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Québec Town and Country: History, Arts, Landscapes, Flavors

Program No. 20512RJ
Discover the story of French Canada by train, learning about renowned artists, unusual politics, stunning vistas and world-class cuisine as you voyage from Montréal to Québec city.

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At a Glance

Learn about French Canada's history and way of life as you visit three of its most fascinating destinations by train: the multicultural metropolis of Montréal, the historic capital of Québec city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the rural Charlevoix region along the St. Lawrence River, a World Biosphere reserve. Find an amazement of art, history and culture as you take in the views of Québec’s rustic countryside on this remarkable journey by bus and train.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
I like to spend much of the day exploring. Whether walking through historic neighborhoods at a moderate pace or out and about on a coach, I prefer to keep my days full. Stairs don’t bother me, and I love to keep up with the group.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Journey along the spectacular mountains and seashore of Québec on a scenic train ride from bustling Québec City to the rural charms of Charlevoix.
  • Discover great Canadian artists, Inuit and modern, while exploring the region’s museums and art galleries, and attend a classical music concert.
  • Learn about Canada’s unique “shared monarchy” at the residence of the Governor General.
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.
Where the River Narrows
by Aimee Laberge
This novel sweeps across the centuries, from the French royal court to the founding of Québec City in 1608, from the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to the FLQ Crisis. Against this rich panorama, the daily lives of the Tremblay family unfolds over generations.
Montreal & Quebec City Guide – Lonely Planet
by Montréal-based authors
Montréal and Québec City really serve it up. You've got old-world grandeur, new-world sensibilities and big-city charms - there's enough neighbourhoods, restaurants and festivals to keep you mon-dieu'ing for months. This guide, penned by Montréal-based authors, gets you straight to the action. The Lonely Planet website has options to buy and download individual digital chapters from this book in addition to the full guide.
Champlain's Dream
by David Hackett Fischer
In this enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain—soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France.
Shadows on the Rock
by Willa Cather
Set in seventeenth-century Canada, an evocation of North American origins highlights the men and women who struggled to adapt to the new world even as they clung to the one they left behind. The novel covers one year of the lives of Cecile Auclair and her father Euclide, French colonists in Quebec.
A People’s History of Quebec
by Jacques Lacoursière and Robin Philpot
A People’s History of Quebec is a lively guide to a little-known part of North American history. It tells of the settlement of the St. Lawrence Valley, as well as the Montreal and Quebec-based explorers and traders who travelled, mapped, and inhabited most of North America.
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9 days
8 nights
18 meals
8 B 4 L 6 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:15-5:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table on the Mezzanine level 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. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to applicable requirements and guidelines throughout the program. Plus, a few useful tips to enhance your stay in French Canada. 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 Group 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. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

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

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Explore Old Montreal, Pointe-à-Callière Museum
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day, standing in museum

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: At one of the city’s numerous cafés, we’ll order from a menu.

Afternoon: For our next field trip, we’ll walk with our Group Leader to the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, inaugurated in 1992 during the city’s 350th anniversary. This designated national archaeological and historic site is located on the very place where Montréal was founded. The museum presents centuries of history from the settlements of indigenous people to the present. In addition to permanent and changing exhibits, there are remarkable ruins of national significance. Here we’ll be able to explore at our own pace and see what interests us the most with a choice of expert-led visits and the opportunity to take in their multimedia show, “Generations, MTL.” At the hotel at 4:30 p.m., we’ll meet our local expert who will deliver a lecture on living in Montreal.

Dinner: 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.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to go out and explore independently, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax.

Exploring Downtown Montreal, Free Time
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to 2 miles. Walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Led by an expert, we will go for a city field trip via motorcoach, focusing on the city’s history, architecture, main neighborhoods, and astounding underground city that features a 20-mile network of pedestrian walkways. Among the highlights are the Underground, Mont-Royal, and Ste-Hélène Island that was the site of Expo 67 (1967 International and Universal Exposition).

Lunch: 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 your Group Leader will hand out onsite. You might like to independently explore Old Montréal, the port, or the Botanical Garden.

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

Evening: At leisure. Take this time to experience more of our very special city and what it has to offer. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning. Participants will need to carry their own baggage on the train, one piece of luggage and one carry-on bag.

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

Activity note: Getting on/off a train; riding about 180 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. 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. 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/out of a taxi.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

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 by taxi to the train station for the trip to Québec City.

Lunch: Aboard the train, we’ll have box lunches from a local bakery.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Québec City, we will take taxis to our hotel 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.

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 Terrasse Dufferin overlooking the St-Lawrence River behind the Château Frontenac.

