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Quebec City

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Quebec City (French: Québec) [57] is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec. Located at a commanding position on cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway, Quebec City's Old Town is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only city in North America (outside Mexico and the Caribbean) with its original city walls. Quebec is a city of about 800,000 residents.


Château Frontenac

Quebec City is the capital city of the province of Quebec. Much of the business here is of the administrative and bureaucratic nature, which would normally make a city quite dull. Fortunately, the city has a remarkable history, as the fortress capital of New France since the 17th century. Although the town's day-to-day life leaves things a little yawny at times, the vibrant historical centre makes for an incredible visit.

Quebec was first settled by Europeans in 1608 in an "habitation" led by Samuel de Champlain and celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008. The generally accepted dates of Champlain's arrival in the city are July 3rd and 4th and were marked with major celebrations. The area was also inhabited by Native peoples for many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans, and their ongoing presence has been notable since then.

Founded by the French to make a claim in the New World, the name Quebec originally referred to just the city. It is an aboriginal word for "where the river narrows" as the St. Lawrence River dramatically closes in just east of the city. It is situated on 200 foot high cliffs with stunning views of the surrounding Laurentian mountains and the St. Lawrence River. Under French rule (1608-1759), the major industries were the fur and lumber trades. The French lost the city and its colony of New France to the British in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Much of the French nobility returned to France which resulted in British ruling over the remaining French population. Fortunately, the rulers of the colony allowed the French to retain their language and religion leaving much of the culture intact. The 1840s saw an influx of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine. Due to cholera and typhus outbreaks, ships were quarantined at Grosse Ile to the east of the city past l'Ile d'Orleans. The bodies of those who perished on the journey and while in quarantine are buried there. The city remained under British rule until 1867 when Lower Canada (Quebec) joined Upper Canada (Ontario), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to form the Dominion of Canada.

French is the official language of the province of Quebec though in the tourist areas of Quebec City English is widely spoken as a second language by almost all of the staff. It is also not unusual to find Spanish, German and Japanese spoken in many establishments in Vieux Quebec. Outside of the tourist areas, some knowledge of French is advisable and perhaps necessary, depending on how rural the area is you are visiting. It should be noted that while older locals will struggle when attempting to sustain a discussion in English, most youths under 35 should be able to speak conversational English. Less than a third of the overall population is bilingual French/English.

In French, both the city and the province are referred to as "Québec". Which is meant is determined by context and by the convention of referring to the province with the masculine article ("le Québec or au Québec") and to the city without any article at all ("à Québec"). This may lead to confusion when following provincial road signs as the City of Quebec, (Ville de Québec) is referred to only as Québec in official signage.


Orienting yourself in Quebec is fairly easy. Many sights of interest are in the Old Town (Vieux-Québec), which constitutes the walled city on top of the hill. Many surrounding neighbourhoods, either in Haute-Ville ("Upper Town") or in Basse-Ville ("Lower Town"), are of great interest : Saint-Roch, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, Vieux-Port and Limoilou. Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville are connected by many staircases, all of which are unique, such as the aptly-named Escalier Casse-Cou ("Breakneck Stairs") and the more easily climbable "Funiculaire".

The city spreads westward from the St. Lawrence River, for the most part extending from the original old city. The true downtown core of Quebec City is located just west of the old city. Across the river from Quebec City is the town of Lévis. Frequent ferry service connects the two sides of the river.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -8 -6 0 8 17 22 25 23 18 11 3 -5
Nightly lows (°C) -18 -16 -9 -1 5 11 13 12 7 2 -4 -13
Precipitation (mm) 90 71 90 81 106 114 128 117 126 102 102 104

See the Quebec City 7 day forecast at Environment Canada

Quebec's climate is classified as continental with a very large amount of precipitation (around 1,200 milimeters or 47 inches). Winters are very cold, windy, cloudy and really snowy. An average of 3 meters (119,4 inches) of snow fall in Quebec each year and the city can be covered with up to 40cm of snow occasionally. The snow pack usually lasts from late November till late March. The Saint Lawrence river also freezes from early January to early March but it completely navigable for ice-breakers. Tourists are advised to dress appropriately when visiting the city during the winter as temperatures usually stay to around -15°C (5°F) during the night and rarely go above freezing during the day. When cold waves hit the mercury can dip down to -25°C (-13°F) but temperatures below this point are uncommon. The record low is -36.7°C (-34.1°F). Spring is a transitional season with March still being really cold and snowy and by the time April arrives temperatures stay around 10°C (50°F) but still stay around freezing during the night and an average of 4 days of snow occur. The coming of May signals the beginning of the summer. The city becomes green and vegetation flourishes in the warm weather. The average high in July is 25°C (75°F) and the average low is 13°C (55°F). Heat waves rarely hit Quebec but when they do they can push temperatures above 30°C (86°F). The record high is 36°C (97°F). Summer is also the rainiest part of the year. September is similar to the summer but by the time October arrives nights become cold and the first snow of the year falls towards the end of the month.

