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Québec City, steeped in history and culture

Published on July 10, 2024

Wandering through the streets of Québec City, you can sometimes feel like you’re walking back through time. Yet the Capitale-Nationale region is also a cultural epicentre where shows keep things hopping throughout the seasons, where art and gastronomy align to create unforgettable epicurean experiences. To move there is to enter a world that bridges the past and present. Is this the city for you?

City with a thousand angles

Paved alley and stone and brick apartments in Québec City
Photo : Shutterstock/Eskystudio

Québec City provides more than just a stunning backdrop for Insta-worthy photo montages! The city boasts an exceptional quality of life and is renowned for its warm ambiance, reassuring safety and multitude of services. Festivals held throughout the year, historical buildings lining the streets and lush parks are also active parts of this multi-layered treasure. It’s not surprising that visitors quickly discover what the hype is all about and want to immerse themselves in this charming city.  

Though its residents’ at-home satisfaction rate is not that markedly different from the rest of the province, residents of the Capitale-Nationale region stand out for the deep love they feel toward their hometown. Indeed, the EspaceProprio’s Well-being at home survey1 reveals that residents feel a strong attachment. It’s also the place with the highest proportion of Québecers who say they’re happy (60%) and stimulated (21%).

A wealth of heritage in a vibrant urban oasis

Colourful apartments in Old Québec
Photo : DuProprio

Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Québec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. It emerged as an historical jewel in the heart of French-speaking North America. Its centuries-old buildings, cobblestone streets and imposing ramparts bear witness to a rich and eventful past.   

First known as the capital of New France, it fell under British rule after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The city has since played a central role in the development of Canada and remains internationally famous for its French colonial fortifications and architecture found mostly in the old city (called Old Québec). This historic area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Over time, Québec City has been able to modernize without losing its unique character. It now hosts contemporary infrastructure and renowned cultural institutions (like the Grand Théâtre de Québec and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec). The end result is a perfect balance between tradition and innovation that makes the Capitale-Nationale region a popular tourist destination and potential place to call home. 

This is where Audrey, human resources advisor, met Nicolas, professional in the economic and financial sector. They found their little piece of paradise in this city they will always put on a pedestal. They’re particularly enchanted by its historical significance. 

“Old Québec is one of our favourite places to take romantic walks,” says the young woman. “Dufferin Terrace takes us back to when we started going out seven years ago. We loved heading there to enjoy the breathtaking view. It’s a place filled with its share of memories and magic.” 

Houses and main roads

Typical architecture

Townhouses with a variety of roofs in Québec City
Photo : DuProprio

How to describe Québec City’s architecture? Several architectural styles mingle and are a testament to its rich historical heritage. 

Victorian houses are noted for their elaborate details, such as complex roofs with elongated gables, turrets and wide, welcoming porches. Colours vary, often inspired by the palette of the time: shades of burgundy, dark green and deep blue, accompanied by contrasting touches of white or cream. 

Neoclassical style houses (the famous ‘Canadian house’) have several typical heritage characteristics. They feature a 45-degree pitched roof, a common sight in traditional architecture. 

Arts and Crafts style houses highlight the use of natural materials, incorporating gentle slopes and sprawling porches supported by columns. Made of wood shingles, stone or brick, these houses usually have two or three storeys and come with straight gable or hip roofs. 

It’s clear that Québec City is home to a variety of dwelling types. Old Québec is dotted with rowhouses, often narrow and built of stone or brick. There are numerous single family homes located on the outskirts of downtown that provide a peaceful living environment for residents.    

The architecture is predominantly French and British. Stone houses, sloping roofs and churches with their spires are some of the city’s most recognized characteristics. The imposing Fairmont Château Frontenac, an iconic hotel, is a striking example of the Château style, which appeared towards the end of the 19th century, evoking the French Renaissance. 

Some images of architectural wonders in Québec City 

Fairmont Château Frontenac and Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral-Basilica
Photos : Shutterstock/Tonna, Shutterstock/Wangkun Jia, Shutterstock/JSA photo, Shutterstock/Pierre Jean Durieu, Shutterstock/RnDms

Théâtre Capitole, National Assembly of Quebec, Saint-Jean Gate, Dufferin Terrace/Fairmont Château Frontenac and Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral-Basilica

City layout

Sloping street in Old Québec with Québec provincial flags and rowhouses
Photo : DuProprio

Québec City is geographically split in two and that has impacted the way city has developed. The Haute-Ville (or Upper Town) is located on the promontory of Cap Diamant. It’s home to the Château Frontenac and old city fortifications, accessible by the Breakneck Stairs and the funicular. This high elevation boasts a concentration of defensive structures and is also the area where government buildings are found. 

