Thursday, February 22, 2018
Québec City is famous for being the cradle of French civilization in North America, an authentic European-style destination, and its charming French culture.
Yet while Québec City may be rooted in a mostly French soil and the majority of them speak Québecois (Canadian French), it does not mean event planners for conferences and conventions should shy away from the city due to language concerns. Let’s break down some of the common misconceptions of French and travel to Québec City.
You don’t need to speak French to travel to Québec City
Above all, Québecers are known for the joie de vivre; they are warm and welcoming to tourists and don’t take themselves too seriously. In Québec City, there is a casual vibe that permeates the streets, making travellers instantly comfortable in a French landscape.
In fact, throughout the city—and not just in the tourist areas—people normally go out of their way to help people who only speak English (or any other language for that matter!). As with travel to any city or country, what’s most important is an open mind and friendly disposition. A Merci! (Thank you), Pardonnez-moi (Excuse me) or Bonjour (Hello!) usually does the trick (as does some great mime moves!).
And while most Québecers will answer you in English, why not take the opportunity to learn a few fun expressions in French?
Québecers CAN speak English.
Bilingualism is alive and well in Québec City. According to Statistics Canada, more and more Québecers speak both French and English. In fact, Québec experienced one of the highest jumps in bilingualism rates in Canada.
Why the steady increase in bilingualism? For one, Québec City’s economy has steadily increased over the past decades with a GDP growth among the highest in North America; this unprecedented boom has allowed the city to take its rightful place on the international scene. Secondly, new generations of French-speaking Québecers are embracing English to open up new opportunities for themselves or simply enjoy learning a second language.
Indeed, some outlying areas of Québec City are predominantly French; nevertheless, you can be served in English in most restaurants, boutiques and hotels. Even taxis and public transportation drivers can help you or your event delegates find their way around the city.
Québec City has the right mix of je ne sais quoi, of ohh là là for event planners looking for a host city that will allow convention or conference delegates to experience a new culture, all while keeping them at ease. Eliminate the non-existent language barrier and get ready to enjoy a quick ‘gig’ in French immersion!