Québec City's Best Photo Opportunities

Posted Feb 16th 2011 12:30 PM

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Quebec Photo Opportunities

Camirand Photo/Québec City

Finding a great spot to take photos is not hard in Québec City. Thanks to the bluff-like Cap Diamant, photo ops along the Upper Town can't be beat. From the Citadelle to the Dufferin Terrace, there are dramatic views of the St. Lawrence River and its distant shoreline at seemingly every turn. On the way down to the Lower Town, the views from the Breakneck Steps are of the pedestrian-only rue du Petit-Champlain, the city's oldest street. Spewing fountains, statues and quaint Colonial architecture serve as memorable backgrounds for family photos. Take a riverboat ride for waterside shots of the city, where the foremost landmark, the iconic hotel Le Château Frontenac, reigns among the most popular photo backdrops. Here are our suggestions for the best photo ops in Quebec City.

Terrasse Dufferin

With its imposing black cannons and wide boardwalk, the Dufferin Terrace is the most visited tourist site in Québec City. Panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River are sweeping and dramatic, stretching out to the OId Port, the Île d'Orléans and the distant Laurentian Mountains. From there, just turn around and snap a photo of the towering Fairmount Le Château Frontenac, one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Below you'll see the narrow streets and quaint colonial buildings of Lower Town. On the highest point of Cap Diamant, photos from atop the adjacent Citadelle (fort) are equally impressive.

Place d'Armes

Le Château Frontenac is a stunning backdrop for photographs from the Place d'Armes, Upper Town's most central square. Dating back to the New France era, the square has served as a focal point for parades, festivals, street performers and musicians. Government buildings including the Old Courthouse flank the square, as do quaint cafés where flower-draped railings add flashes of color to spring and summer afternoons. At the center sits a Gothic-style fountain, built as a tribute to the Franciscan monks who first settled on this land in 1615.

Escalier Casse-Cou

Aptly named as the "Breakneck Steps," this steep stairwell dates from 1893, on the site where the city's oldest stairway once stood from 1635. About 170 steps link côte de la Montagne with rue du Petit-Champlain, with eateries and tourist shops on the stairwell's different levels. Photos from atop showcase the pedestrian street below-Quebec's oldest-founded by the first colonizers of New France.

Place Royale

This square at the heart of Lower Town, where New France first came to life, retains its colonial charm today. Once the city's thriving marketplace, it was home to wealthy merchants who owned the quaint chipped-stone houses flanking the square. Québec's oldest stone church, Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, is the square's most notable photo backdrop. Another great photo op is the La Fresque Des Québecois mural, just east of the square. The 420-square meter, multi-story mural on the wall of a house depicts more than 400 years of history with figures including the likes of Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain.

Parliament Buildings and Fontaine de Tourny

The grand late 19th century Parliament buildings are designed in 17th century Renaissance style, adding to the colonial-era architectural ambiance of the city. Within eyeshot is the monumental Fontaine de Tourny, presented to Québec City in 2007 in recognition of the city's 400th anniversary. Designed in 1854, it stood in Bordeaux, France for more than a century. Lights illuminate the fountain at night, adding wispy colors to water spewed from its 43 jets. A popular backdrop for wedding photos, visitors will find it impressive as well.

Place d'Youville

The sturdy ramparts of the old city walls with one its gates, Porte Saint-Jean, serve as a scenic backdrop for photos at this popular square. Once a public market area, Place d'Youville is now home to shops and boutiques. In summertime, festivals and street performers captivate visitors. In winter, a large outdoor skating rink takes center stage as do events for Québec City's annual Winter Carnival.

Views from the St. Lawrence River

Catching a ride on a tour boat or the ferry that crosses this wide river will give you some of the best photo ops yet. From the water, the landmark Le Château Frontenac towers over the city like a castle with other prominent structures also in view, including the Parliament buildings and the city's first skyscraper, the art deco-style 1929 Price Building. Sailing up river brings you to one of the region's most spectacular sights, the dramatic 275-foot waterfall in Parc de la Chute-Montmorency.

Annual New France Festival

Perhaps the best photo ops are when you take a step back in time during Québec City's New France Festival held every summer. Actors don period costumes and portray real life 17th and 18th century French settlers, from noblemen with feathered hats to peasants with tattered garb. The streets come alive with skits, parades, dance and music for this festival rooted in historical accuracy.

Filed Under: Tips & Tricks

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