Québec Province, Canada

A sense of Europe meets the splendour of nature

Overview

A sense of Europe meets the splendour of nature

Talk to Quebecers about Canada and they’ll tell you it’s a place they might go some day. In fact the people of this vast and beautiful province consider themselves very much Quebecois first and Canadian a distant second. French settlers, arriving some 400 years ago, firmly established themselves in what became known as New France. Despite challenges from British and later American forces, the French legacy was the one that stuck, seeping deep into language and lifestyle throughout the province. Indigenous culture preceded long long before of course and the First Nations are increasingly involved in sharing their traditions, creating a wonderfully unique Québec heritage of which locals are fiercely proud.

Don’t underestimate the expanse of Québec. It is huge, stretching from the northern states of the US to well into the Arctic Circle, and is more than six times the size of the UK. A wild and wonderful adventure-land of rivers and lakes (10% of the land is covered by freshwater), mountains, villages and cosmopolitan city life. Much depends on how long you have to play, but most visitors base their Quebecan odyssey in the south of the province.  It’s here, between the buzzing centres of Montreal and Québec City, along the majestic St Lawrence River that the majority of the population live. Take a low season road trip from the unspoiled beauty of the Pontiac region of the Outaouais, through national parks and the fascinating Eastern Townships, and onto the Gaspé Peninsula where the St Lawrence becomes sea-like mass before emptying its 1200km bulk into the chilly North Atlantic.

In whichever of the four seasons you enjoy Québec you’ll find extraordinary landscapes, wildlife, adrenaline kicks and an abundance of local products, from cheese to wine to maple syrup. The most popular times are summer which brings warm weather, and winter with its festivals and snow-sports. As a low season traveller however you have the opportunity to really make this magnificent place your own. Our preferred times to visit are early spring (mid-March until the end of May) or late fall (November) before the real cold of winter sets in. In these periods revel in the tranquil cocooning aspect, travelling with no hurry to get anywhere, indulging in luxury spas, taking relaxing walks in the beautiful outdoors. Admire the power of nature as the seasons transition, something which endlessly fascinates French Canadians, who seem to talk about the weather even more than the British.

Remember low season weather can be a surprise, ranging from sub-zero Celsius to mid-teens. It can be as warm as a summer day or as cold as winter and that’s all part of the adventure! Pack for all eventualities and be prepared for change. A misty spring morning walk through pine forests can transform into a clear and sunny afternoon. In autumn, a floor of multi-coloured leaves underfoot, you can climb a mountain and gaze for miles across a stunning landscape of rivers and lakes; or from your cosy cottage, witness the tremendous power of the St Lawrence as it bursts its banks.

Québec City

The 3 million strong economic and commercial hub of Montreal is an attraction all of its own, but for low season romance, we really recommend checking out the far smaller provincial capital Québec City. The UNESCO World Heritage old town feels ultra European, with horse-drawn carriages, French-style architecture and cobbled streets. There’s a sense of another world here and peak season sees the centre packed with tourists strolling the charming upper and lower towns, and the fortifications which make it North America’s only walled city north of Mexico. That’s why we love the low season when we can explore the historic sites and browse boutiques and galleries in relative peace. In addition there are a whole host of artistic, cultural and gastronomic activities to escape into when the weather dictates, like the marvellous Huron-Wendat Museum where you can learn about indigenous heritage and make bannock over a fire. On the other hand, the Plains of Abraham, the city’s sprawling 103 hectare battlefield-park, offers a year round space to get outdoors, with military remnants and tremendous views.

