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Queer-Friendly Quebec City, C'est Bon!

by Lindsay B. Davis
Thursday Aug 30, 2018
Quebec City skyline with Chateau Frontenac at sunset.
Quebec City skyline with Chateau Frontenac at sunset.  (Source:Getty Images)

Quebec City is having a busy summer. There was the epic, 11-day music festival known as Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ), and a day of jubilation after France won the World Cup in July). August welcomed ComediHa! and culminated with Fête Arc-en-ciel (aka the Quebec City Pride Festival). With the arrival of September, things quiet down a bit, which means this stunning, quaint city with ample cultural offerings, natural wonders and French flair, is the ideal destination for a relaxing, LGBTQ-friendly getaway.

These Streets are Made for Walking
Quebec City streets, cobblestoned and lined with century-old homes adorned by colorful paint touches to exterior cornices and window shutters, are a wonder to behold. Perhaps to keep things bright through the rough Canadian winter? The best strolls are to be had through Old Quebec, a UNESCO world heritage site and the only fortified colonial town north of Mexico.

Must-see spots include the 19th century Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and Citadelle de Quebec, the largest British fort in North America, plus the historic Plains of Abraham inside Battlefields Park, which offers acres of greenery and impressive views of the St. Lawrence River.

If you are a daring explorer and want to build up your fitness, turn the Terrasse Dufferin boardwalk path into something of an extreme sport adventure by climbing the Cap-Blanc stairs -- all 398 of them! Consider yourself warned that nearly 400 steps are a lot of steps, and this renovated, tree-lined 17th-century structure's incline will quite literally take your breath away. That said, it is a dynamic way to explore the route from Chateau Frontenac to the Plains of Abraham by absorbing the spiritual beauty while testing your physical stamina.

Here's an exclusive look at Cyndi Lauper performing at this year's Festival d'été de Québec

Quebec City's Old Town.  (Source:Getty Images)

An Arts Scene of Its Own
On the arts and culture front, the Quebec City Film Festival runs from September 13 through 22, and you can expect inclusive films that speak to diverse audiences." LGBTQ cinema is artistically rich and vastly creative, mirroring its community," says Program director Olivier Bilodeau. "There has always been and will ever be LGBTQ cinema at FCVQ. It's simply a must!"

From September 18 through October 13, Grand Theatre de Quebec presents "The Real World?" by prominent gay French Canadian playwright, screenwriter and author Michel Tremblay, who credits his early life growing up working class and closeted in heavily Catholic 1950s Quebec with inspiring him to find his voice. Mr. Tremblay's work features openly gay characters and explores queer identity with its related themes. The Grand Theatre's reboot of his 1975 French-language play "The Real World?" at Le Trident about a young boy who dreams of becoming a writer and pens a play with characters based on his mom, dad and sister, is directed by Marie-Hélène Gendreau.

Two of Quebec City's most notable art museums have impressive exhibitions entering their final weeks this fall. At Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec catch "Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist," the first solo exhibition of the pioneering Parisian's paintings and portraits to be mounted in Canada.

The Musee de la Civilisation presents its must-see fashion exhibit of the year, "Hats, Heels and Headpieces" through October 8, which draws from more than 1,800 objects donated by Annie Cantin and Pierre Cantin from the 1960s and beyond.

Le Drague Cabaret Club  

Pride All Year in Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Speaking of heels, find the sparkliest, high ones at Le Drague Cabaret Club. Located in the bustling, Bohemian Saint-Jean-Baptiste section of the city, Le Drague prides itself as a bridge between gay, lesbian and hetero communities, and has been in business for over 30 years. Keep up to date on upcoming drag shows, cabaret performances, karaoke nights and more through their Facebook events page.

Around the corner from Le Drague is the famed Rue St-Jean, a street known for its LGBTQ-owned businesses and lively vibe. Vegan outpost LOUCA and smoothie centric Blender Bar A Jus are delicious additions to the health & wellness eating scene.

For coffee, look no further than Cantook Micro Torrefaction -- cold brew with half & half and maple sugar will change your life -- and when ready to indulge your sweet tooth, check out the desserts at Chocolato Saint-Jean.

If you're feeling a little feisty (or in desperate need of a fresh fall haircut) the combination salon and lingerie/sex toys shop LeeLove is your answer. Further west and nestled inside a 19th-century Victorian house since 1989 sits Sauna Bloc 225, a popular men's bathhouse.

Ciderie Verger Bilodeau, d I'lle d'Orleans.  

Road Trip: d I'lle d'Orleans
Known as the cradle of New France, d l'lle d'Orleans offers lush green pastures that evoke the Irish countryside. Its agriculture community thrives, with vineyards, creameries and orchards. And the journey to the island across one bridge is only 20 minutes from Old Quebec.

A short list of what to seek out includes a viscous, milk chocolate, sea salt dipped ice cream cone at Chocolaterie d l'lle d'Orleans, the L'Heritage white wine from Vignoble du Mitan and the arrival of apple and maple products at Ciderie Verger Bilodeau each autumn.

The most convenient way to get there and see the whole island is on a Quebec City Bus Tour, which offers small group excursions in under three hours that will leave you feeling c'est magnifique!

Summer 2018

This story is part of our special report titled "Summer 2018." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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