By contract, the Basse-Ville (or Lower Town) is at the base of Cap Diamant and close to the banks of the Saint-Lawrence River. It has developed a more commercial and industrial character with its converted warehouses and attractive boutiques (like in the Petit-Champlain district).

Well-known streets

Street in Québec City's Petit-Champlain district
Photo : Shutterstock/Little Vignettes Photo

Autoroute Félix-Leclerc (A-40) and Autoroute Laurentienne (A-973) are among the main arteries directing inter-urban traffic and connecting with surrounding communities. Many must-see streets in Québec City have their own charm, including:    

Rue du Petit-Champlain is known for its quaint boutiques and mouth-watering restaurants, like the Cochon dingue and Lapin sauté.   

Petit-Champlain Street and its boutiques
Photo : DuProprio

Place Royale is the site of the first French settlement in North America. This cobblestone square is surrounded by 17th century buildings. Grab a quick bite at the Smith café and feel transported across the pond to Europe. 

Rue Saint-Joseph showcases urban renewal in the Saint-Roch district, driven by cultural events and numerous stores and cafés. The Pub du Parvis and District Saint-Joseph are but a few of the restaurants waiting to host you. 

Rue Saint-Jean runs through the Saint-Jean-Baptiste district and Old Québec too. Renowed for boutiques, bookstores and bistros, it’s a favourite among locals and tourists alike. 

Grande Allée is a vibrant street lined with restaurants and bars – head to L’Atelier or Taverne Grande Allée 

View of Grande Allée street in Québec City in front of Taverne Grande Allée restaurant
Photo : DuProprio

“When we first started dating, Nicolas and I often went to Ninkasi bar,” says Audrey. “It’s a happy hour hotspot after work or to enjoy a full evening out. We still go walking there today, whether on a date night or with the family.” 

As for Nicolas, he looks back fondly on his university days: “My haunt was Dagobert when I was younger. When you know, you know! It was a different time and reminds me how great a place Québec City is to live at every stage of life.” 

Local demographics

A woman takes a picture of Place Royale’s mural in Québec City
Photo : Shutterstock/Maridav


In 2021, Québec City had a total population of 549,459 residents in 2021.2 The percentage of women was slightly higher, 281,870, compared to 267,585 male residents. These numbers show the city’s demographic breakdown and reveal there is no dramatic difference between the two sexes. 

Visible minorities

The Québec City population includes several visible minorities. In 2021, data indicated the Black community was the largest with 43.6%, followed by the Arab community at 19.2%.3 The Latino-American community comes in third at 17.1%. Though less pronounced than Montreal, this diversity enriches the city’s social and cultural fabric. 


Statistic Canada’s 2021 census4 reveals that 522,475 residents speak French as their first language while 10,130 communicate in English. Some 7,795 residents speak both French and English, while 2,040 residents speak neither of these languages. This data highlights the predominantly French character of the city with over 95% of the Quebec City population using French. 

Household income  

In 2020, the median after-tax household income in Quebec City was $60,800, an 8.6% variation from $56,000 in 20155. The distribution of household income shows that 28,100 households earn less than $40,000 per year, 153,815 households have an annual income between $40,000 and $99,999, and 83,795 households earn $100,000 or more. In total, the city has 265,710 households. 

Diversity in the housing market in Québec City

Colourful apartments in Québec City's Limoilou district
Photo : DuProprio

The housing market in Québec City is generally more affordable than in Montréal. House prices vary by district with options ranging from modern apartments in co-ownerships to historic homes in Old Québec.

There is a rather diverse distribution of occupied private dwellings in Québec City. Out of a total of 265,710 private dwellings, apartments dominate the real estate market, accounting for a significant share of residential construction6. Although single-family homes abound, there is a noticeable trend towards denser, collective housing, which is typical of urban areas where space is limited. 

There is every reason to believe the following data does contribute to Québec City’s attractiveness as a place of residence, as the city meets a wide range of demographic and socio-economic criteria. 

