Rediscovering Quebec City in Winter

Downtown's Five Best Kept Secrets

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Photo: Sarah Fortier

Parc de l'Artillerie on a freezing evening

While its European flavor attracts tourists from all around the world, Quebec City certainly deserves to be rediscovered by locals as well.  On a dangerously cold winter evening, we decided to investigate our city's five best kept secrets.  We chose places to walk by or through that are not the typical destinations one would see in most mainstream media.

5. Parc de l'Artillerie

The Parc de l'Artillerie was one of the best spots to watch last summer's The Image Mills, for the park offers an impressive view on the Old Port.  Walkable (and outrageously calmer) in winter, it is the perfect area to realize that Quebec City's military legacy is not restricted to the famous gates and walls that surround the old town.  An evening walk in the park will provide you with a look at the surreal patterns that fog and clouds make on the icy water.  A must-see for those who desire to escape the city's fast beat for a moment! 

4. Faubourg St-Jean-Baptiste: St-Jean Street's Western wing

While most tourists will prefer the part of Saint-Jean that leads to the Château Frontenac, there are still a collection of superb shops, restaurants and pubs closer to Chemin Ste-Foy.  Indeed, wether you desire to find rare vinyls at Platine, drink a beer in a lively atmosphere at Le Sacrilège, or get your hand on cheap, yet fascinating used books at the Colisée du Livre, the Faubourg St-Jean-Baptiste is a choice destination!


3. The gardens in front of the Parliament

When the deputies are on duty, there is not a single spot in town that is busier than the Parliament; however, when weekend arrives and lights go down, the gardens in front of the Parliament become more quiet than any fan of politics could ever imagine!  When we dropped by, the Winter Carnival's castle was under construction, thus giving the area an industrial, desert look.

2. Complexe Multi de Méduse

Located between downtown and uptown and topped with massive stairs, the Complexe Multi de Méduse is Quebec City's prime spot for contemporary dance and modern art performances.  Our town's art scene is dynamic and young, as illustrated by the wonderful curves that characterize the architecture of this building.

1. Le Cercle

Located in the heart of Saint-Roch, just beside L'Impérial, Le Cercle deserves the title of Quebec City's mecca for alternative music.  This is the place to hear electro, rock, or folk in a state-of-the-art showroom.  The art gallery downstairs offers unique exhibitions, such as Marc-André Drouin's "Noir Baroque," which had transformed the place in a psychedelic new-age room when we visited it.  


Winter is no excuse to stay home; in fact, it is an incentive to go out and enjoy what our city has to offer!