Visitor information[edit]

  • Centre Infotouriste de Québec, 12 rue Ste-Anne (across from the Château Frontenac), +1 514 873-2015 (toll free: +1 877 266-5687), [1]. 21 Jun-31 Aug: 8:30AM-7PM daily. 1 Sep-20 Jun: 9AM-5PM daily (closed 25 Dec and 1 Jan).  edit

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (IATA: YQB)[58]. About 20 min from downtown Quebec, it offers regular flights from major Canadian and US cities such as Montreal, Toronto, New York, Chicago, Ottawa, Philadelphia, and even Paris and also provides charters to remote areas of the province such as Kuujjuaq, Gaspé and Baie-Comeau.

In 2019, public transit started serving the airport, with an RTC public bus route (#76) [59] that goes to and from the airport every 30 minutes ($3.50). It connects to the main RTC bus lines 800/801 in the Sainte-Foy neighborhood, which can take you to the Old Town and city center directly. The taxi fare to Old Quebec from the airport is a flat fee of at least $34.25.

By train[edit]

A passenger train station is found at the port of Quebec, 450 rue de la Gare du Palais. The Quebec VIA Rail [60] station is a picturesque building, emulating the architectural style of the famed Chateau-Frontenac overlooking the station. The Quebec-Windsor corridor trains run regularly, with stopovers at Montreal and Toronto.

Another train station is in Sainte-Foy, 3255 chemin de la Gare, near the Quebec and Pierre Laporte bridges. However, public transit does not run there as often as the Quebec station and this station requires walking for a couple of minutes.

By bus[edit]

The bus station, Terminus Gare du Palais located at 450 rue de la Gare du Palais, is located at the old port of Quebec, next to the train station in the same building. Intercar [61] and Orleans Express [62] offer services province-wide.

Another bus station is in Sainte-Foy, 3001 chemin des Quatre-Bourgeois, which is easily accessible by city transit through Métrobus 800/801.

By car[edit]

Quebec City is 2.5-3 hours by car from Montreal on either Highway 40 or Highway 20 (north and south side of the St. Lawrence, respectively). Both routes are rather monotonous drives through endless forests dotted with farms. For a slower but more picturesque tour of Quebec's heartland, drive along the Chemin du Roy (Highway 138), which follows the north bank of the river instead.

By boat[edit]

A seasonal cruise operates during the summer months between Montreal and Quebec City. The one-way trip takes approximately 7 hours and is slow-going, but the views make it worthwhile.

Get around[edit]

On foot[edit]

The Funiculaire, Quebec City's diagonal, counterweight railway

Walking is a great way to get around the Old Town, as the compact layout makes distances short. You will see beautiful old buildings and little vistas around every corner. You will get exercise. Do be careful of uneven cobblestones and narrow streets, though.

Côte de la Montagne is a steep, winding street that connects Upper Town and Lower Town. If you get tired, use the Funiculaire to go between the upper and lower parts of the Old Town. $3.50 per person will get you from near the base of the Breakneck Stairs (l'Escalier Casse-Cou) back up to the front of the Chateau Frontenac. It is well worth it if you have small children or large packages.

Many intersections are set up with separate traffic signals and cycles for cars and for pedestrians. At one point in the cycle, all traffic lights turn red and all pedestrian signals turn white, meaning that you can cross the intersection in any direction. Yet when the traffic light is green and the pedestrian signal is red, you may find cars turning in front of you. Some intersections have a pedestrian button to activate the signals, and you will never get a pedestrian cycle unless you push that button.

By bike[edit]

The bicycle network of Quebec City has been growing slowly but steadily for the last decade. Although small compared to the extensive utilitarian network of Montreal, it now offers a few recreational bike paths called Corridors[63] with complete bidirectional and segregated bike lanes beginning downtown and ending in the countryside, generally giving splendid views of the area on the way. Most of them are part of the Route Verte [64] system of provincial bike paths.

Corridor des Cheminots is a peaceful trail that runs from the Old Port to Val-Bélair, which continues on to the Jacques-Cartier park area. Even though it can be a challenge because of its long uphill slope, it (obviously) is a breeze on the way back.

The eastern section of Corridor du Littoral leads to Chutes Montmorency. This one-hour route (2 hours both ways) runs along the St. Lawrence River, unfortunately hidden by the Dufferin Expressway. By crossing under the expressway, you can make brief stops at the Baie de Beauport recreational park and the Battures de Beauport vista point for restrooms and views on the river. Keep some of your strength for the stairs up at Chutes Montmorency: the view is well worth it.

The western section of Corridor du Littoral leads to the award-winning Samuel-de-Champlain promenade. This time, no expressway stops you from having spectacular views on the river and you might even enjoy some nice contemporary architecture on the way. Restrooms and a cafe can be found at the end of the promenade. 1½ hour both ways.

The Parcours des Anses is in Lévis, across the river. Cross with the ferry for $3 (an experience in itself) and bike west on the south shore until you reach the Quebec Bridge and cross back on the north shore to connect with the Samuel-de-Champlain promenade and Corridor du Littoral. Crossing the Quebec Bridge is not for the faint of heart though, as it is the longest cantilever bridge in the world and the path is narrow. That said, this route is the most rewarding of all and will take you a whole afternoon to complete. Part of the route on low-traffic streets still lacks a proper bike path.

