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travel to Quebec in April

Hello everyone:

We have booked flights to Quebec City in April. Any clues on what to see/avoid and how disabled we will be by speaking very little French? It's a place we really want to visit.



Posted by
3392 posts

Most everyone in Quebec City speaks English well. Only when you get out of the cities in Quebec will you find some people who don't speak English. You won't have a problem.
Quebec City is spectacular! The cleanest city I've ever been in! Walkable size, great food, and spectacular views and architecture. We spent three days there and were able to see pretty much everything I think! WE walked up to the old fort overlooking the St. Lawrence River and went through the upper town and the lower town. The one thing I wish we would have done is sail or take a boat on the river. Maybe another time!

Posted by
3941 posts

You may get some French folks who may be 'rude' about the whole not speaking English thing...they are surrounded by English speakers, they should know the basics. Same as when you go to France, learn the basics...hello, good bye, please, thank you, excuse me, where is the We have visited Montreal but not Quebec City. As a Canadian, I had a little French in junior high years ago, and am faced with French everyday on packaging (so food stuffs are pretty easy for me). No issue at all in Montreal with French, other the with a bus driver who I think was 'playing' stupid.

Just be polite, if they refuse to speak English (or really don't - older folks may not, younger people most def should) just move on - the next person most likely will help. Don't let it ruin your trip - most Quebecers understand the money tourists contribute to the economy.

Posted by
8293 posts

The official tourism site for Quebec City would be a good place to start. Loads of English-speaking tourists visit Quebec City every year so I think you'll be OK but as Nicole has advised, arm yourselves with a few polite phrases in the French language. And if you find the place, as I do, just too cute to bear, get on a train and come to Montreal!

Posted by
3941 posts took me a few years to try it (why would you put gravy and cheese on French fries??!) because it looks disgusting...but....ohhhh myyyyyyy! :) To make you bacon lovers drool, we have a Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie - they do a triple bacon poutine (double smoked bacon, peameal bacon and bacon bits)...can you feel your arteries hardening?

Posted by
3941 posts

Well, if you gotta go from a heart attack, might as well be when eating cheese and ;)

Posted by
1446 posts

For the "cheap" river tour, here's what I suggest:

When you are down in the very historic lower town, the part at the base of the funicular (just below the terrace of the Chateau Frontenac), you will see a ferry port.

That ferry crosses the Saint Lawrence river to the Lévis side. Ride it across and back, just round-trip.

The view from the river is impressive and you'll get some very nice photos!

Posted by
895 posts

Be prepared for a variety of weather - unfortunately it has been known to snow in April....and this has been a year of cold temperatures and high snowfall in eastern Canada. The later in the month you go the better chances of no snow.

Posted by
1446 posts

As far as the comments about non-English speakers in Quebec City being "rude" because "they should know the basics"... a better informed person would know that French speakers in Quebec City are NOT surrounded by English speakers. The language in which the (very large) majority of people living in Quebec City are brought up in and educated is French. The English taught in schools is, well, pretty much as bad as the French taught elsewhere - and usually by non-native speakers. This situation is peculiar to Quebec City and some regions... Montreal, the province of Quebec's largest city, is - quite literally - a world apart on this issue.

You will encounter people who will not be able to speak English with you. They are not necessarily rude, but just an ordinary person. Many will try, but some will be wary. Although many tourists visit Quebec City, it is not tourism that sustains its economy... just like Chicago, for example.

My parents were both from Quebec City and they learned English when they moved elsewhere. Most of my aunts & uncles, cousins, and their children, do not speak English at all. Some can get by with a few phrases and are are not too shy to try, but they are in the minority.

So, enjoy your time in Quebec City. The people who directly work with tourists will be able to speak English with varying degrees of fluency (mostly very well). I would be very surprised if you do encounter genuine rudeness.

Posted by
8293 posts

Lesley from B.C. warns of snow in April in Quebec. Well, I suppose it has happened on occasion but so rarely that I cannot imagine why he mentions it. It snowed once in Montreal on May 10 about 50 years ago, too, I distinctly remember, but I wouldn't mention it to someone contemplating a May visit.

