Quebec City

Just as Montreal, Quebec City is festival- and museum-mad, especially since tourism is one of its top industries. The city’s two major summertime blow-outs are the late June / early July Nuits Internationales de Jazz et Blues de Quebec and the mid-July Festival d’Ete International de Quebec, now in its 26th year. It showcases the talents of more than 1000 French-speaking performers – singers, dancers, clowns, musicians, magicians, unicyclists, and the like – from 20 countries around the world.

Les Medievales de Quebec, an annual mid-August event, celebrates the Middle Ages, with some references to the Renaissance period. Over five days, the non-stop pageantry of parades, jousting tournaments, firework displays and street performances by medieval-costumed jugglers, acrobats, musicians and dancers turn Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec) into a carnavalesque tableau night and day.

Best of all is the non-stop feasting on medieval fare al fresco and in the city’s finest restaurants, with a $250-per person medieval banquet in the vaults of Restaurant Le Cavour the pinnacle of this event. Despite deep-freeze temperatures and chilling winds, the streets are as thronged in winter as they are in summer, when the 10-day annual Bonhomme Carnaval d’Hiver (Quebec Winter Carnival) takes over the city. Now in its 35th year, it attracts more than 1.5 million people annually.

For many, it is their first introduction to la belle province and French Quebec. Fabulous ice palaces and ice sculptures, winter sports of every kind, parades led by its mascot, Bonhomme – a giant scarfed and toqued snowman – plenty of food, drink and people make February in the frozen north one of the hottest places to be.

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