The city offers maps of its bicycle paths online[65] They are open from April to October.

By car[edit]

Driving in the Old Town can be tricky, since the cobblestone streets were designed for narrow 17th-century horse carts rather than 21st-century SUVs. One way streets abound throughout the Old Town, and parking is difficult to find. Be aware of parking signs and ask locals to ensure parking regulation is understood. Parking patrols are effective and unforgiving.

Cabs are readily available and reasonably priced. Uber is just getting a foothold and is also an option.

Outside of the Old Town, the use of a car is recommended. Right turns on red are allowed unless otherwise indicated.

During the months of November through April, snow will definitely affect driving conditions. Snow tires are required by provincial law between December 15 and March 15 for all vehicles plated in Quebec as some roads will lack snow removal, sand or salting. Vehicles plated in the US or in other provinces are not subject to this requirement.

If snowfall occurred recently, watch out for red flashing parking lights. It means snow removal is underway. Cars parked on the street will be fined and towed. Parking in an underground garage is advised.

By public transit[edit]

The RTC [66], Quebec's public transportation system, is a system of buses and express shuttles that cover the whole city. Tickets cost $3.50 each, which will earn you the right to ride one direction with a transfer valid for 90 minutes. You can get a pre-paid card loaded with up to 12 trips (in bunches of 2) from licensed stores. 1, 2 and 7 day passes (2 for 1 on weekends) and monthly passes are also sold in the same stores. Free for children below the age of 6. Drivers do not carry money and cannot change bills so do carry exact change - to buy your ticket you place the money in a cash drop box at the entry of the bus. Google Transit can be used to find the best itinerary.

Four of the bus lines are frequent-service lines called Métrobus. They are served by recognizable green and grey articulated buses. 800 and 801 both start in Ste-Foy, head toward the Old Town, and end in Beauport and Charlesbourg respectively. 802 starts at Beauport to Belvedere, through Limoilou and Saint-Sauveur. 803 runs along Lebourgneuf blvd and connects with the Galeries de la Capitale terminus. They can run as often as one every three minutes during rush hour. Two new Métrobus lines, 804 and 807, will start late August 2016 using new hybrid articulated buses.

The Écolobus line has been abolished in January 2015 due to rising cost to maintain the electric buses. It is now run as route 21 and stops at most of the sights and hotels of the Old Town. It runs every 20 minutes. The $2 fare was abolished in July 2016.

The STLévis, Lévis's public transit [67], operates within the south shore of Quebec (RTC does not currently have service to the south shore). There is also a shuttle from St-Augustin to Quebec. STLévis operates three express bus lines called Lévisien and are numbered L1, L2, and L3. These different transit companies all pass through Quebec City, which explains the different colours of buses around town.

By boat[edit]

From Quebec to Lévis, the ferry costs $8.00 for a car (including driver) and $3.55 for pedestrians and cyclists, and takes approx 15 minutes, all year round. There are departures every 20 minutes at peak hours, 30 minutes off peak and runs between 6 AM and 2 AM. It gives the best view in town.

See[edit][add listing]

A quiet, foggy and mellow morning in Québec City

Quebec City's main sight is the Old Town, the upper part of which is surrounded by a stone wall built by both French and British armies. It is now a tourist district with many small boutiques and hundreds of historical and photographic points of interest. Some of the buildings are original structures, while others are built in the same style and architecture as former buildings.


  • Chateau Frontenac, [2]. Quebec City icon. Claimed to be the most photographed hotel in North America. Stay the night if you can (see Sleep) and pop in for a martini if you can't (see Drink). Guided tours are available.  edit
  • Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin). Boardwalk situated alongside (east of) the Chateau Frontenac, and offers a grand view of the St. Lawrence River.  edit
  • Hôtel du Parlement (Parliament Building), 1045, rue des Parlementaires, [3]. Beautiful building, with a nice garden around. It provides free English and French guided tours, in which one can get into the audience rooms, if they are not being used. free.  edit
  • Morrin Centre, 44 chaussée des Écossais, 418 694-9147 (), [4]. Built over 200 years ago as the city's first prison, it now houses the only English library in the city. The main attraction is a visit to the jail cells, but don't overlook the library. Guided tours of the building are offered from May 16 to Labour Day weekend. Please consult our website,, for tour times. During the off-season, booking one week in advance is required, as there's no guide on duty. Adult $8.75 + tax, Student $6.50 + tax, Children 8 years and under: Free.  edit
  • Musée national des Beaux-arts du Québec, [5]. Located on the Battlefields park, the mission of this art museum is to promote and preserve Québec art of all periods and to ensure a place for international art through temporary exhibitions. You can also visit the old prison of Quebec City, which is now one of the two main pavilions of the Museum. An annex designed by renowned architectural firm OMA is currently being built. Permanent exhibits and temporary exhibits are $18 for adults to visit both.  edit
  • Musée de l'Amérique française, [6]. $8.  edit
  • The Citadel (La Citadelle), [7]. This fortification at the juncture of the Old City wall and Grande Allée holds a changing of the guard ceremony mornings at 10AM complete with traditional bearskin hats, weather permitting.  edit
  • Plains of Abraham Battlefield Park, (Outside the Old City walls), +1 418 649-6157, [8]. Site of the 1759 battle that saw the British conquer Quebec, now used for public events, sports, and leisure activities.  edit
  • Observatoire de la Capitale, (Outside the Old City walls), [9]. One of the tallest buildings in Quebec, offering a panoramic view of the whole city. It also has an exhibition on the history of the city, highlighting the main dates and important persons. Adults $10.45, Students and Seniors 65+ years $8.40, 12- years free.  edit
  • Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, 16 Rue De Buade, +1 418-692-2533, [10]. Founded in 1647, the oldest see in the Americas north of Mexico. The cathedral is celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2014 and the cathedral's holy door, the only holy door outside Europe, is open through December. Free.  edit


