New France Festival

In August of every year, Québec City’s inhabitants along with hundreds of international visitors gather in the city for the New France Festival.  This lively festival  is an occasion for all to discover and relive the epoch of the region’s beginnings.

In one action-packed weekend, activities of all sorts are perused. Costumed actors litter the streets of Place Royale and Rue de Petit Champlain. If you look closely, you may spot one of the main characters who played an important role in the development of the city. Feeling left out?  You can also wear a costume and participate in the festival with the some 30,000 costumed festival-goers!  There are several locations to stop in and pick up a costume, though many attendees make their own.

Entertainment meets history here as actors entertain festival goers with their anecdotes and facts about the establishment of the colony in the 17th century. Overall, 13 sites of entertainment, concerts, parades, including the famous Giants parade, shall easily keep you busy during this weekend.

The top spot for costumed strolling is Place Royale with its charming, wandering streets, and extensive history; Down nearer the water a large grassy square becomes an open-air tavern selling anything from barbequed meat and fresh fruits, to  eggs, cheese, cider, and more. The festivities certainly aren’t restricted to this neighborhood, however; they are spread throughout the entire old city.

Night doesn’t stop the festivities, either. Every evening there’s a gala parade open to everyone with a costume. For those without a costume, entertainment won’t be loss. The parade features entertainers and the very popular Giants, large walking marionettes, which draw in spectators from around the world.

Technically bi-lingual, Quebec City is mostly French-speaking and entertainment is presented in that language. Unless you’re fluent in French the story-telling and recreations of council meetings may prove problematic, but can sill be enjoyed.  Music, however, doesn’t have a barrier, and scattered throughout the city you can enjoy an eclectic mix of Celtic, Cajun, Scottish and more. Acrobats, whiskey tastings and traditional dances abound as well, making the festival entertainment cross both language and age boundaries.

A pass, which provides entree into the 1,100 events in 17 venues cost is generally the best bargain if you plan on staying for the entire festival.