Canada,  Manitoba,  North America,  Travel Guides,  Winnipeg

Top 3 Things To Do In The French Quarter of Winnipeg, Manitoba (St. Boniface)

Things to do in St. Boniface in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg has 50,000 francophones (French-speaking people), representing the largest francophone community in Western Canada, so you will likely feel comfortable speaking French while shopping and dining in St. Boniface.

The area in Saint Boniface near Provencher Boulevard and the Provencher Bridge is known as The French Quarter.

You can easily cross the Provencher Bridge or Esplanade Riel to reach The Forks. Click here for our recent post about The Forks.

Here you will find several stores, restaurants and cafes selling unique French and French-Canadian items and tasty treats.

The French Quarter will impress you with public art, monuments, and historic buildings.

Our top 3 things to do in St. Boniface are the following:

St. Boniface Cathedral from the Forks

  1. St. Boniface Cathedral

The St. Boniface Cathedral is a beautiful and historic church and landmark facing the Red River across the river from The Forks.

St. Boniface Cathedral

The current cathedral is actually the fifth built on this site since 1818 and uses the stone façade and walls of the glorious 1908 basilica that was destroyed by fire in 1968.

Festival du Voyageur Activity

  1. Festival du Voyageur

If you are lucky enough to be in Winnipeg in February during the middle of one of our so-called brutal Winters, you will be amazed at the outdoor Winter activities to enjoy.

Rather than hibernating, Winnipeg’s French community bundles up and puts on Western Canada’s largest Winter festival called Festival du Voyageur.

Festival du Voyageur live music

Some events and concerts (including things like fiddling, jigging and French-language folk music) are held at venues and tents around St. Boniface, but the majority of the events (especially the outdoor events) are centred in Fort Gibraltar, where you must pay for admission.

Festival du Voyageur Ice Sculpture

Inside the festival grounds, you will find amazing snow sculptures by artists from around the world, a frozen wall of ice for ice climbing, an outdoor “snow bar” where almost everything is made of ice, snowshoeing, an icy slide for tubing, and horse drawn sleigh rides.

One of the coolest things for kids to do there is to pour hot maple syrup on snow and then roll it around a Popsicle stick for a sweet treat.


  1. Fort Gibraltar

Fort Gibraltar was originally built across the river as a fur-trade trading post by the North West Company in 1809 and re-built in its current location in 1978.

The main building is used for weddings and receptions year-round.

During the Summer and during Festival du Voyageur, Fort Gibraltar becomes a historical site featuring actors as colorful characters showing you what life was like there in 1815 AD.

Other Things To Do In St. Boniface

The Elzear-Goulet Memorial Park runs along the Red River and offers nice walks with views of downtown and Esplanade Riel.

Bust of Louis Riel

Visit historic sites such as the Archbishop’s House, the old St. Boniface City Hall (which now serves as the Tourism Information Centre), and the grave of Louis Riel (the leader of the Métis during the Red River Rebellion of 1869, who played a critical role in the founding of the province of Manitoba).

St. Boniface is home to the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, which features an art gallery and Canada’s oldest theater company called the Cercle Molière.

The area is also home to Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum, a museum dedicated to Franco-Manitoban culture and history that is located in the oldest building in Winnipeg.

Food & Drink

We strongly suggest you order Moules et Frites (mussels and French fries) at Inferno’s Bistro.  The mussels are cooked in one of six delicious broths, containing flavours like cognac, cream, Roquefort cheese, coconut Thai, and white wine. The homemade fries have just the right amount of crunch and seasoning. This meal is very filling and satisfying. It is very popular and reminds us of ordering this dish in Montreal.  The meat lover in your group might want to brave trying Steak Tartare (seasoned raw beef). On a nice day, we recommend trying to get a table on their outdoor patio.

Promenade Cafe has a great French menu with items like Crevettes, Moules-frites, Tortiere de Bison, Beef Bourguignon. After your meal, have a slice of sugar pie or cheesecake with some coffee, wine or local beer.

Maybe you’ve had your fill of French food and want to try some Italian cuisine. Chaise Cafe has a cozy feeling and comforting Italian foods like Risotto Balls, Pasta and Pizza.