Posted by
1446 posts

It depends on when in April... there may very well still be snow on the ground in Quebec City in April - they do get quite a bit more snow than Montreal. My mom (living in Quebec City) usually still has snow on her balcony well into April. As correctly pointed out by Norma, a fresh snowfall in April would be rare.

Posted by
86 posts

I 100% agree with Diane. Having been there before, I would not go expecting everyone to speak English, even basics-it would be like someone from there coming to my province and expecting all Albertans to be able to speak basic French. Yes, if you stay in the old town there will be more English, but its not a guarantee. That being said, every time I tried to speak French, and my students who are immersion did too the people we were speaking to switched to English. This for the kids was a major disappointment, just because they wanted to use their French (but they have strong anglophone accents). They kept speaking French and the people they interacted with eventually switched back, and it was all good.

When we were there in April it was cool, but not cold. I think one morning there was frost, but not snow. Its not like the prairies in Canada where we get snow in May. If you dress in layers you will be fine.

You will love it! The city is stunning. Best thing we visited was The Plains of Abraham and citadel, just due to its historical significance. Wander the streets and enjoy the atmosphere-maybe do a walking tour or take the ferry across to Levis (Leh-vee), if its running. Also eat at St. Hubert (if you eat chicken). Its a staple. See if you can make it out to a Cabane a Sucre (where maple syrup is made-pronounced ka-ban-ah-sue-k) because that's neat too, but these are outside the city, and could be harder to get to if you don't have a car.

Don't do the funicular. Its the biggest rip off in Quebec. The stairs are literally right beside it and it takes about 5 minutes to get to the top or bottom. Its worth the little extra effort to save the money.

Posted by
252 posts

Oh do not worry about the language. Most people at shops/hotels and main attractions should be able to help in English...but do learn basics at it has been said on here before. People in Quebec City are not ''surrounded'' by English as much as Montreal.
You may have to get use to the thick French canadian accents of some people...that's about it. ;)

Do bring layers. It tends to start to warm up in April....but we have a saying ''En te découvre pas d'un fil''
Which pretty means to not take off too many layers (clothing) in can get cold too and snow!

It is not fancy cuisine....but you may be able to go to a ''Cabane à sucre'' or sugar shack. It should be around that time of year :)

I am from a small town near Montréal...and I really hope you will like my province!

Have a wonderful time! Bon voyage!!!

Posted by
2 posts

Quebec City? It is beautiful and fantastic. Visit the Plains of Abraham- not much to see but you will be standing where the English finally defeated the French for control of North America and set the future for both Canada and the US.

Try poutine, of course. But also try Tourtiere (meat pie), tarte au sucre (Sugar Pie) and local cheese! If you can, take a trip to a Sugar Shack - it will be maple syrup season and it is the ultimate high on sweets.

Try Sortilege - a maple whisky liquere - delicious. Beer? Ephemere!!!

Another excellent side trip not far from the city is Montmorency falls. It is twice the height if Niagara - spectacular.

Ride the funicular to the lower old city and stroll around.

French? If you can begin in French, they will automatically know you are English and switch over.

Try this: Bonjour, je suis desole, mais je ne parle pas bon Francais - parlez - vous Anglais? (it sounds like: bone- zure, zhuh swee day-suh-lay, may zhuh -nuh- parl pa bone Fron-say. Par-lay voo Ong-lay?) It translates to: Good day, I am sorry but I don't speak good French- do you speak English? It will open a lot of doors, as will s'il vous plait (see-voo-play) which means please, and merci (mare-see) which means thank-you. Practice these a bit before you go with your travel partner.

Enjoy your trip!


Posted by
1446 posts

Well, it's March 31st. Another snow storm blew through Quebec City yesterday and my mother asked one of my brothers to shovel her balcony; there was so much snow on it and she was just fed up looking at it.

Enjoy your trip and bring galoshes!