  • Place-Royale, [68]. The spot where Samuel de Champlain landed in 1608 and founded the first French settlement in North America, now converted into a postcard-pretty public square. Do not miss the huge trompe-l'œil mural covering the entire side of a nearby building; the figure with a hat standing at the base of the 'street' is Champlain.
  • Petit Champlain Centered on Rue du Petit Champlain and Rue Sous le Fort, this small neighborhood is considered to be one of the oldest commercial districts in North America. The narrow streets are packed with shops and cafes. It is also where you'll find the funicular and the Breakneck Stairs. Don't miss the trompe-l'œil mural covering the side of #102 Rue du Petit Champlain.
  • Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization), 85 rue Dalhousie, +1 418 643-2158, [11]. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Museum devoted to the world's peoples, with a well-done if still somewhat dull permanent exhibit on the history of Quebec. $15. Combination ticket available with the Musée de l'Amérique Française and Centre d'interprétation de Place-Royale..  edit


  • Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge, 1215 Grande Allée, +1 418-528-0773 (fax: +1 418-528-0833), [12]. Residence of past lieutenant-governors from 1870-1966 and spread over 24 hectares, this garden features heritage buildings, wooded areas and gardens.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Horse-drawn carriages. A one-hour tour of the Old City.  edit
  • Ferry to Lévis, [13]. Beautiful views of the Chateau Frontenac and the Lower Old Town, and the other side of the river. Quite cheap and only one ticket is required for round trip if you stay aboard. (However, don't tell that to the ticket agent; some will insist on charging you the round trip fare.) $3.35 one-way fare.  edit
  • AML Cruises, [14]. Offers short three-hour cruises on the St-Lawrence river leaving from the docks nearby the ferry. One of the cruises leaves as the sun is setting and comes back when the sun is down for a stunning view of Quebec city by night.  edit
  • Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on Plains of Abraham, [15]. Treat yourself to nature in the city and ski free of charge in one of the most accessible, enchanting sites there is, as you enjoy a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River.  edit
  • Villages Vacances Valcartier, [16]. Water park and go-carts open during the summer season. Tubing and ice skating offered in the winter.  edit
  • Mont-Sainte-Anne, [17]. Ski and snow during the cold season. Camping, biking and hiking at summertime.  edit
  • Station touristique Stoneham, [18]. Ski and snow during the winter and an animated summer camp from June to August every summer.  edit
  • Choco-musee Erico, [19]. A small museum of chocolate, talks about the history and making of chocolate. Free admission.  edit
  • Ice Hotel, (Ten minutes North of Quebec City, in Charlesbourg), [20]. One of only two ice hotels in the world, from January to early April the Ice Hotel is a must-see. $17.50 (2013) will get you full tour during the day, after 8PM access to the guest rooms is restricted to guests only. Planning the visit so that you arrive just before dusk is a great way to see the hotel both in natural light and artificial light is recommended if it fits your schedule. Each room is themed and decorated with exquisite ice sculptures. Rooms start at $299/night. Includes an ice bar where you can get a drink served in an ice glass. For the romantics, there is a wedding chapel complete with snow pews.  edit
  • Governeur's Walk. 34. Scenic walk starting at the top of the Funiculare, continuing along the wall over looking the old city. The many staircases lead to overlooks offering scenic views of the St. Lawrence. The walk ends at the gazebo on the Plains of Abraham.  edit
  • Ice Slide at Terrasse Dufferin. During the winter you can slide down a ice slide on a toboggan, quite fast and great view. $2.5 per slide, buy them from the Café at the end of the slide.  edit
  • Patinoire de la place d'Youville. Ice skating rink located right in the middle of Old Quebec. Skating is free to those with their own skates, and rentals are available for $7.50 to those who need them. Rink is small in size but the location can't be beat.  edit

Québec is a great city for going out to dance traditional and nuevo-Argentinian Tango. You can find out about classes, practicas, milongas and events at the local association [69] or at L'Avenue Tango [70].

