One hour: Quebec city

French-Canadian frolics
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The Independent Travel

Glorious countryside is within easy reach of French Canada's capital.

Glorious countryside is within easy reach of French Canada's capital.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

At one and a half times the height of Niagara, Montmorency Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls anywhere. Take a stroll to the foot of the falls and feel the mist of pounding water. Perched on top of the cliff, the Manoir Montmorency offers not only refreshment, but also breathtaking views over the falls, the St Lawrence River and the Ile d'Orléans.

By car: take Autoroute 440 east to exit 325, follow signs; journey time approx 10 mins.

Ile d'Orléans

This picture-postcard island is famous for its spectacular scenes of farms, strawberry fields, orchards and dense woodlands. Seek out its prettiest parish, Sainte Pétronille, known as le bout de l'île, the tip of the island. The Vieux Quai, built in 1855, has great views of Quebec City in the distance. In Saint-Pierre, you will be able visit Quebec's oldest church and see the mighty Laurentian Mountains.

By car: take Autoroute 440 east and follow signs to the island's only bridge; journey time approx 15 mins.

Mont Sainte Anne

Outdoor enthusiasts flock all year round to Mont Sainte Anne for pursuits from skiing to paragliding. Its 56 ski trails cover three sides of the mountain, which has the highest vertical drop in Canada for night skiing. Other winter activities include snowshoeing, ice skating and dogsledding. In summer, play golf at Le Grand Vallong, go mountain biking and hiking, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride at the top of the mountain.

By car: take Autoroute 440 east, then route 138 and follow signs; journey time approx 30 mins.

Village Vacances Valcartier

Canada's largest water and amusement park offers enough activities to keep you occupied for days. There are 23 water slides but the best of the bunch is Everest, the highest slide of its kind in North America. Eight types of wave rock the wave pool and you can have a tropical adventure on the Amazon River experience. In winter, there are plenty of snow and ice activities on offer.

By car: take Autoroute 175, then 73, followed by 40 and follow signs; journey time approx 30 mins.

Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier

Abundant and diverse wildlife is found on this mountainous plateau, which is sharply cut with deep river gorges. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking and fishing. The camping area is semi-serviced or you could camp in the wilderness. Outdoor equipment is available for hire.

By car: take Autoroute 175, followed by 73, follow signs; journey time approx 40 mins.

Promenades Ste-Anne Factory Outlet Centre

Bargain-hunters make for the Promenades Ste-Anne shopping mall, where big discounts are found on sporty labels including Fila, Levi's and North Face.

By car: take Autoroute 440 east, then 138, follow signs; journey time approx 30 mins.

Bon Voyage (0800 316 3012; www.bon-voyage.co.uk) offers seven nights' room only at the five-star Fairmont le Château in Quebec from £974 per person, including flights and car hire. Quebec tourist office (08705 561705; www.quebecregion.com; www.quebec4u.co.uk).

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