Interested in learning more about politics here in Canada and one of the top sight of Quebec City? Well, this blog post is for you!
Just outside the city fortifications and St-Louis Gate stands the grandiose and spectacular Quebec Parliament. It is a must see on all my walking tours, especially the Quebec 101 Tour and the Photo Tour . Some tour companies or guides in Quebec City do not include this attraction because it’s a bit of a walk from the other main tourist sights of Quebec City, but personally I think it’s worth the extra time.
Disclaimer: I’m a native French speaker. English is not my first language. I learned English at school, but I mostly learned it by watching to The Simpsons and listening to rock/metal music. So, I might have made a few mistakes in this blog post. If I did, please tell me, its the best way I can improve!
Assemblée Nationale vs Parliament
While doing your research about Quebec City you might also see the term Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) to describe the Parliament. The National Assembly is the place where Québec’s elected representatives (members) debate questions of public interest. The Assembly is in the Parliament Building. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to use the word ‘’Parliament’’.
Canada’s politic in a nutshell
Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. Each one of them has it’s own provincial Parliament and government (although things operate differently in the three territories, but that’s a subject for another blog post). The Federal Parliament is located in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. For my American friends reading this, provincial Parliaments are similar to state capitols and Ottawa’s Parliament to the United State’s Capitol in Washington DC. Even though Montreal is the largest city in the Province of Quebec, it is not the provincial capital; Quebec City is.
A great place to kick start a walking tour
When possible, I like to meet my guests directly at their accommodation or at the cruise terminal. As a tour guide, I find it more convenient and I think my guests appreciate it too, especially if it rains or if it’s freezing outside (as I’m writing this blog, it’s -22C / -7.6 F outside). If it’s not possible, the Parliament Building makes a great meeting point as it is centrally located. If you need to ask directions on the street, every Quebecois knows where the Parliament is (well… I hope so!). There is parking available at Place d’Youville and at Marie Guyart Building . Local bus stops are also close by on René Levesque Boulevard.
The Parliament Building is one of the most important historical sites in Quebec City. This imposing building was designed by French-Canadian architect, Eugène-Étienne Taché, and was built in the late 19th century. Architecturally, it is one of the few buildings in North America built in the Second Empire style. At the time, it was a popular style for prestigious buildings, both in Europe (especially France, where the style originated) and in the United States. At the time of the construction of the Parliament, many of Quebec’s buildings had ‘’British architecture’’ (we ended a British regime in 1867) so the architect wanted to bring a French look to this building.
The Parliament is its beautiful garden
One of the things I enjoy the most about the Parliament is its beautiful garden, which I like wandering through. There are many species of trees, plants, fruits, fine herbs, vegetables, and flowers that are all native to Quebec. There are even some parts of the garden where people are free to pick what they want! When I have the chance, I often pick some rosemary or sage for dinner.
Ending a tour at Quebec’s Parliament
The Parliament Building is also a great place to end a tour. With its multiple statues and symbols, this institution is a tribute to Quebec history so it’s easy for me to do a historical recap there.
If you want to learn more about the Parliament Building, I highly suggest you book a free guided tour.
My recommendations and things to do around the Parliament
When my tour ends, oftentimes my guests want to go have a drink or have something to eat. Minutes from the Parliament Building, my guests can find restaurants, beer pubs, and microbreweries on Grande-Allée Steet or on St-Jean Street. On Grande-Allée Street, the best beers can be found at Linox . For my hungry guests, I always recommend Les Trois Brasseurs (French brewery with a mix of Quebecois and French inspired food). If my guests prefer cocktails, l’Atelier is the place to go.
St-Jean Street has a more local atmosphere than Grande-Allée (in my opinion). Great quick snacks can be found at Saveurs du Monde (shawarma, couscous, falafel, salads). Local beers and food are served with a friendly service at La Korrigane . Craving for poutine? Head straight to Snack bar St-Jean
If my guests still have energy after the end of my tour and want to explore even more, I always suggest they visit:
All of these attractions are a very short walking distance from the Parliament Building.