  • Lokafy, 1416 40 Homewood Avenue Toronto, ON M4Y 2K2, (647) 495-9617, [21]. Lokafy offers a customized private tour with a Quebec City local who enjoys sharing their perspective with travellers. It is a social experience, like having a friend show them around their city.  edit


  • Winter Carnival, city-wide, first two weeks of February and spanning 3 weekends, [71]. A truly spectacular event, the Winter Carnival is a hundred-year tradition in Quebec City. Each year, a giant ice palace is built in the Place Jacques-Cartier as the headquarters of the festivities, but there's activities all during the week. The International Ice Sculpture Competition sees teams from around the world build monumental sculptures. There are 3 parades during the event in different quarters of the city, and other winter-defying competitions including a canoe race across the St. Lawrence and a group snow bath. The festival's mascot, Bonhomme Carnaval, a sashed snowman, is the city's most famous logo. $15 (2013) will get you a rubber snowman to attach to your parka for entrance into the festivities on the Plains of Abraham.
  • Saint-Jean Baptiste Celebration. Every year, June 23. Without a doubt the biggest party of the year in the entire province. Join over 200,000 Québécois of all ages on Plaine d'Abraham while they celebrate Quebec's National Day throughout the night. Various Québécois musical performances, bonfire, fireworks, and a lot of drinking.
  • Festival d'été, [72]. Beginning to mid-July, a lot of cheap music shows (you buy a button for $45 and it gives you access to all the shows, for the 11 days of the festival) in and around the Old Town, with international and local artists (for example in 2004, The Nits, Wyclef Jean, Bérurier Noir in 2010, Iron maiden, The Black Eyed Peas, Santana, Rush, Arcade and Rammstein).
  • Edwin-Bélanger Bandstand, [73]. A musical experience in the open. Jazz, blues, Worlbeat. June to 1st week of August. Thursday to Sunday.
  • Festival of New France, first weekend in August, [74].
  • Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands [75]: Spectacular performances are offered by Military Bands from all around the world. The Festival takes place at the end of August.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Shopping in Basse-Ville

Quebec City's Old Town, especially Basse-Ville, is riddled with shops for tourists. Watch for leather goods and various handmade crafts made by Canada's First Nations Peoples.

  • Marché du Vieux-Port, 160 Quai Saint-André. Open daily 8 AM-8 PM. Farmers' market just north of Basse-Ville, offering cheap and tasty local produce.  edit
  • Place Laurier, Place de la Cité, Place Ste-Foy, 2700 boulevard Laurier (located in the Ste-Foy district, to the west of the downtown). Three large shopping malls right next to each other. Place Laurier boasts being the largest shopping mall in eastern Canada.  edit
  • Galeries de la Capitale, 5401, boulevard des Galeries (Located in the Lebourgneuf neighborhood of Les Rivieres borough). Large shopping mall towards the north of the city which boasts 280 stores and 35 restaurants. Also contains an IMAX theater and an indoor amusement park which includes a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and a skating rink for hockey games.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

All restaurants in the Old City will post menus out front in French and in English. Look for the table d'hote specials for a full course fixed price meal. On the cheaper (but very satisfying) side, have a traditional tourtière québecoise (meat pie), or a poutine (fries, gravy, and cheese curds).

The café culture is very much a part of Quebec City as in most of Europe. It should be very easy to find a quaint cafe around Marche Champlain, and around the Chateau. Food is fairly expensive in Quebec, and even a simpler café or bar may be costly.

Most Quebec City delicatessens and markets offer a large variety of Quebec cheese from farms in the surrounding countryside. Specialty of the region include brie or camembert style cheeses made with raw milk (lait cru), which endows the cheese with superior flavors and textures not usually found in North American cheeses of the same type.

  • Le Patriarche, 17, Saint-Stanislas, Québec ‪G1R 4G7‬, 418 692-5488‎, [22]. Set in a decor inspired by its old stone walls. Imbued with a unique architectural cachet, this 1827 heritage home-turned-restaurant has been serving discerning gourmets since 1965.  edit


