Since 1968, what the Québécois call their “National Assembly,” has occupied this imposing Second Empire château constructed in 1886. Twenty-two bronze statues of some of the most prominent figures in the province’s tumultuous history grace the facade. Inside, highlights include the Assembly Chamber and the Legislative Council Chamber, where parliamentary committees meet. Throughout the building, representations of the fleur-de-lis and the initials VR (for Victoria Regina) remind visitors of Québec’s dual heritage. Free 30-minute guided tours are available weekdays year-round, plus weekends in summer. Tours start at the Parliament building visitor center; enter at door no. 3. Note that during summer hours, tours of the gardens are also available.
The grand Beaux Arts–style restaurant Le Parlementaire (tel 418/643-6640) is open to the public, as well as parliamentarians and visiting dignitaries. Featuring Québec products and cuisine, it serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday most of the year, but you should check the schedule for closures (it is closed starting the second week of Dec until the second week of Jan). The much lower-key Café du Parlement (tel 418/643-5529; Mon–Fri 7:30am–2pm most of the year) is also an option for coffee, sandwiches, and eco-friendly takeaway. The massive fountain in front of the building, La Fontaine de Tourny, was commissioned by the mayor of Bordeaux, France, in 1857. It was installed in 2007 as a gift from the Simons department store to the city for its 400th anniversary. Also outdoors, to the right of the main entrance as you’re facing it, is a large Inukshuk statue.