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Info Quebec City
Quebec City 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 a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of only two cities in North America (the other being Campeche in Mexico) with its original city walls. Quebec is a city of about 700,000 residents.
Quebec City is the capital city of the province of Quebec (though it is referred to as the National Capital in the province). 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 16th 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 "abitation" 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 the whole 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 people 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.
|POPULATION :||• City 540,994 |
• Metro 806,400
|FOUNDED :||Founded 3 July 1608, by Samuel de Champlain|
Constituted 1 January 2002
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone EST (UTC−5)|
• Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
|LANGUAGE :||French 94.55%|
English and French 0.31%
Other languages 3.69%
Unilingual French speakers 65.31%
Unilingual English speakers 0.17%
Bilingual French and English speakers 34.26%
|AREA :||• City 484.10 km2 (186.91 sq mi)|
• Land 454.10 km2 (175.33 sq mi)
• Metro 3,349.12 km2 (1,293.10 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||98 m (322 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||46°49′N 71°13′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.2%|
• Female: 51.8%
|AREA CODE :||418 and 581|
|POSTAL CODE :||G1A to G2N|
|DIALING CODE :||+1 418|
Quebec City is known for its Winter Carnival, itssummer music festival and for its Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations.
Tourist attractions located near Quebec City include Montmorency Falls, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, the Mont-Sainte-Anneski resort, and the Ice Hotel.
The Jardin zoologique du Québec, now closed, initially reopened in 2002 after extensive repairs before ultimately shuttering in 2006. It featured 750 specimens of 300 different species of animals. The zoo specialized in winged fauna and garden themes, but also featured several species of mammals. While it emphasized the indigenous fauna of Quebec, one of its main attractions was the Indo-Australian greenhouse, featuring fauna and flora from regions surrounding the Indian Ocean.
Parc Aquarium du Québec, which reopened in 2002 on a site overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, features more than 10,000 specimens of mammals, reptiles, fish and other aquatic fauna of North America and the Arctic. Polar bears and various species of seals of the Arctic sector and the "Large Ocean", a large basin offering visitors a view from underneath, make up part of the aquarium's main attractions.
There are a number of historic sites, art galleries and museums in Québec City, including Citadelle of Quebec, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Ursulines of Quebec, and Musée de la civilisation.
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. 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.
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.
- Centre Infotouriste de Québec, 12 rue Ste-Anne(across from the Château Frontenac), , toll-free: . 21 Jun-31 Aug: 8:30AM-7PM daily. 1 Sep-20 Jun: 9AM-5PM daily.
Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. While many of the major cities in Latin America date from the sixteenth century, among cities in Canada and the U.S., few were created earlier than Quebec City (St. John's, Harbour Grace, Port Royal, St. Augustine, Santa Fe, Jamestown, and Tadoussac). Also, Quebec's Old Town (Vieux-Québec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist.
French explorer Jacques Cartier built a fort at the site in 1535, where he stayed for the winter before going back to France in spring 1536. He came back in 1541 with the goal of building a permanent settlement. This first settlement was abandoned less than one year after its foundation, in the summer 1542, due in large part to the hostility of the natives combined with the harsh living conditions during winter.
Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer and diplomat on 3 July 1608, and at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement called Stadacona. Champlain, also called "The Father of New France", served as its administrator for the rest of his life.
The name "Canada" refers to this settlement. Although called the cradle of the Francophone population in North America, the Acadian settlement at Port-Royal was established three years earlier. The place seemed favourable to the establishment of a permanent colony.
In 1629 there was the surrender of Quebec, without battle, to English privateers led by David Kirke during the Thirty Years' War. However, Samuel de Champlain argued that the English seizing of the lands was illegal as the war had already ended; he worked to have the lands returned to France. As part of the ongoing negotiations of their exit from the Anglo-French War, in 1632 the English king Charles agreed to return the lands in exchange for Louis XIII paying his wife's dowry. These terms were signed into law with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The lands in Quebec and Acadia were returned to the French Company of One Hundred Associates.