  • Aux Anciens Canadiens, 34 rue Saint-Louis, 418-692-1627, [23]. Specializes in Quebecois cooking, including dishes that feature caribou, buffalo, or wapiti. The table d'hote (the local term for prix-fixe), served until 17h45, is quite a good deal at $19.95. Reservations recommended.  edit
  • Casse-Crepe Breton, 1136 rue Saint-Jean, 418-692-0438. 8AM-6PM. Inexpensive crepes, starting at about $5. Usually a long line to enter, due to the fact that the restaurant is rather small. Come early.  edit
  • Cafe-Boulangerie Paillard, 1097 rue Saint-Jean, 418-692-1221, [24]. 7:30AM-7PM. Good selection of Viennese pastries and gelato. Locals line up to buy inexpensive soups, sandwiches, and pizza.  edit
  • Le Chic Shack, 15 rue du Fort (one block north of the Chateau Frontenac), 418-692-1485, [25]. 11am-9pm. Known for upscale burgers and poutine, they also offer a variety of homemade sodas, shakes, and ice cream sandwiches. Indoor and outdoor seating available, large-screen television in each dining room.  edit
  • Le Continental, 26 rue Saint-Louis (one block west of the Chateau Frontenac), 418-694-9995. Warm, cozy environment. Fantastic food--shrimp scampi that melts in your mouth, filet mignon cooked at table side, and other delectable dishes. Expensive but well worth it.  edit
  • Le Petit Coin Latin, 8 1/2 rue Sainte-Ursule, 418-692-2022. Wonderful atmosphere, friendly staff. Serves delicious breakfast for $6.25 starting at 8AM.  edit
  • Le Saint-Amour, 48 rue Sainte-Ursule, 418-694-0667. Expensive. The environment is a mish-mash of styles that do not seem to work together. The wait staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The French food is well-prepared but probably the most expensive restaurant in Quebec City and you should be aware of this fact. On the other hand, this restaurant is a must for stars visiting Quebec City, Paul McCartney had dinner at the St-Amour in 2008 the night before his concert.  edit
  • Les Frères de la Côte, 1190 rue Saint-Jean, +1-418-692-5445. Filled with more locals than tourists, this small eatery serves up a good selection of European dishes including their trademark moules (mussels). $30.  edit
  • Moine Échanson, 585 rue Saint-Jean (Outside the Old City walls, about 4 blocks west of the St-Jean Gate), +1-418-524-7832. Outside the purlieu of the mechanized tourist cafeterias of the Old Town, this warm restaurant produces high-quality food and drink in small, manageable doses. They have a short but provocative nightly menu, and the food is produced by hand with the loving attention of chefs who care about their craft. Great cellar of organic wines that will surprise you with their depth. $15 (entrée).  edit
  • Pizzeria La Primavera, 73 rue Saint-Louis, 418-694-0030. Pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven. Expensive and small portions. Surcharge of $3.25 per pizza to cut them into two. 10% service charge added to the bill.  edit
  • Samurai Restaurant Japonais, 780 rue Saint-Jean (Outside the Old City walls, about 2 blocks west of the St-Jean Gate and one block north of the Convention Centre), 418-522-3989. Good Japanese food in a small comfortable setting. Midi-Express (lunch) starting at $9.95 is a good deal and includes soup or salad, main course, and coffee or dessert. NOW CLOSED :(  edit
  • L'Astral, 1225 Cours du General-De Montcalm (Sitated just outside of the city walls on Grande Allée Est, which runs alongside the Parliament Building.), 418-780-3602 (fax: 418-647-4710), [26]. Located at the top of the Concorde Hotel this revolving restaurant offers unrivalled 360° views over the city and French sytle cuisine. Also known for its Sunday brunch.  edit


  • Cochon Dingue, 46 blvd Champlain (Basse-Ville), [27]. Touristy, but in a good way — the "Crazy Pig" is cavernous but usually packed, with hefty portions from a frequently-changing menu. Lunch specials are good value at $10-15, including starter and coffee.  edit


  • La Planque, 1027 3me avenue, 1 418-914-8780, [28]. La Planque is a bit off the beaten path, though really only about a 15 minute walk from the Gare du Palais. I cannot emphasize enough how well-worth the walk this place is. It's very similar to some of the casual-avant garde places in Montreal (i.e. A Pied de Cochon). The menu is fantastic, as is the wine list (though it's all in French). The food is a bit of a mix of nouveau-French and new-American, with a healthy balance of sea food and meat. The wait staff was extremely nice, very helpful, and very willing to assist in choosing a dish (even for those of us with less-than-passable French). Reservations recommended. Map: $$$.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

There is a place for nearly every visitor, from the wild nightlife to the cozy corner.

Drinking age is 18 though enforcement is hazy. Visitors from outside the province may be informed by staff of restaurants and bars that tipping for food and drinks is required by law in Quebec. This is not true. Tips are often around 15% but it is left to the discretion of the customer. A tip may be aggressively demanded for as little as a beer so do not be caught off-guard. American visitors may be informed that American dollars are happily accepted. This is generally on a $1US for $1CAN basis.

Quality wine and liquor can only be purchased at SAQ shops, most of which are open until 6PM Sunday - Wednesday and 8 or 9PM on weekends; the smaller SAQ Express outlets are open daily from 11AM to 10PM, but the selection is restricted to the SAQ's most popular items. Beer and a small selection of lower-quality wine are also sold at convenience stores (dépanneurs) and grocery stores (not what youwould usually bring to a dinner party but sometimes drinkable-—it has been imported in bulk and bottled and sometimes blended in Quebec and known as "piquette" by the locals). All retail alcohol sales stop at 11PM and bars and clubs stop serving at 3AM.

There is only one SAQ within the walls of the old city, a SAQ "Selection" inside the Chateau Frontenac. It has high-end wines and liquors, a small selection of other liquors and no beer. A SAQ "Classique" with better (though still small) selection is located just outside of the walls on Rue St-Jean on the south side of the street.

During the frigid Carnaval, a local specialty known as caribou is available to warm you up (did you know that those canes they sell are hollow?). Though the mixture varies with what is available, it tends to be port or red wine with a hodge-podge of liquors, normally vodka, brandy and perhaps even some sherry.

