Uncovering Quebec City's Hidden Gems: A Guide to the Best Photography Spots
Quebec City is a photographer's paradise. From the quaint cobblestone streets of Old Quebec to the stunning views of the St. Lawrence River, the city is brimming with picture-perfect locations. But with so many places to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. This guide will take you on a tour of some of the best photography spots in Quebec City, from well-known landmarks to lesser-known hidden gems. Whether you're a professional photographer or an amateur with a passion for photography, this guide will help you capture the beauty of Quebec City like never before. So grab your camera and let's get started!
Quebec City offers a wide range of photography spots, from the charming cobblestone streets of Old Quebec to the scenic views of the St. Lawrence River. Some of the best photography spots in the city include:
Château Frontenac, a grand hotel that offers panoramic views of the city
Citadelle of Quebec, a historic fortification that offers views of the city and the river
Terrasse Dufferin, a boardwalk that offers views of the St. Lawrence River and the surrounding area.
Place-Royale, a historic square that is a great spot to capture the city's colonial architecture
Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Québec, a grand church that is a great spot for architectural and interior photography
Petit Champlain, a charming neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
These are just a few examples of the many photography spots that Quebec City has to offer. Whether you're looking to capture the city's historic architecture, natural beauty, or bustling street life, there's something for every photographer to discover in Quebec City. Make sure to continue reading to find out more about the best spots in Quebec City for photography.
Best Spots in Quebec City for Photography:
Château Frontenac is a grand and iconic hotel in Quebec City that offers a wealth of opportunities for photographers. The hotel's striking architecture, including its mix of stone and brick façade and copper roof, make it a prime subject for architectural photography. The hotel's terrace and some of its rooms offer a bird's-eye view of the city, the river, and the surrounding area, providing a great spot for landscape photography. The hotel is also beautifully lit at night, making it a popular spot for night photography and capturing the city's vibrant atmosphere.
You could even stay at the Chateau. Staying at the Château Frontenac is like taking a trip back in time to the grandeur of Quebec City's past, but be prepared to open your wallet wide, because it doesn't come cheap. Prices for a standard room can start at around $250 - $350 per night and can quickly escalate to $500 or more for a suite or a room with a view. It's like paying for a glimpse into history, but with all the modern comforts.
Quartier Petit Champlain
The Petit Champlain neighborhood is a charming and picturesque area in Quebec City that is a favorite among photographers. The neighborhood's narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and charming atmosphere provide a great setting for street photography. The area also features a mix of architectural styles, including colonial, Georgian, and Victorian, making it a great spot for architectural photography. The neighborhood's historical significance, dating back to the 17th century, also offers an opportunity for photographers to capture the city's rich history.
Personally, this is my favorite spot in Quebec City for photography. I find myself returning to the Quartier Petit Champlain on numerous occasions due to its beautiful, perfectly preserved streets, and its unique perspective of the Chateau Frontenac (which is personally one of my favorite compositions in the world).
Parliament Hill in Quebec City offers a diverse range of photography opportunities, from architectural and landscape photography to street photography. The grandiose Parliament Building, with its mix of Gothic Revival and Second Empire styles, is a prime subject for architectural photography. The terrace of the building offers a bird's-eye view of the city, the river, and the surrounding area, providing a great spot for landscape photography. The Hill is also a great spot for street photography, as it's located in the heart of Quebec City's Old Town, surrounded by charming cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and plenty of activity.
But it's not just the building that makes Parliament Hill so special, it's also the lively atmosphere that surrounds it. During the session, the parliament can be a vibrant place, with lively debates and demonstrations taking place outside, making it a great spot for street photography.
Rue St. Louis
Rue St. Louis is a historic street in Quebec City that offers a wealth of photography opportunities. The street is lined with historic buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, many of which have been beautifully restored, providing ample opportunities for architectural photography. The charming colonial-style houses, the narrow cobblestone streets, wrought-iron balconies, and colorful facades, all offer a unique and picturesque setting for capturing the essence of the city's history and culture. The street is also a hub of activity, often bustling with locals and tourists alike, making it a great spot for street photography and capturing the daily life of the city.
