arrival in Québec City, we will retrieve our baggage and load it onto a van for transfer to the hotel where it will be taken to our rooms. Getting in/off taxis and train.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip to the incredibly beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal. Our visit will feature an exclusive presentation of its fabulous organ by the Basilica's titular organist. We’ll then return to the hotel for check out and transfer to the train station for the trip to Québec City.

Lunch: On your own. We suggest buying your lunch at the food court in the train station, one the best in Montréal, and take it with you to have on the train.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Québec City, we will transfer to the hotel by taxis for check-in with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Old Québec known for its local gastronomy, garden to table.

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

Old Québec City, Chateau Frontenac, Music Tradtion
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, approximately 2 hours; cobblestones, hill.

Breakfast: On your own to enjoy what you like. There are many options from a simple pastry and coffee to a full cooked breakfast at nearby cafés. The hotel also offers breakfast for an additional charge.

Morning: At the hotel, our 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 Château Frontenac. Bon appétit!

Afternoon: Free Time. 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 which is known for its architecture, street performers, boutiques, craftsmen, art galleries and the Museum of Civilization. At 5:00 pm at the hotel. 5:00 pm 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 explore the varied and exciting Québec City dining opportunities.

Evening: At leisure.

Citadel, Plains of Abraham
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: On your own.

Morning: Our second full day in Québec City will be dedicated to a field trip designed exclusively for our group and led by a local expert. Strategically located on the heights overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, Québec City was the first major milestone on the road leading to the foundation of Canada. A visit to the Residence of the Governor General of Canada, within the walls of the Citadel, will help us understand the region's unusual geopolitical journey over the course of history as well as how the province functions today. This private exploration includes access to a unique exhibition of Canadian artists.

Lunch: At neighborhood restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. 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. This exceptional museum is dedicated to the works of the best artists of the region. Its surprising annex is the former prison! 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 the local fare of your choice.

Evening: At leisure. Perhaps you would like to stroll through the Old Town and enjoy coffee and a digestif in a café or bar.

Île d'Orléans, Montmorency Falls
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles.

Breakfast: On your own.

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.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time. You might like to continue exploring Québec City — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and what is known as New Québec. A list of suggestions for individual exploration and other activities will complement the program. Options include a walk on the Grande Promenade Samuel-De Champlain along the Saint Lawrence River.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have our farewell dinner. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends and enjoy a lovely evening.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
Quebec City, QC

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

Breakfast: On your own. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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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