In 1665, there were 550 people in 70 houses living in the city. One-quarter of the people were members of religious orders: secular priests, Jesuits, Ursulines nuns and the order running the local hospital, Hotel-Dieu.
Quebec City was the headquarters of many raids against New England during the four French and Indian Wars. In the last war, the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), Quebec City was captured by the British in 1759 and held until the end of the war in 1763. It was the site of three battles during Seven Years' War - the Battle of Beauport, a French victory (31 July 1759); the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in which British troops under General James Wolfe defeated the French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm on 13 September 1759 and shortly thereafter took the city; and the final Battle of Sainte-Foy, a French victory (28 April 1760). France ceded New France, including the city, to Britain in 1763.
At the end of French rule in 1763, forests, villages, fields and pastures surrounded the town of 8,000 inhabitants. The town distinguished itself by its monumental architecture, fortifications, affluent homes of masonry and shacks in the suburbs of Saint-Jean and Saint-Roch. Despite its urbanity and its status as capital, Quebec City remained a small colonial city with close ties to its rural surroundings. Nearby inhabitants traded their farm surpluses and firewood for imported goods from France at the two city markets.
During the American Revolution revolutionary troops from the southern colonies assaulted the British garrison in an attempt to 'liberate' Quebec City, in a conflict now known as the Battle of Quebec. The defeat of the revolutionaries from the south put an end to the hopes that the peoples of Quebec would rise and join the American Revolution so that Canada would join the Continental Congress and become part of the original United States of America along with the other British colonies of continental North America. In effect, the outcome of the battle would be the effective split of British North America into two distinct political entities. The city itself was not attacked during the War of 1812, when the United States again attempted to annex Canadian lands. Fearing another American attack on Quebec City in the future, construction of the Citadelle of Quebec began in 1820. The Americans never did attack Canada after the War of 1812, but the Citadelle continued to house a large British garrison until 1871. The Citadelle is still in use by the military and is also a tourist attraction.
In 1840, the role of capital was shared between Kingston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawaand Quebec City (from 1852 to 1856 and from 1859 to 1866).
Long before the Royal Military College of Canada was established in 1876, there were proposals for military colleges in Canada. Staffed by British Regulars, adult male students underwent a 3 month long military course in Quebec City in 1864 at the School of Military Instruction in Quebec City. Established by Militia General Order in 1864, the school enabled Officers of Militia or Candidates for Commission or promotion in the Militia to learn Military duties, drill and discipline, to command a Company at Battalion Drill, to Drill a Company at Company Drill, the internal economy of a Company and the duties of a Company's Officer. The school was retained at Confederation, in 1867. In 1868, The School of Artillery was formed in Montreal.
In 1867, Ottawa (which was chosen to be the permanent capital of the Province of Canada) was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of the Dominion of Canada. The Quebec Conference on Canadian Confederation was held here.
20th and 21st centuries
Quebec City was struck by the 1925 Charlevoix–Kamouraska earthquake.
During World War II, two conferences were held in Quebec City. The First Quebec Conferencewas held in 1943 with Franklin Delano Roosevelt(the United States' president at the time),Winston Churchill (the United Kingdom's prime minister), William Lyon Mackenzie King(Canada's prime minister) and T.V. Soong(China's minister of foreign affairs). The Second Quebec Conference was held in 1944, and was attended by Churchill and Roosevelt. They took place in the buildings of the Citadelle and of nearby Château Frontenac. A large part of the D-Day landing plans were made during those meetings.
Throughout its over 400 years of existence, which were celebrated around the world, Quebec City has served as a capital. From 1608 to 1627 and 1632 to 1763, it was capital of French Canada and all of New France; from 1763 to 1791, it was the capital of the Province of Quebec; from 1791 to 1841, it was the capital of Lower Canada; from 1852 to 1856 and from 1859 to 1866, it was capital of the Province of Canada; and since 1867, it has been capital of the Province of Quebec. The administrative region in which Quebec City is situated is officially referred to as Capitale-Nationale, and the term "national capital" is used to refer to Quebec City itself at provincial level.