Plains of Abraham
The Plains of Abraham is a historic park located in Quebec City, known for its significance in the city's history. The park offers a great spot for landscape photography, with its vast open spaces and natural beauty. The park also features monuments and statues that provide opportunities for architectural photography. The park is also a popular spot for outdoor activities, such as picnics, concerts, and festivals which makes it a great spot for capturing candid shots of people enjoying the outdoors.
The Place Royale is a charming and historic square located in the heart of Quebec City's Old Town. The square is surrounded by charming colonial-style buildings, including the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, which is the oldest stone church in North America. The Place Royale offers a great spot for architectural photography, with its charming colonial-style buildings and cobblestone streets. The square is also a popular spot for street performers, making it a great spot for capturing candid shots of people enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the square.
Pierre-Dugua-De Mons Terrace
The Pierre-Dugua-De Mons Terrace is a scenic viewpoint located in Quebec City that offers a panoramic view of the city, the river, and the surrounding area. The terrace is a great spot for landscape photography, with its stunning views of the city and the river. The terrace is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, making it a great spot for capturing the changing colors of the sky.
You can easily walk from Old Quebec to the Terrace, it’s a short 15-minute walk that will take you through some less-known corners of Quebec City.
Montmorency Falls is a stunning waterfall located just outside Quebec City. The falls are 83 meters high, making them higher than Niagara Falls. The falls are a great spot for landscape photography, with its natural beauty and the surrounding park providing ample opportunities for capturing the falls in different lighting and weather conditions. The falls are also a popular spot for hiking and adventure activities, making it a great spot for capturing candid shots of people enjoying the outdoors.
You can take Autoroute 440 from Quebec City and exit at boulevard de la Montagne, or take Autoroute 73 and exit at Chemin de la Montagne. There is a large parking lot available at the site.
Hotel de Glace
The Hotel de Glace is a unique hotel located in Quebec City that is made entirely of ice and snow. The hotel is open during the winter months and offers a great spot for photographers to capture the unique architecture and atmosphere of the hotel. The hotel's ice sculptures and themed rooms provide ample architectural and abstract photography opportunities.
You should also seriously consider staying at the Hotel de Glace in Quebec City. It is like nothing you've ever experienced before. It's a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sleep in an igloo. But, of course, all this luxury comes at a cost. Prices for a standard room can start at around $250 - $350 per night, and can quickly escalate to $500 or more for a deluxe room or a suite.
It can be quite cold inside. The temperature inside the hotel is maintained at around -3C (27F) to ensure the structure's integrity. However, guests are provided with warm thermal sleeping bags, and bedding to ensure they stay warm during their stay. The hotel also provides arctic parkas and boots to keep guests warm while inside the hotel. Additionally, the hotel has a sauna and hot tubs, which are available for guests to use to warm up.
L’Ile d’Orleans is a small island located just outside of Quebec City that offers a great spot for landscape photography. The island is known for its charming countryside, with its rolling hills, picturesque fields, and historic farmhouses. The island is also home to several historic churches and chapels, including the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, which offers a great spot for architectural photography. The island is also a popular spot for cycling and scenic drives, providing opportunities to capture the island's natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere.
Here are my favorite places to photograph on the island l’Ile d’Orleans:
The Pointe-aux-Roches lighthouse: This historic lighthouse, built in 1834, offers an incredible panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River and is a great spot to capture a sunset or sunrise shots.
The Saint-Laurent River: The Saint-Laurent River runs along the island and offers ample landscape and seascape photography opportunities.
The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church: This beautiful stone church, built in 1730, is a great spot for architectural photography and offers a glimpse into the island's rich history.
The vineyards of Île d'Orléans: The island is home to several vineyards, where you can capture picturesque shots of rolling hills covered in grapevines, a perfect spot for nature and agricultural photography.