Personal stories like those of Nicolas and Audrey perfectly demonstrate the broad choices and aspirations of people who are looking to find a place to call their own. The father-to-be shares his journey: 

“I owned a condo in Charlesbourg since 2012 but Audrey and I wanted to get a place where we could build our future together. We decided to buy a new semi-detached in Saint-Émile in 2021. It was a big milestone for us and we were thrilled to welcome our little girl this fall in a family-centric area.” 

Nicolas and Audrey, in front of their property built by Terrain Dev Immobilier Inc.  

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Occupancy (tenants or owners)

Housing and lofts typical of Québec City
Photo : DuProprio

In such a dynamic housing market, almost half of households prefer to rent (48.8%) while a slight majority opt to buy (51.2%)7. This can be attributed to several factors, including the presence of a large population of students and young professionals who prefer the flexibility of renting.


In the greater Québec City area, a higher number of renters hope to become homeowners in the future: 26% of respondents, according to data in EspaceProprio’s Well-being at home survey.8 

Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin, 34, found her way to Québec City nearly 15 years ago, leaving her hometown of Saint-Constant (in the Montreal suburbs) to explore new projects with her boyfriend.  

Currently renting in Limoilou, Vanessa says, “It was important for my boyfriend and I to find a bright, spacious 4½ with room to host our family and friends. We chose to rent close to the bus route for practical and economical reasons. Our affordable rent means we have a stable financial situation in order to move forward with our real estate dreams.” 

This allows Vanessa and Sébastien to maximize their budget while keeping their eye on the short-term prize: becoming homeowners. “House prices in Québec City are significantly lower than in my old neck of the woods so our dream is more accessible here,” shares Vanessa. 

Choosing your city and your future home

Moving to Québec City is more than just finding a new address. It’s also about discovering a rewarding and stimulating environment to call your own. Are you aspiring to be a city slicker? Or do you prefer a less busy pace in the ‘burbs? Perhaps the provincial capital will be able to offer you a home that meets your expectations! 

Why move to Québec City?  

Grande Allée in summer
Photo : DuProprio

Community spirit up close and personal 

You’ve probably already heard all about how kind people are in Québec City. Being welcoming and offering support are common values shared by a lot of residents. Authentic social connections provide opportunties to thrive in an environment where solidarity is the norm, not the exception. And it’s not uncommon to see familiar faces when out and about in the city. 

“You often hear people say that Québec City is like a big village,” says Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin. “I can confirm that it’s a small world! People will take the time to say hello and smile at me. I often walk alone and I never feel worried.”

Where culture and gastronomy flourish   

A range of cultural events and festivities are organized throughout the year in Québec City. Festivals of all kinds, public markets, artistic expression in the streets… The city has a vibrant scene where each day is filled with surprises! 

Access to nature is a top priority

Plains of Abraham historic park in Québec City during summer
Photo : DuProprio

Nature at your doorstep means it’s easy to get away from it all yet still be near amenities. Whether it’s barrelling down the slopes at Mont-Sainte-Anne in the winter, biking along the corridor de la Rivière-Saint-Charles in the summer or strolling on the Plains of Abraham and the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, there’s something for everyone! Vanessa also suggests a detour to Domaines de Maizerets (La Cité-Limoilou district) and Cataraqui (Sillery district).  

Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin, Québec City resident

A rich history and fascinating heritage  

How could you not be enchanted by the sheer number of historical sites. This heritage is a source of wonder and learning, in addition to contributing to the development of a sentiment of belonging in the city. 

“For many, myself included, Québec City is the cradle of New-France,” says history buff Vanessa, who began grasping the extent of the city’s heritage while studying at university. “When my friends visit, I really enjoy showing them significant sites, like René Lévesque’s former home on rue D’Auteuil or the National Assembly.”  

Appreciable safety and peace of mind  

A safe and comforting environment is priceless. There’s a friendly atmosphere here and the city boasts a low crime rate. The cost of living is also more affordable than in other major cities, which boosts financial security and provides a comfortable lifestyle.  

5 districts to consider 

Properties in Québec City's Montcalm district
Photo : DuProprio

Among the city’s many districts, five stand out in particular for their charm and unique characteristics.  

1. Sainte-Foy

Apartments and Santa Cruz restaurant in Sainte-Foy
Photo : DuProprio

As an important residential and commercial area, Sainte-Foy is known for its dynamism and practical amenities. With the Université Laval as a neighbour, the area is bustling with students.   

Nicolas, originally from the Charlevoix region, moved here in 2004 to get his finance degree.  

