Of course, the charms of the city almost steal the show. The feeling on the cobblestoned streets is electric, the atmosphere almost carnival-like, an infectious joie de vivre emanating from the crowds gathered around spontaneous street performances and terrasses that ring with laughter late into the night.
And then there’s the food. After dancing and singing up an appetite, nibble on decadent bison tartare and sip a posh crème de cassis concoction at trendy cocktail bar Bistro l’Atelier on the bustling Grande Allée, or go for gourmet poutine paired with a heaven-sent strawberries-and-cream milkshake at Le Chic Shack, a line-out-the-door burger restaurant in a repurposed home overlooking historic Dufferin Terrace.
Concert goers can opt too to spend time between gigs cruising down the St. Lawrence River, shopping at fashion-forward Québec department store Simon’s, or simply walking the narrow, meandering streets, drinking in the sights.
We even find time for a half-day excursion with Québec Bus Tour to nearby Île d’Orleans, a tranquil agricultural island just 15 minutes from the city centre.
Catch the morning tour bus outside the iconic Château Frontenac, the world’s most photographed hotel, and within minutes you’re transported to a pastoral landscape of historic farms, centuries-old churches and heritage homes, where you can sample succulent just-picked strawberries and locally-made products from chocolatiers, maple producers and cider and cassis makers across the island.
Back in the city that night for another concert, it’s just a short walk through the orderly crowds to find a stage.
At the Bell Stage, British rocker Damon Albarn has command of the Plains. Briefly, he leaves the stage, guitar in hand, and wades into a sea of devotees, all madly, wonderfully, lost in the moment.
“I think I love you, Québec,” he shouts. The fans thunder back their approval.