While there are several specific sights and activities not to be missed in Old Quebec, for me the most enjoyable thing was to just wander around the old streets with no particular plan. On our way we discovered several places that most tourists seem to miss.
Just off the Place d’Armes is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. A church has existed here since 1647, but it has been bombarded, burnt to its foundations, rebuilt and finally labelled as a National Historic Place of Canada for its architectural value. Unfortunately, someone has spray-painted a political slogan on the side of the church and someone else has answered back with their own slogan. The inside is more interesting and we were surprised by the over-the-top decoration and the large number of pieces of art. Four governors of New France, and the bishops of the diocese of Québec are buried here so what it may lack in elegance it makes up for in historic interest. We also took a guided tour of the crypt below the church ($5 per person) which we strongly recommend.
Behind the cathedral is Park Montmorency which looks like a typical Quebec Park with lots of statues and cannon. There are many plaques and signs explaining the history of this place and we learned that official buildings have been built here for centuries. For instance, this was the site of the first Parliament of the Province of Canada but the buildings kept burning down. Eventually someone decided to make it a park and today it is an enjoyable, quiet location.
We continued walking west around the walls and eventually came to the Morrin Centre which could be Quebec City's best-kept secret. It was built over 200 years ago as the city's first prison but it now houses one of Canada’s most beautiful libraries. We did the Discovery Tour with a guide dressed in period costume at a cost of $10 which lasted about an hour. We walked through the foreboding jail cells and browsed the books in the charming Victorian library. The original jail cells really give an idea of how abysmal the conditions were for prisoners. You don’t need to do a tour to visit the library which has a pretty circular staircase to the upper level books and an ironwork railing around the upper level.
From here we wandered down the slope to the market in the port area of the city. It is a real market with fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared meals, a good selection of French and Quebec cheese, honey, wine, cider, chocolates, flowers, syrup, and even a cafeteria. The nearby silos provide the screen for an interesting animation/show at about 10 pm every night but learn from us and take warm clothes except during summer.