The Great Outdoors

Quebecois are very much used to extremes of weather so don’t shy away from year round adrenaline fueled fun in one of the 30 national parks or 15 nature reserves. With the right clothing, hiking is wonderful whatever the weather. In fact we absolutely love being in Québec to embrace the locals’ excitement at renewal when the first buds of spring emerge from a blanket of snow. And donning crampons to take a hike in autumn’s first snow fall is one of the year’s most iconic moments. A favourite trek close to Québec City takes you to Montmorency Falls, a wonderfully powerful waterfall, taller than Niagara and in full flow in low season. Further afield, national parks remain accessible year round with many adapting the available activities for the low season, with top choices including quad biking in Appalachian Regional Park, or spending the night in a wolf cabin in Omega Park, where wolves can wander right up the huge windows

Inspired? Give our friendly partners at First Class Holidays a call to find out more about the wonderful low season months in Quebec as well as hearing about some absolutely amazing deals! Call now for friendly advice on: 0161 888 5630 or email: enquiries@fcholidays.com

 

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar
-3°C
28mm
5hrs
Apr
4°C
62mm
7hrs
May
12°C
77mm
9hrs
Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
1°C
63mm
5hrs
Dec

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Rent a Chalet at Vieux Loup de Mer

Take a cosy low season retreat in a rustic cottage along the beautiful St Lawrence River. Shop for local artisan crafts in the villages and explore Bic National Park in the stunning Bas-Saint-Laurent region, home to large populations of harbour seals and grey seals among the river’s many coves.

Plan a Wellness Holiday

Low season sees the best prices on holistic spa packages. You’ll find amazing offers on multi-night breaks, or make it a full day indulgence, warming up with thermal springs and saunas. Check out historic Monastère des Augustines in Quebec City, the site of a 17th century monastic hospital.

Festival des Sucres

The Sugar Festival has been going since 1958 in a maple grove in Saint-Pierre-Baptiste. Each spring the forest comes alive with cozy fireplaces, traditional country music and dancing celebrating the Quebecois cultural creation of maple taffy on snow, amidst old-fashioned family fun.

Insider Tips

  • Québec Table Gourmande Festival returns to Québec City annually in November offering a delicious range table d'hôte menus at discounted set prices for brunch, lunch and dinner. Foodie fun at more than 50 top restaurants. Or make sure to book a table at MTLàTABLE, Montréal’s own version.
  • Québec’s Eastern Townships are the setting for Louise Penny’s ‘Three Pines’ detective novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. In real life, as in fiction, the villages are filled with colourful characters and beautiful scenery. Have a read or catch the popular TV series starring Alfred Molina.
  • Go in search of the best Québec crafts in November. At this time markets and fairs are crammed with beautiful locally made gifts and handicrafts demonstrating the passion and creativity of their makers. From maple syrup to First Nation dreamcatchers, that’s your Christmas shopping sorted.

Good To Know

  • If you have an image that North Americans eat badly, you are in for a surprise. Quebec is proud to have artisans who produce quality local cheese, meat, seafood, wine, cider; and chefs know how to highlight a gastronomy full of flavours! Try a tourtière pie made with wild moose or deer.
  • The French-ness of Québec often takes visitors by surprise and many feel a little confused by finding road signs, maps and shop names all in French. Don’t be put off though as locals usually speak English as well, but please practise a little French in greetings as this is seen as a sign of respect.
  • Don't overload your schedule with activities, but rather leave yourself time to properly connect with the experience and with the people you meet, perhaps over a microbrewery beer. Low season is the time to take things slowly and let the day unfold depending on the weather and your mood.

Food & Drink

Cuisine, Cinema & Confidences

A unique gastronomic festival in Baie-St-Paul. Each November for a few days, special venues like Hotel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix and the Museum of Contemporary Art Baie-St-Paul offer viewings of a dozen films, exquisite meals, cooking workshops, and talks from chefs and culinary celebs.

Roadside Poutine

Canada’s famous dish, originating from Quebec. Highly calorific and strangely addictive, French fries are topped with cheese curds and thick gravy. It is best eaten at a neighbourhood canteen. You will be warmly welcomed and if it's still open in low season, it means locals eat there all the time.

Quebec Sugar Shacks

Low season April is the very best time to enjoy these traditional rustic venues as early spring offers perfect conditions to make maple taffy. Learn about the history of sugar making and enjoy a feast of pea soup, meat pie, beans, crepes and maple syrup accompanied by authentic Quebecois music.

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