Québec City History & Architecture, Private Concert
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; standing in museum for an hour; varied terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will be joined by a local expert who will tell us about the history of Québec City — the birthplace of French America and the first settlement in Canada. This stimulating lecture will highlight different aspects of the city's present-day social and economic realities. Led by our expert, we will then go for a walking field trip through Québec's Historic District and be charmed by the very European atmosphere of its quaint streets as well as the history and architecture. There are two parts, the Upper Town that was the fortified area and the Lower Town that developed around the Place Royale and the harbor. The Historic District of Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; from the inscription: “A well-preserved integrated urban ensemble, the Historic District is a remarkable example of a fortified city of the colonial era, and unique north of Mexico.”

Lunch: At one of the city’s numerous cafés.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we’ll explore the unique exhibition, “This Is Our Story: First Nations and Inuit in the 21st Century” at the Musée de la Civilisation. We will discover what it means to be aboriginal in the 21st century. This permanent exhibition takes an in-depth look at today’s aboriginal cultures, from their diversity, worldviews, beliefs, and ways of identifying with their pasts, to contemporary expressions of aboriginality around the world. If you like, you may stay longer on your own in this amazing museum.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: Private Concert featuring professional musicians from Quebec at Carter Hall, Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Governor-General's Residence, Musée des Ursulines
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Led by an expert, we will head out by bus to the Official Residence of the Governor General of Canada, located within the Citadelle of Québec and overlooking the majestic St. Lawrence River. The Citadelle is a historic building housing an important collection of art and period furnishings. Québec, the cradle of French civilization in North America, is a repository of history and culture from the French, English, and Canadian periods. Its old fortified boundaries of the British fortress — La Citadelle — 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.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We will regroup at the hotel and walk to Le Musée des Ursulines, an art and history museum where we will learn about the rich heritage of the oldest teaching order in Canada including Québec’s religious and social history. We'll provide a voucher for a self-led visit. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You might like to explore the Quartier Petit-Champlain located at the foot of the funicular a block away from the hotel (coupon provided). The Quartier Petit-Champlain is the site of Québec’s first port. As one of the city’s original neighborhoods, it has gone through various periods of development, decline, and redevelopment. Today, after an expansive (and expensive) restoration project, the quarter exudes an Old World atmosphere with historical architecture and buildings dating back to the 1600s, narrow streets, artisans and craftsmen, charming boutiques, and much more. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most at your own pace.

Dinner: 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. One of the landmarks of Québec City and the most photographed hotel in the world, the Château owes its name to a flamboyant French governor, the Count of Frontenac, who guided the destiny of New France from 1672 to 1698. Bon appétit!

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

Train to Baie St-Paul-Charlevoix, Concert at Domaine Forget
Baie St-Paul & La Malbaie - Charlevoix
Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu

Activity note: For the night of Saturday, it will be possible to leave your luggage at the hotel in Québec and bring only a carry-on for the overnight stay in Charlevoix. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 54 miles throughout the day, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time, Getting on/off a train. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board a motorcoach and ride the short distance to stop at the foot of Montmorency Falls. This is one of the most scenic spots in Canada. The spectacular falls are nearly 100 feet higher — though much narrower — than Niagara. We will then transfer to the train station at Ste-Anne-de Beaupré and ride the train from Ste-Anne through beautiful scenery of the Charlevoix region along the St. Lawrence River to our destination, Baie St-Paul. We expect to arrive before lunch at the lovely village of Baie St-Paul, renowned for its numerous art galleries and artisan workshops.

Lunch: A restaurant in the heart of Baie St-Paul.

Afternoon: After lunch, led by our Group Leader, we will discover the heart of Baie St-Paul. Afterwards, we will board the motorcoach, drive from Baie St-Paul to La Malbaie, and check in at our historic hotel perched high above the St Lawrence River.

Dinner: In La Malbaie or at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

Charlevoix, Local Art, Return to Québec City
Quebec City, QC
Hotel Manoir Victoria

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 87 miles throughout the day, approximately 2 hours total riding time. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With a local expert, we will visit the Charlevoix Museum, where we’ll explore local history and art. Late in the morning, we’ll transfer to St-Joseph de la Rive to discover a local landmark: the Papeterie St-Gilles, a paper-maker and the first economuseum. We will have a close-up look at the intricate process of crafting traditional handmade paper. We will be able to see unique patterns, watercolors, binding, silk-screen prints, and original decorative objects by masters of their crafts. We’ll then transfer to Baie St-Paul for lunch en route back to the hotel in Québec City.

Lunch: On your own at Baie St-Paul to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: After some time to explore Baie St-Paul independently, we’ll board the motorcoach to return to Québec City with expected arrival at the hotel around 4:30 p.m. Once at the hotel, we will have time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

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

Program Concludes
Quebec City, QC

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

Breakfast: At the hotel. 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!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.