The Grande Allée has most of the city's clubs & youth-oriented bars and spots:

  • Le Dagobert, 600 Grande-Alle Est, (418) 522-0393, [29]. One of Québec's biggest clubs and over 25 years old, with shows by local and international musicians. With its heart-stopping techno and enormous outdoor disco ball, you cannot miss it. Crowd tends to be young. One of the few venues that consistently asks for identification for age verification. Free admission.  edit
  • Chez Maurice, 575 Grande-Allée Est, (418) 647-2000, [31]. Upscale with a crowd in the mid-to-late 20s playing dance. Has a dress code for the second floor.  edit
  • Les Voutes de Napoléon, 680 Grande Allée Est, (418) 640-9388, [32]. Great chansonnier bar located in the vaults of a restaurant. Live music everyday. Gets packed on weekend especially saturday night. Festive atmosphere.  edit

La Rue St. Jean, beyond the city walls on the west end, is where travelers will find the best pubs in Québec, as well as some smaller dance clubs:

  • St Patrick, 1200 rue Saint-Jean, 418-694-0618, [33]. An excellent bar with multiple indoor levels, in addition to its outdoor terrace at the heart of Old Québec. It serves typical bar food, but come for the live music, of the folk and Irish variety, that fills the atmosphere multiple nights a week. Try the draft cider, at about ~$9/pint.  edit
  • Pub St. Alexandre, 1087 Rue St.-Jean, 418-694-0015, [34]. Another great bar/restaurant that specializes in imports, but charges a price for them. A 16 oz Belgian import can be $9-12.  edit
  • Casablanca, 1169 Rue Saint-Jean, (418) 692-4301. A small, upstairs, tucked-away club that plays heavy rosta-beats and has room to dance. It's a good place to bring your own party, with a unique ambiance.  edit
  • Sacrilege, 47 Rue Saint-Jean, (418) 649-1985. Darkly lit beer bar with an open air patio. Ideal for a relaxed atmosphere with good friends.  edit
  • Ninkasi, 811 rue Saint-Jean, (418) 529-8538, [35]. The best place to have a large choice of Quebeckers beers and see a variety of shows.  edit
  • L'Oncle Antoine, 29 Rue St. Pierre, (418) 694-9176. Located in the touristy part of town, it's one of the city's oldest bars. Cozy atmosphere with great selection of local brews. Also offers an open air patio.  edit

Spread throughout Old Québec are many upscale bars and jazz clubs. Search out the hotels, as they typically have the best venues for jazz and music at night.

  • Bar Château Frontenac, 1 rue des Carrieres (in Chateau Frontenac Hotel). Famous for their perfectly mixed and generously sized martinis, available in numerous versions including half-a-dozen named after famous visitors ranging from Winston Churchill to René Lévesque. Try to score a window seat for great views across the St. Lawrence. The ice wine martini is a great treat. $13/16 for a martini with house/premium vodka.
  • Pub Nelligans, 789 Cote Ste Genevieve, 418 529 7817. A real irish owned pub in the heart of the St.jean Baptiste neighbourhood. Famous for its year round Tuesday night traditional musique jams. A great place to meet people with a friendly ambiance and sorroundings, no better place to go and have a great pint of Guinness at 6.75$ a pint.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Hotel Marie-Rollet, 81 rue Sainte-Anne, +1 418-694-9271. Technically a two-star because it's a walkup and has no restaurant, the Marie-Rollet is charming, centrally located in the Haute-Ville, and very, very reasonably priced. Very easy walking distance to every site I could come up with. Staff and rooms are very nice. $150.00.  edit


  • Centre Santé-Nature, 835 Des Ruisseaux avenue, +1 418-833-7414, [36]. Charming and warm hostel/B&B run by a very nice older Qubecois woman named Chantal. Spacious, clean rooms. Shared bathrooms. Located in Levis, Quebec which is a nice ~10 minute ferry ride from the old city ($2, runs until 2:30am) . Great option if arriving in Quebec by car is to park on the Levis side for free and then take the ferry right to the old town. Private rooms are $30 per person with excellent homemade breakfast included.  edit
  • Auberge Internationale de Quebec (HI-Quebec City), 19 rue Saint-Ursule (near St-Dauphine), +1 418 694-0755, [37]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. Student and family friendly hostel. Offers many types of bedrooms/suites. Some rooms offer ceiling fans while others do not, so ask first. Huge kitchen and dining area with cookware and utensils for common use. Offers laundry, game/pool room, Internet (including free WiFi), lockers and other services including a cafe which offers breakfasts for $6 (or free with private and four bed dorms). On the northwestern edge of Haute-Ville. Online bookings offered. $34/night for a bed in a dorm. Offers HI member discounts.  edit
  • Auberge de Jeunesse de la Paix, 31 rue Couillard (Old Quebec near Cathedral), +1 418 694-0735, [38]. 60 beds. Breakfast, kitchen included. Very clean. $26.  edit
  • Résidences - Université Laval, Campus - Pavillon Alphonse-Marie Parent (2 miles from downtown, lots of buses), [39]. Linen & cookware not included; kitchen, TV, etc. Reservation form on the web site. Lowest price in town for long stays. $11 per night if you stay 4 weeks & more. Price goes up for shorter stays (roughly $30/day for a week; $44/day for a day).  edit
  • Hotel Auberge Michel Doyon, 1215 chemin Sainte-Foy, +1 418 527-4408 (toll free: +1 800 928-4408), [40]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. Free breakfast and free parking. Friendly and clean. 44 rooms. From $43.25/person (Double Occupancy). (46.79635,-71.25083) edit


