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9 reasons why Quebec City is the best Christmas destination on the planet

The cobbled streets and charming squares of Quebec City come alive during the holiday season. A blanket of snow and glowing decorations, along with fantastic winter activities and festivals, have made Quebec one of the world’s top Christmas destinations. From traditional toboggan runs to authentic German Christmas markets, here are 9 reasons why Quebec Christmas is better than the rest.

1. It’s a winter wonderland

As the temperature drops, the snow begins to fall and Quebec City transforms into a magical winter wonderland. The rooftops are cloaked with fluffy snowflakes and thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the city. Quebec goes all out to prepare for Christmas, with dazzling decorations and plenty of winter activities.

2. The enchanting Christmas Village

An Old Quebec City Christmas experience is one of the best in the world. From November each year, Old Quebec transforms into a Christmas village. You’ll marvel at the glittering lights, beautiful decorations, Christmas trees and snow.

You can even wander through nativity scenes from around the world. Stroll from Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church in Place Royale to the end of Rue du Petit-Champlain, for an unforgettable Christmas experience.

3. The German Christmas Market

You can experience the magic of an authentic German Christmas Market in Old Quebec. You’ll find over 80 stalls filled with artisan products and delicious treats like sausage and roasted chestnuts. The market is beautifully decorated and there are plenty of free shows and outdoor entertainment.

4. Go tobogganing

The toboggan run at Château Frontenac is one of the oldest traditions of a Quebec Christmas. It’s open from mid-December to March when the snowfall is at its best. You’ll whiz down the snowy tracks on a wooden sled, reaching speeds of up to 72 kilometres per hour. It’s a thrilling ride and you’ll have views overlooking the city as you zoom down the hill.

5. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts

Quebec’s stunning snowy landscapes offer a host of exciting outdoor activities. Families can go hiking, skiing and snowshoeing in the nearby Sentier des Caps de Charlevoix. Thrillseekers can learn how to ride a snowmobile or try ‘fat-biking’ along the icy trails. If you love ice-skating, head to Place D’Youville. The square is beautiful any time of the year, with the Théâtre Capitole, Saint-Jean Gate and Palais Montcalm. It’s especially magical during a snowy Quebec Christmas. A skating rink opens and you can rent a pair of skates and zoom across the ice to music while taking in the glittering holiday decorations. RELATED CONTENT: 7 best experiences in Canada

6. See the Christmas decorations of the world’s most photographed hotel

The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is one of the world’s most photographed hotels and an iconic symbol of Quebec City. The hotel leaves no holds barred when decorating for the festive season. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can stop by to see the magical holiday decorations. You might even meet Santa Claus.

7. It’s a green festive city

Once named “The Most Sustainable City in Canada”, Quebec City has introduced several green initiatives. There’s a booming urban agricultural scene and a composting program to reduce waste across the city.

Locally owned boutiques, restaurants and green hotels are thriving, while the city introduced electric minibuses in 2008. Besides the minibuses, you can navigate Quebec on two wheels, with over 400 kilometres of bicycle paths winding through the city. It’s also a great walking destination, and it’s easy to explore most of the major tourist attractions on foot.

Quebec also extends its green efforts to its two major festivals – the Winter Carnival and the Summer Festival. The festivals reuse construction materials from past events and use on-site recycling and composting. They also hold the events on sites that are easily accessible by bicycle and public transportation.

8. It’s filled with Old-World charm

Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. Founded in 1608 on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the city is filled with French colonial architecture. The Historic District of Old Quebec was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

The cobbled streets, quaint stores and cosy bistros give the city an Old-World charm. It becomes even more lovely with the snow and merry decorations of the holiday season.

One of the top areas to visit during your Quebec Christmas is Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville. You’ll marvel at the grand Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral and decorated City Hall. Just down the street, you can also visit La Boutique de Noël de Québec, one of the best Christmas stores in the country. GET INSPIRED: Best of Eastern Canada

9. They celebrate long after 25 December

In Quebec, the holiday celebrations last well beyond Christmas Day. You can ring in the New Year at Grande Allée, where thousands of revellers gather for Quebec’s outdoor New Year’s Eve spectacular on 31 December. The buildings along Grande Allée are lined with festive decorations and illuminated in dazzling lights.

You can also visit Quebec for the Quebec Winter Carnival. It’s one of the world’s largest winter carnivals, filled with outdoor sporting events, public banquets and outdoor dance parties There are even masquerade balls and opening and closing ceremonies. In 2020, Quebec City will hold the Quebec Winter Carnival from 7 to 16 February.

Have you experienced an enchanting Quebec Christmas? Where’s your favourite place to celebrate the festive season? Let us know in the comments below…

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