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Québec City

Qu/bec City

Québec City

“Mon pays ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver...” – Gilles Vigneault
(“My country is not a country, it is winter”)

Mid-November to the end of March is the best time for skiing, snowmobiling, skating, snowshoeing and other winter sports. In general, there are five or six large snowstorms every winter. Howling winds often make the temperatures bitterly cold, causing “drifting snow” (very fine snow that is blown by the wind). One bright spot is that though the weather may be freezing cold, Quebec still gets more hours of sunshine than most of Europe.

With sweaters, gloves, a scarf and a hat (called “a tuque”), you will be ready to confront winter. Well... almost! Remember, don’t think you can ignore the cold. Here are a few tips:

Wear a coat, preferably a long one with a hood. Otherwise be sure to buy yourself a hat or a good pair of earmuffs.

If you are fond of your shoes, buy a pair of galoshes. They are a kind of rubber overshoe that is very practical for protecting against the corrosive salts used to melt the ice. They are easy to find and are inexpensive.

Visitors usually find that stores and other public places are overheated. The trick is to remove your scarf and open your coat the moment you step indoors.

If you feel a sudden chill while window-shopping, do not hesitate to enter a store to get warm. This way you will avoid catching a cold.

If you are going skiing, do not forget your sunglasses.


Spring is short, lasting roughly from the end of March to the end of May, and is heralded by the arrival of “slush,” a mixture of melted snow and mud, and the break up of the ice on the St. Lawrence River. As the snow disappears, long-buried plants and grass, yellowed by frost and mud, come to life again. Nature's welcomed reawakening is spectacular. One of the other signs that announce spring is the return of the snow geese flying in long V formations. Their calls mingle with those of the Québécois shouting, “It’s spring!”

Heavy sweaters, woolen clothes and scarves are recommended for the in-between seasons of spring and autumn. Do not forget your umbrella and a raincoat.


Summer in Québec blossoms from the end of May to the end of August and may surprise some who think of Québec as a land of snow and igloos. The heat can be quite extreme and often seems much hotter because of the accompanying humidity. The vegetation becomes lush, and don't be surprised to see some rather exotic-looking red and green peppers growing in window boxes. City streets are decorated with flowers, and restaurant terraces are always full.

Bring T-shirts, light shirts and trousers, shorts and sunglasses; a sweater will also be useful in the evening.


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