The Chemin Royal: This scenic road runs along the island and offers plenty of opportunities for capturing breathtaking landscapes and charming rural scenes.
The local farmers market: The island is home to several local farmers markets, where you can capture shots of local produce, arts, and crafts, and the island's vibrant culture.
The island is easily accessible by car, you can take Autoroute 73 across the bridge and then follow the signs to the island. Expect some traffic during the high season.
Mosaicultures is a large-scale garden exhibit that features a collection of mosaic sculptures made of plants. The exhibit is open during the summer months and offers a great spot for nature and abstract photography. The sculptures are made of different plants and flowers, providing a unique and colorful setting to capture.
Mosaicultures is located in Sainte-Foy. If you’re staying in Old Quebec, you’ll need to drive there or take public transportation. It takes about 15-20 minutes from Old Quebec to get there.
Place d’Armes Square
The Place d’Armes Square is a historic square located in the heart of Quebec City. The square is surrounded by charming colonial-style buildings and is home to several historic monuments and statues. The square is a popular spot for street performers and is often bustling with activity, making it a great spot for street photography and capturing the city's vibrant atmosphere.
The Dufferin Terrace is a scenic boardwalk located in Quebec City that offers a panoramic view of the city, the river, and the surrounding area. The terrace is a great spot for landscape photography, with its stunning views of the city and the river. The terrace is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, making it a great spot for capturing the changing colors of the sky.
Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec
The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec is a historic church located in Quebec City. The church is the oldest in North America, dating back to the 17th century. The church offers a great spot for architectural photography, with its impressive stone architecture and intricate details. The church also offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere, making it a great spot for capturing the city’s spiritual side.
Maison de la Littérature
The Maison de la Littérature is a cultural center located in Quebec City, dedicated to literature and the arts. The center offers a great spot for architectural photography, with its modern and minimalist design. The center also hosts several cultural events and exhibitions, providing opportunities to capture the city's vibrant cultural scene.
Old Port of Quebec
The Old Port of Quebec is a historic port located in Quebec City. The port offers a great spot for landscape and street photography, with its charming cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and bustling atmosphere. The port is also home to several museums and cultural centers, providing opportunities to capture the city's rich history and culture.
Pont De Quebec
The Pont de Quebec is a suspension bridge that connects Quebec City to the south shore. The bridge offers a great spot for landscape photography, with its stunning views of the city and the river. The bridge is also a popular spot for walking and cycling, providing opportunities to capture the city's daily life. Tip: You can get some really good shots of the bridge from the Aquarium de Quebec, so bring your camera if you visit the Aquarium.
The Chaudière Falls is a stunning waterfall located just outside of Quebec City. The falls are a great spot for landscape photography, with its natural beauty and the surrounding park providing ample opportunities for capturing the falls in different lighting and weather conditions.
These falls are located on the south shore of Quebec City in Levis in Chaudière Falls Park. You’ll need a car to visit these falls.
The Jean-Larose waterfall is a beautiful waterfall located outside of Quebec City. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a great spot for nature photography. The falls offer a serene and peaceful atmosphere, making it a great spot for capturing the tranquility of the natural surroundings.
These waterfalls are located a bit farther away from the city towards the North Shore of Quebec. You’ll need a car to get here as it’s far from the Quebec City center. This place can also get busy with local swimmers so if you want some better shots make sure to visit during sunrise or early in the morning at the very least.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré
The Basilica of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré is an architectural marvel renowned for its devotion to the patron saint of sailors. Photographers will be drawn to its striking stone architecture, intricate details, and serene atmosphere, providing an ideal location to capture the city's spiritual essence. Visitors can admire the church's beauty while also immersing in its peaceful and tranquil ambiance.
Getting to the Basilica of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré will require a car. It’s off highway 138 and at least 20-30 minutes away from Quebec City.