Go to Le Garage Restaurant and Bar when you want to hang out or party while enjoying elevated pub food, alcoholic beverages, and music.

After lunch or dinner, buy a decadent sweet treat at Chocolatier Constance Popp.

If you voyage a bit further from downtown, you can dine in a very unique atmosphere at Resto Gare Bistro and Train Bar. This one of Tina’s favourite restaurants in the city because you dine in a 1913 St. Boniface train station. You can have romantic drinks in a train car or by a large fireplace. The French menu here is as good as any other restaurant in the French Quarter, with items like Escargot, Foie Gras, Crepes, Coquilles St. Jacques, Brie Fondue, and Chateaubriand. If you are a literature lover, Resto Gare is only a few blocks from a museum in the former residence of famous author Gabrielle Roy.

 

Happy Travels,

Kevin & Tina

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44 Comments

    • Kevin Strong

      You are welcome. Thanks for reading. We want to share all of the magical and cultural things to do in Winnipeg and things to do in St. Boniface and other key touristy areas of Winnipeg.

        • Kevin Strong

          That is very kind.
          We have shared the 4 main travel guides with things to do in Winnipeg at its most popular tourist destinations like The Forks, Assiniboine Park, The Exchange District, and St. Boniface, but more posts are coming with other travel tips for Winnipeg.

    • L - Franglais27

      These sound like great places to visit with the French Quarter in Winning. I haven’t visited Winninpeg before but certainly like the sound of the festival du voyageur in February. I remember seeing ice sculptures during the winter festival in Queen and remember just how bitterly cold the Canadian winters can be!

      • Kevin Strong

        Just dress warmly, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience at Festival du Voyageur. The ice sculptures are beautiful and incredible.
        There are lots of other things to do in Winnipeg in the Winter. We plan to write a post about that in a month or so.

    • Kevin Strong

      The parks and historic sites in St. Boniface are relaxing and picturesque for sure. There are fun and cultural things to do in the French Quarter in Winnipeg too. We are glad you liked the post and French style. The ice sculptures done by international artists are amazing and gorgeous.

  • sejal

    Hey Kev! Great post, I don’t think I’m traveling anytime soon lol. But I’ve always wanted to visit Winnipeg, if I ever do I’ll be sure to refer to this post. Thanks for linking all these attractions!

    • Kevin Strong

      Thanks for saving this post for future reference. We hope our list of things to do in St. Boniface in Winnipeg is useful someday.

    • Kevin Strong

      Yes, the French-Canadian culture is very fun and interesting. Fiddling, dancing, and growing long beards.. You would love Festival du Voyageur and all of the other great things to do in Winnipeg in the French Quarter.

    • Kevin Strong

      That is a good plan. You’ll experience things that the world is just learning about and you will have a great time.
      If you need information and travel guides about things to do in Winnipeg or things to do in St. Boniface (the French Quarter), please save or pin my posts for future reference.
      Also, please subscribe to my e-mail list if you want to be notified of future posts.

      • Rebekah Charles

        Awesome post and beautiful pictures. There are so many wonderful things to do here when visiting, your vacation is bound to be filled with fun and excitement. I have to add this place to my bucket wish of places to travel. Thanks so much for sharing.

        • Kevin Strong

          Winnipeg is a little bit out of the way, but worth the effort.
          When you tick it off your travel bucket list, be sure to message us and tell us which of the fun things to do in Winnipeg you experienced and which restaurants you loved.

  • Jodie | That Happy Reader

    Another great post in this series! I had no idea Winnipeg had a French district! I want to have dinner in that train station! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kevin Strong

      Glad you liked the article about things to do in The French Quarter of Winnipeg. The French community in Winnipeg is large and proud and St. Boniface is a great way to feel like you are in another country without leaving Winnipeg. Resto Gare is really good (the food and ambiance).

    • Kevin Strong

      That is a great idea.
      People love to go to sunny, hot places, but they should also embrace and explore places that are cold in the Winter, but celebrate that cold with activities and events that you can’t do on a beach.
      Festival du Voyageur is very unique and entertaining.
      Please come to Winnipeg to experience the many other things to do in St. Boniface (and things to do in Winnipeg).