Pavilion on Université Laval campus in Québec City
Photo : DuProprio

“I had an easy transition moving from my hometown to the city,” he says. “It didn’t hurt that my sister already had an apartment in Québec City. I couldn’t really work in my field in Clermont. Today, I don’t regret my choice as Québec City has become my home.” 

“I didn’t want to be right in the heart of the action,” he adds. “From where I stand, Québec City is a happy medium yet there’s no shortage of things to do around here. Look at all the events throughout the year.” 

For those wondering about area shopping malls, popular stops are Place Laurier, Place Ste-Foy and Place de la Cité. As for housing, this district mostly contains traditional single-family homes and condos. 

2. Montcalm

Houses and trees in Québec City's Montcalm district
Photo : DuProprio

Montcalm is lined with trees, houses filled with character and magnificent buildings. It’s very picturesque and provides a great setting to walk around or sit out on the porch. Residents also enjoy spending time at Parc des Champs-de-Bataille (which includes the Plains of Abraham and Parc des Braves), a massive green space that offers hiking trails, picnic areas and a stunning view of the city. 

That being said, properties in Montcalm tend to be more expensive than other Québec City districts. Homes are especially well maintained and are centrally located: quite close to Avenue Cartier et Grande Allée. 

3. Saint-Roch

View of Saint-Joseph Street in Québec City
Photo : DuProprio

Saint-Roch is Québec City’s trendy district. It’s famous for its boutiques (Exo, Sarah & Tom, etc.), restaurants (Clocher penché, Hono Izakaya, etc.) and cafés (Café Pékoe, Saint-Henri, etc.). Strolling through these streets (like the popular Saint-Joseph), you’ll also pass by several art galleries and design studios.   

Saint-Roch offers a diversity of housing options adapted to urban life, including renovated industrial lofts, apartments, high-end condos. One thing’s for sure: you’re in THE heart of the action. 

4. Limoilou

Apartments and stores on 3rd Avenue in Québec City's Limoilou district
Photo : DuProprio

Limoilou is a residential district with a strong community identity, lots of parks (Anse-à-Cartier or Cartier-Brébeuf are just a few) and a thriving culinary scene. Take a detour down 3e Avenue to discover a whole bunch of stores and restaurants, like le Cendrillon, known for its locally sourced dishes. 

This corner of the city is a favourite of Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin: “Life in old Limoilou has really changed over the last few years. This area never used to be thought of as hip and trendy but here we are… I’d say similar to Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in Montréal. You’ve got microbreweries and cafés on every street corner. It’s got real city vibes and I love wandering around here!” 

There’s also single-family homes, duplexes and triplexes, often renovated to preserve their original appearance. Prices vary of course, depending on factors like property size, condition and location, but they’re usually lower than other parts of the city. 


5. Saint-Émile 

Single-family homes in Saint-Émile, Québec City
Photo : DuProprio

A few kilometres from downtown is Saint-Émile, a rather quiet Québec City district, perfect for families who appreciate being close to quality schools, daycares and recreational activities. Parc de la Grande-Oasis and the Centre communautaire are must-sees for outdoor lovers.  

A solid choice if you’re looking for a balance between small-town feels and access to services, Saint-Émile has single-family homes as well as some condos and apartments to suit a range of budgets. There is a modern construction trend visible here. 

“Saint-Émile checked off a lot of boxes for me. It’s close to downtown, schools and even nature,” says Nicolas. “We can see the mountains from the second-floor windows of our semi-detached house. There’s three bedrooms and we’re going to finish the basement to add a fourth. When we’re not home, we love going to Parc des Moulins, which is really close, and then over to Le Boréal ice cream bar for some sweet treats.”    

What properties are for sale in Québec City?  

DuProprio.com is your partner of choice to find a home in Québec City. Our user-friendly platform lets you scroll through hundreds of properties for sale, including descriptions, photos and 3D virtual visits. It has everything you need to make an informed buying decision!  

Typical Québec City house with DuProprio for sale sign
Photo : Shutterstock/Anne Richard

Properties for sale in Québec City

On the quest for fun in Québec City? 

Hanging umbrellas installation in Petit-Champlain district
Photo : DuProprio

Looking for new experiences? Québec City is full of them! This way for a rundown of what you shouldn’t miss. 

Culture and arts   

Facade of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in Québec City
Photo : Shutterstock/Marc Bruxelle
  • Musée de la civilisation presents exhibits on Quebec history and culture, drawing in young and old alike. Its interactive and educative collections explore our various historical roots from prehistory to today. 
  • Théâtre Capitole hosts plays, music and dance, shows of all kinds, and there’s even a hotel on site. The schedule runs the gamut from musicals to comedies to dramas. While you’re there, why not stop by Ristorante Il Teatro? 