View from Levis
The view from Levis offers a panoramic view of Quebec City across the St. Lawrence River. The viewpoint offers a great spot for landscape photography, with its stunning views of the city and the river. The viewpoint is also a popular spot for watching the sunset, making it a great spot for capturing the changing colors of the sky. You’ll have a great composition there of the Chateau Frontenac and the city skyline.
There are two ways to get to Levis, one is to drive on the Quebec Bridge and the other is to take the ferry across the river.
Jacques Cartier National Park
Jacques Cartier National Park is a photography haven that offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and adventure. This park is a must-see destination for any photographer looking to capture the stunning landscapes of Quebec. From its rugged peaks and cascading waterfalls to its tranquil lakes and lush forests, the park has a diverse range of landscapes that will captivate any photography enthusiast. Whether you're looking to capture the majesty of the rugged mountains, the serenity of the pristine lakes, or the wonder of the cascading waterfalls, Jacques Cartier National Park has it all.
But be prepared for a hike, some of the best spots require a good amount of walking, but trust us, it will be worth it when you get to the top and see the panoramic views that the park offers. Some of the best trails in the park include:
Les Loups Trail: Rising to the challenge of the "Sentier des Loups" trail in Jacques Cartier National Park is a journey that should not be missed. This highly sought-after hike offers a moderate to a difficult level of difficulty with a steady ascent and a total duration of 3 hours. The reward at the summit is well worth the effort as hikers are met with breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Jacques Cartier and Sautauriski valleys, accompanied by a glimpse of the fractures of the Laurentian Massif. As one of the most popular trails in the park, it's an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Quebec while immersing oneself in the heart of its wilderness.
Les Cascades: Nestled in the heart of Jacques Cartier National Park, the "Sentier des Cascades" trail is a nature lover's paradise. The trail's name is fitting as it winds along a picturesque cascading stream, offering a serene ambiance and an abundance of photo opportunities. From quaint little bridge crossings to fields of wildflowers, nature enthusiasts will want to keep their cameras at the ready to capture the beauty that surrounds them. This easy trail is perfect for families, it offers a chance to explore the park's natural wonders and learn about the fauna and flora that inhabit the area. It's an experience that will leave a lasting impression on all who embark on it.
Sentier Scotora: For those seeking a more secluded hike, the trail to the summit of Mont Adante in Jacques Cartier National Park is a must-do. The trail begins with a steady ascent from the Jacques Cartier River and offers an escape from the crowds found on some of the park's busier trails. The trail is moderate and the duration of the hike is 4 hours. The reward at the summit is a breathtaking panorama of the valley's gorges below. As you take in the natural beauty, keep an eye out for the elusive beaver as they construct their dams. This trail is perfect for nature enthusiasts and photographers looking for a peaceful and serene hike. With the opportunity to spot wildlife and take in stunning vistas, the trail to Mont Adante offers an unparalleled outdoor experience. Jacques Cartier National Park is a good drive north (at least 45 minutes from the city center) but very worth it for some of the best views in all of Quebec.
In conclusion, Quebec City is a photographer's playground, a place where every corner presents a new opportunity for capturing beauty, history, and culture. Whether you're a fan of grand and iconic landmarks like the Château Frontenac and Parliament Hill, or you're more drawn to the charming and quaint streets of Quartier Petit Champlain, Rue St. Louis, and Place Royale, Quebec City has something to offer every shutterbug. The natural beauty of the Plains of Abraham, Montmorency Falls, and the various waterfalls will leave you breathless and reaching for your camera. And let's not forget the unique and quirky spots like the Hotel de Glace, Mosaicultures, and Maison de la Littérature that will give your photography portfolio a touch of quirkiness. The Old Port of Quebec and the Pont de Quebec will make you fall in love with the city's dynamic energy and lively atmosphere.
To put it simply, Quebec City is a photographer's paradise and a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to capture the beauty, history, and culture of the city. It's a place where you can let your creativity run wild and come back with memories that will last a lifetime.
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