Photos: Quebec City: A unique Canadian hideaway

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  1. Historic railway

    Taking locals and tourists up nearly 300 feet at a 45 degree angle to Terrase Dufferin, the Quebec Funicular has been operating since 1879. (Richard T. Nowitz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Charming Chateau

    The Fairmont Chateau Frontenac stands high on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River in the heart of Quebec City. (Tibor Bogn·r / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Marvelous mural

    The Fresque des Quebecois Mural fills an entire four story wall, and illustrates 400 years of Quebec history. (Richard T. Nowitz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Icy competition

    Ice canoe racers push and paddle their canoes along the St. Lawrence River, during Quebec's Winter Carnival. (Alison Wright / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A cool place to stay

    Quebec's Ice Hotel is located just outside of Quebec City, and is rebuilt each winter with new and unique architecture. (Alison Wright / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Walking in the rain

    Pedestrians walk in the rain on Rue de Petit Champlain, in Quebec City. (Richard T. Nowitz / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Illuminating art

    The Gare du Palais Fountain is illuminated at night across from the Gare du Palais train station in Quebec City. (Nik Wheeler / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 6/4/2007 12:42:43 PM ET 2007-06-04T16:42:43

Admiring the Skyline from the Lévis Ferry. The ferry provides quite a view for very little money, and passengers can stay onboard and come right back without disembarking.

Discovering the Blossoming Lower Town. All but abandoned to shipping and grimy industry, the old riverside neighborhood is reborn, with antiques shops, bistros, and boutique hotels filling its rehabilitated 18th- and 19th-century buildings.

Lingering at an Outdoor Cafe. Tables are set out at place d'Armes, in the Quartier du Petit-Champlain, and along the Grande-Allée -- a quality-of-life invention the French and their Quebecois brethren have perfected.

Relaxing in Battlefields Park (Parc des Champs-de-Bataille). This park is beautifully situated, overlooking the St. Lawrence River, and is particularly lively on weekends, when families and lovers come here to picnic and play.

Strolling and Lounging on the Terrasse Dufferin. Captivating Québec City is at its best here, with the copper-spired Château Frontenac rearing up behind, the Lower Town below, and ferries, freighters, and pleasure craft moving on the broad, silvered river.

Especially for Kids
Children who have responded to Arthurian tales of fortresses and castles or to the adventures of Harry Potter often delight in simply walking around this storybook city. As soon as possible, head for Terrasse Dufferin, which has those coin-operated telescopes that kids find so engaging. In decent weather, there are always street entertainers, ranging from Peruvian musical groups to men who play saws or wine glasses. A few steps away at Place d'Armes are horse-drawn carriages, and not far in the same direction are the Musée de Cire (Wax Museum), on Place d'Armes at 22 rue Ste-Anne, and the Musée du Fort, at 10 rue Ste-Anne.

Also at Place d'Armes is the top of Breakneck Stairs. Halfway down, across the road, are giant cannons ranged along the battlements on rue des Ramparts. The gun carriages are impervious to the assaults of small humans, so kids can scramble over them at will. At the bottom of the Breakneck Stairs, on the left, is a glass-blowing workshop, the Verrerie la Mailloche. In the front room, craftsmen give intriguing and informative glass-blowing demonstrations. The glass is melted at 2,545°F (1,396°C) and is worked at 2,000°F (1,093°C). Also in the Lower Town, at 86 rue Dalhousie, the playful Musée de la Civilisation keeps kids occupied for hours in its exhibits, shop, and cafe. Military sites are usually a hit, too. La Citadelle has tours of the grounds and buildings, but the distances covered and the dry narration are apt to give kids the fidgets. Better still, take them to the colorful changing of the guard and beating retreat ceremonies.

The ferry to Lévis across the St. Lawrence is inexpensive, convenient from the Lower Town, and exciting for kids. The crossing, over and back, takes less than an hour. To run off the kids' excess energy, head for Battlefields Park (Parc des Champs-de-Bataille), which is also called the Plains of Abraham. To get there, take rue St-Louis, just inside the St-Louis Gate, or, more vigorously, the walkway along Terrasse Dufferin and the Promenade des Gouverneurs, which has a long set of stairs. Acres of grassy lawn give children room to roam and provide the perfect spot for a family picnic.

Even better is the Village Vacances Valcartier (tel. 418/844-2200;www.valcartier.com) at 1860 bd. Valcartier in St-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, about 20 minutes' drive north of downtown. In summer, it's a water park, with 25 slides, a huge wave pool, and diving shows. In winter, those same facilities are put to use for snow rafting on inner tubes, sliding down ice slides, and skating.

For a complete listing of what to see and do in Quebec City, visit the online attractions index at Frommers.com.

Frommer’s is America’s bestselling travel guide series. Visit Frommers.com to find great deals, get information on over 3,500 destinations, and book your trip. © 2006 Wiley Publishing, Inc. Republication or redistribution of Frommer's content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Wiley.

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