Summer in the City: A Weekend in Quebec City for Festival d’été

You never know what will happen when you know where everyone is going. We’re profiling the hottest events across Canada all season in our new Summer in the City series. Next up: Quebec City. Music enthusiast Jenny Charlesworth explores la belle province to tell you where to go this season and why.

summer-in-the-city-bannerIf you’re looking to lose yourself in old-world charm this summer but can’t afford the jaunt across the Atlantic, why not plan a quick getaway to Quebec City? A gorgeous locale with historic forts and grand churches at every turn, it’s an idyllic setting for summer excursions. The prime time to visit? During Festival d’été de Quebec, of course! The 14-day music showcase, which kicked off July 4, is the piece de resistance of summer programming in Quebec City. So pack your bags and make a beeline for Canada’s most romantic city. Bon voyage!
Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Photo by Jeremy Hartman


Coeur de Pirate; Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Festival d’été de Quebec

With stages scattered around the city, there’s always the faint hum of music in the air during Festival d’ete. And there’s always the difficult choice as far as which acts to see. During my visit, the big debate was between the blues-rock swagger of Black Keys or the dreamy French pop of Quebecois sweetheart Coeur de Pirate. The tattooed chanteuse won out—Quebec City under the stars, how could you pass her up in that setting?

Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Ritzy Bryan of Joy Formidable; Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Next up was the Joy Formidable show where Ritzy Bryan, the spunky blonde who fronts the London-based rockers, was in fine form, bouncing around like a crazed wind-up doll while playing songs off their new album, Wolf’s Law.

Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Hitting up multiple venues per night is par for the course at Festival d’ete so leave the Louboutins at home and opt for cute—and comfy—sandals. Make sure to lock down your schedule so not to miss any of your must-see artists (or delicious late-night poutine spots like Snack Bar). Rounding out the festivities this week are the soulful and stylish Solange on Friday, July 12, shaggy rockers The Sheepdogs Sunday, July 14 and Stevie Wonder (!) also on Sunday, so there’s still plenty of fun to be had!

Cost: Prices vary

Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Swell and Ginger; Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Swell and Ginger

Planning on patio-hopping in Old City Quebec? Find a chic summertime look at this gorgeous boutique showcasing the likes of House of Harlow, Sam & Lavi and Finders Keepers. Bring a pretty Maaji lingerie set home in your luggage or else treat yourself to an eye-catching friendship bracelet by Kim & Zozi as a memento of your trip.

Address: 765A St-Joesph E, Quartier St-Roch


Kitsch; Photo by Jeremy Hartman


If your summer wardrobe needs an overhaul then drop by this girlie boutique for flirty bustiers and cute crop tops (I’m in love with the “I make art because I’m pissed I was never in a band” number by Hips and Tips). Expect fun floral patterns and playful designs from the likes of Wild Fox, Glamorous and Against Nudity. Kitsch also carries the perfect bikini cover-up, a vintage-inspired robe complete with Bo-ho fringe from Aussie label Pink Mink.

Address: 425 St-Joseph E, Quartier St-Roch

Chez Boulay; Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Chez Boulay; Photo by Jeremy Hartman

Chez Boulay

For weekend brunch, hit up Chez Boulay, a sleek Saint-Jean St. bistro backing onto the swanky Hotel Manoir Victoria. Ditch the diet and nibble on the yummy berry loaf that arrives once you’re seated (so much better than your average bread basket!). The wild boar bacon omlette is incroyable! With its savoury fresh herbs and swiss chard, the dish is a specialty at this culinary hot-spot specializing in seasonal northern Canadian cuisine. There’s strong espresso if you need your caffeine fix, otherwise order a classic Mimosas—or two!

Make reservations to avoid waiting in line for brunch, which is served between 10 AM and 3 PM. If you do find yourself in the cue, Rudsak is only a short stroll from the bistro so you can kill time eyeing up gorgeous handbags like their Renaissance color-blocked canvas tote, which is perfect for a summer getaway!

Cost: Food and drink, $25-30
Address: 1100 Rue St-Jean, Chez Boulay
Address: 1055 Rue St-Jean, Rudsak