“And you can’t forget about libraries like the Morrin Centre, an old prison that changed vocations, the Maison de la littérature or Bibliothèque Gabrielle-Roy,” adds Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin. “I also recommend Ghost Walks (Les Promenades Fantômes), which are as entertaining as they are informative. It’s interesting to learn about the dark side of New-France.”  

Gourmet addresses to reserve

Inside the Grand Marché de Québec
Photo : DuProprio
  • A wide array of local products and tastings await at the Grand Marché de Québec. You’ll be sure to find authentic regional offerings and the many producers, artisans and restaurants on site hope you’ll pass by. 
  • Le Saint-Amour will satisfy your refined palate. This romantic restaurant serves dishes with locally sourced products. And offers an impressive wine list! 
  • Close by the Old Port, housed in the Auberge Saint-Antoine, Chez Muffy concocts Insta-ready dishes that are both inventive and intricate. 


Leisure and outdoor activities  

View from above Montmorency Falls in Québec City
Photo : Shutterstock/Kiev.Victor
  • Spectacular views and outdoor activities: all on offer at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency. Book a cable car or zipline ride to view the 83-metre waterfall and Île d’Orléans in the distance. 
  • Does this site still really need an introduction? The Plains of Abraham national site is located in the heart of the city. Relax in its wide open spaces or go biking on its paths in the warm months and then cross-country ski throughout or skate on the ice rink in the winter months. 
  • Interested in hitting the slopes at Mont-Sainte-Anne? Located a short distance away from Québec City, it features several trails and hiking paths. 
  • Opened in 2023, the Station de la Plage is quickly becoming a city favourite. There are a number of activities and facilities on site, including an infinity pool, canteen, umbrellas, lounge chaises and water, all a stone’s throw away from the Saint-Lawrence River.   

Vanessa Letarte-Beaudin enthusiastically describes the wealth of experiences she can choose from in Québec City and still be close to nature. “One day, I’m at the theatre listening to a symphony orchestra and the next day I’m kayaking at Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier,” she exclaims.   


Events and festivals  

Statue of the Bonhomme Carnaval de Québec in front of a staircase in Petit-Champlain
Photo : Shutterstock/iPIX Québec
  • With activities for all ages, the Carnaval de Québec is one of the largest winter festivals in the world. Must-sees include parades, canoe races, tobogganing, ice sculpture contest… and the legendary Bonhomme Carnaval! 
  • The Festival d’été de Québec is the kind of festival that attracts monster crowds to watch international artists. Open air concerts on the Plains of Abraham are eagerly anticipated and enjoyed every year. 
  • Celebrating colonial history and culture, the Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France takes place during the summer festival season. It organizes traditional activities to highlight what it was like to live in North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. And, of course, there will be lots of participants in period costumes!

Québec City: the ideal city? 

Homes and businesses on a street in Old Québec
Photo : DuProprio

Québec City is a unique blend of heritage and modernity, firmly supported by the deep attachment its residents feel toward it.  

According to EspaceProprio’s 2024 Well-being at home survey,9 42% of Québec City residents feel very attached to their city, a level on par with eastern Quebec. It’s also the place in the province where people most often consider their city to be ideal, giving it an average 7.5 out of 10 rating. 

1 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74.
2 QUEBEC CITY. "Portrait-Ville de Québec", [Online], [https://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca/apropos/portrait/quelques_chiffres/ville/index.aspx] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
3 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Geographic Perspective," [Online], [https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/fogs-spg/page.cfm?topic=10&lang=F&dguid=2021A00052423027] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
4 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Geographic Perspective," [Online], [https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/fogs-spg/page.cfm?topic=10&lang=F&dguid=2021A00052423027] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
5 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Geographic Perspective," [Online], [https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/fogs-spg/page.cfm?topic=10&lang=F&dguid=2021A00052423027] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
6 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Geographic Perspective," [Online], [https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/fogs-spg/page.cfm?topic=10&lang=F&dguid=2021A00052423027] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
7 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Geographic Perspective," [Online], [https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/as-sa/fogs-spg/page.cfm?topic=10&lang=F&dguid=2021A00052423027] (Accessed on June 28th, 2024).
8 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
9 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74.