  • Relais Charles-Alexandre, 1 Grande-Allée Est, +1 418 523-1220, [41]. Squeaky-clean small hotel in a new building built to look like an old one. Rooms are small, but equipped with en-suite bathrooms, and a tasty breakfast made to order is included. Note that children are not allowed. Rooms from $89/119 low/high season.  edit
  • L'Hôtel du Vieux Québec, 1190, rue Saint-Jean, +1 800 361-7787, [42]. Family-owned carbon neutral hotel. They have been awarded 5 Green Keys from the Hotel Association of Canada’s Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program. Starting at $96 to $216 during low season and from $146 to $266 during high season..  edit
  • La Maison Sainte-Ursule, 40, rue Ste-Ursule, +1 418 694-9794, [44]. A small hotel in the old town.  edit
  • Chateau Mont-Sainte-Anne, 500, Boul du Beau-Pre, Beaupre, G0A 1E0, +1 418 827-5211 (, fax: 418 827-3421), [45]. checkin: 4PM; checkout: Noon. A nice hotel at the base of Mont-Sainte-Anne.  edit
  • Hôtel Château Laurier, 1220 Place George-V Ouest (next to the Quebec parliament buildings), +1 800 463-4453, [46]. $144-$259 high season, $99-$209 low season.  edit
  • Auberge Quatre-Temps, 160, chemin Tour-du-Lac, Lac-Beauport, +1 418 849-4486, [47]. A bit far from the city itself (15 minutes by car) but offers more than lodging with a health centre (spa & massages) and a 4-diamond restaurant, le Laké.  edit
  • Hotel Maison du Fort, 21, ave Ste-Geneviève, +1 418 692-4375 (toll free: +1 888 203-4375, fax: +1 418 692-5257), [48]. checkout: noon. Close to the Citadel. Free wireless internet. Tea, coffee, and muffins included. $129-$189.  edit
  • Hotel Manoir d'Auteil, 49, rue d'Auteil (Just inside the walls near Porte St. Louis), +1 418 694-1173 (, fax: +1 418 694-0081), [49]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Friendly, bilingual staff in an 1835-vintage building. In the Old City, near the National Assembly building. High-speed wireless internet. Breakfast included; served 8AM-10:30AM. $119-$299/night, a bit less in low season.  edit
  • Hotel Chateau Bellevue, 16, rue de la Porte (Near Dufferin Terrace.), 418-692-2573 Toll free : 1-877-849-1877 (Canada, USA) (fax: (418) 692-4876), [50]. Wine machine on premises. Free wireless Internet.  edit


  • Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, 1 rue des Carrieres, +1 418 692-3861, [51]. One of Canadian Pacific Railway's grand old hotels, this castle-like building dominates the Quebec skyline and claims, with some justification, to be the most photographed hotel in North America. The location right next to the funicular connecting Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville is as convenient as it gets, but expect tour groups marching through the lobby at five-minute intervals. $300+, but offers AAA discounts.  edit
  • Immeubles Charlevoix, 179, Saint-Paul, +1 866 435-6868 (), [52]. Short term and long term rentals. Condos, apartments or houses. $180 +.  edit
  • Hilton Québec, 1100, René-Lévesque Blvd. East, +1 418 647-2411 (, fax: +1 418 647-6488), [53]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. $200+, but offers AAA discounts.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

The level of violent crime and homicides in Quebec is far lower than almost all other large cities in Canada or the USA.

For twenty months, between November 1st 2006 and July 14th 2008, the city of Québec reported no homicide on its territory.

During the day, you should have no fear about traveling around the city; but at night, there might be the usual drunk bar patrons and those who prey on people unfamiliar with where they are. Take the usual precautions to protect yourself and you should be fine. However, the city is very safe for solitary female travellers.


The organization ZAP Québec [76] provides free wireless Internet in cafes and other locations throughout the city.

Get out[edit]

  • Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupré (Basilique de Sainte-Anne de Beaupre), 10018 Avenue Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, +1 418-827-3781 (fax: +1 418-827-8771), [54]. an enormous church which is reputed to have healing powers similar to those of Lourdes.  edit
  • Montmorency Falls (Chute Montmorency), (Take Route 440 east out of Québec City. Watch for the exit to the falls and the parking lot. / Alternatively the city bus 800 to the end station (towards Beauport), ca 35 min from just outside the walls), [55]. At 83 meters, it stands 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls. Also, unlike the Niagara Falls, you experience walking right over the fall and looking down upon it, from a pedestrian bridge. Nice spot to visit if you are driving outside the city or have some spare time.  edit
  • Île d'Orléans, [56]. Beautiful biking or driving excursions. Many pick-your-own strawberry farms. Visit a sugar shack (cabane à sucre). The maple season typically runs from March to April.  edit

Routes through Quebec City
MontrealDrummondville  W noframe E  → Levis → Rivière-du-Loup
MontrealTrois-Rivières  W noframe E  ENDS

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