  • Jaya Avendel

    While I often find history alive with strife and tragedy, that is not to say historic sites are not full of stories and old-world beauty. I love that there are people still cooking traditional food and treats; next to seeing a place in the flesh, I love to travel through food. 🙂

    • Kevin Strong

      True. Some of the old ruins have sad stories. Some of these old buildings in St. Boniface have important histories, but not quite as tragic. I am sure you will find other fun things to do in the French Quarter if you visit Winnipeg.
      We love tasting these unique French dishes. Delicious and it feels like you have travelled out of the country.

    • Kevin Strong

      You got that right. Celebrating during the Winter at Festival du Voyageur like this is an experience like no other. I hope you get to experience it one day. There are so many great & unique things to do at Festival du Voyageur.

  • Cedric Noronha

    Very good post. Highly informative for travellers who want to visit the French Quarter in Winnipeg. Keep up the good work.

    • Kevin Strong

      Thanks. St. Boniface is a unique gem within Winnipeg that we should experience and explore. The economic development and tourism bureaus do a great job helping to maintain this French-Canadian escape, so you can enjoy the many things to do in the French Quarter of Winnipeg.

    • Kevin Strong

      We are in code red lockdown in Winnipeg, like many other places. I hoped that these posts would be a nice virtual escape for people by reading the information and looking at the pictures. You get a good idea of the things to do in St. Boniface (and things to do in Winnipeg through my other posts).

  • Cynthia | Adventuring Woman

    Wow, I had no idea there was such a large francophone community in Winnipeg! It’s the closest Canadian city to me here in Minneapolis Minnesota, and I may even have a couple of relatives there. I can’t wait to visit and have moules and frites. Thanks for all the great tips!

    • Kevin Strong

      We normally go to Minneapolis every summer. Kevin’s sister even lives there.
      It’s a short 7.5 hour drive, but well worth the effort to enjoy the amazing foods and things to do in St. Boniface.
      While you are here, there are many more amazing things to do in Winnipeg, so please check out our other posts about Winnipeg.

  • Jane Frith

    Interesting. We actually stayed in a campsite on the edge of Lake Winnipeg a couple of years ago. We were on a road trip across Canada. Looking through your post, I now realise we should have made the effort to go into the city. Will have to have words with my podiatrist! He grew up in Winnipeg and said not to bother! The French Quarter looks really interesting.

    • Kevin Strong

      That is a lovely part of Manitoba. We have a cottage near Gimli on the south-western shore of Lake Winnipeg. Too many people drive past Winnipeg on their way across the Country. They really should spend a few days in Winnipeg because there are so many awesome things to do in Winnipeg, including places like St. Boniface (the French Quarter).

    • Kevin Strong

      We hope that you can travel safely soon. Glad you liked the photographs. Fort Gibraltar is one of the many things to do in St. Boniface in Winnipeg, so please come check them out.

  • ThatUnknownBlogger

    Woow, these are very interesting! That Cathedral looks very beautiful. A place I’d love to visit. The Festival of Voyageur looks very lively and entertaining. I am also lovin the cultural places. All these pictures looks inviting and I wish I could visit it someday.

    • Kevin Strong

      Next to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the St. Boniface Cathedral is probably the most well known landmark in Winnipeg. You can see it as you walk along the river at the Forks. I hope you can safely visit Winnipeg soon and experience some of the great things to do in Winnipeg’s French Quarter.

    • Kevin Strong

      Thanks a lot. I wish I had even more photos, but I used what I had to give you an idea of the wonderful places to go and things to do in St. Boniface in Winnipeg.

    • Kevin Strong

      Winnipeg near The Forks was a major trading post and fort.
      We are lucky that so many French people settled here.
      St. Boniface is very cultured and there are many interesting places to see and things to do in St. Boniface.

    • Kevin Strong

      St. Boniface is definitely amazing. I hope you can safely spend time in Winnipeg one day soon.
      For more ideas about things to do in Winnipeg, please see my other posts.

  • Elle Muse

    On my list of Canadian cities to visit in the near future. I’ve been fortunate to travel across Canada and discovered that there are amazing hidden gems in our country.

    • Kevin Strong

      Glad to hear that you plan to visit Winnipeg soon. You will discover many things to do in Saint Boniface and some places, stores and restaurants will feel like you are in Quebec.

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