The climate of Quebec City is classified as humid continental .
Quebec City experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and occasionally hot, with periods of hotter temperatures which compounded with the high humidity, create a high heat index that belie the average high of 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) and lows of 11–13 °C (52–55 °F). Winters are often cold, windy and snowy with average high temperatures −5 to −8 °C (23 to 18 °F) and lows −13 to −18 °C (9 to 0 °F). Spring and fall, although short, bring chilly to warm temperatures. Late heat waves as well as "Indian summers" are a common occurrence.
On average, Quebec City receives 1,190 millimetres (46.85 in) of precipitation, of which 899 millimetres (35.39 in) is rain and 303 millimetres (11.93 in) is the melt from 316 centimetres (124.4 in) of snowfall per annum. The city experiences around 1,916 hours of bright sunshine annually or 41.5% of possible sunshine, with summer being the sunniest, but also slightly the wettest season. During winter, snow generally stays on ground from the end of November till mid-April.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Quebec City was 36.1 °C (97 °F) on 17 July 1953. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −36.7 °C (−34 °F) on 10 January 1890 and 14 January 2015.
Climate data for Quebec City
|Record high °C (°F)||11.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||−7.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−12.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||−17.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||−36.7|
|Source: Environment Canada|
Quebec City is located in the Saint Lawrence River valley, on the north bank of the Saint Lawrence River near its meeting with the St. Charles River. The surrounding area is low-lying and flat. The river valley has rich, arable soil, which makes this region the most fertile in the province. The Laurentian Mountains lie to the north of the city.
A portion of the city, as well as most of the Old Quebec area, is built on a plateau sometimes called the promontory of Quebec. Because of this topographic feature, the central and oldest area of the city is sometimes divided into upper and lower town. On the eastern end of the hill, upper Town lies on the top of Cap-Diamant (Cape Diamond) promontory. The Plains of Abraham are located near the edge of the promontory, on which high stone walls have been integrated during colonial days. On the other hand, lower town is located on the eastern foot of this plateau. It has been a working class area for most of its history unlike uptown, which for the most part, quickly became a place of choice for the local middle-class and bourgeoisie.
Most jobs in Quebec City are concentrated in public administration, defence, services, commerce, transport and tourism. As the provincial capital, the city benefits from being a regional administrative and services centre: apropos, the provincial government is the largest employer in the city, employing 27,900 people as of 2007. CHUQ (the local hospital network) is the city's largest institutional employer, with more than 10,000 employees in 2007. In 2008, the unemployment rate in Quebec City was 4.5%, well below provincial and national averages (7.3% and 6.6%, respectively).
Around 10% of jobs are in manufacturing. Principal products include pulp and paper, processed food, metal/wood items, chemicals, electronics and electrical equipment, and printed materials. The city hosts the headquarters of a variety of prominent companies, including: fashion retailer La Maison Simons, engineering firms BPR and Roche Ltd, Consulting Group; investment fund Cominar; Industrial Alliance, La Capitale, Promutuel,SSQ Financial Group, and Union Canadienne in the insurance sector; Beenox, Frima Studio, Sarbakan and Ubisoft in the computer games industry; AeternaZentaris and DiagnoCure in pharmaceuticals; Amalgame, Cossette and Vision 7 in marketing and advertising; Institut National d'Optique (INO), EXFO, OptoSecurity in technology not forgetting the Desjardins Group, the area's largest employer in the financial sector.
The security and defence industries are quite prominent, and have given birth to an industrial pole: Technopôle Defence and Security.
On 1 January 2002, the 12 former towns of Sainte-Foy, Beauport, Charlesbourg, Sillery,Loretteville, Val-Bélair, Cap-Rouge, Saint-Émile,Vanier, L'Ancienne-Lorette, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Lac-Saint-Charles were annexed by Quebec City. This was one of several municipal mergers which took place across Quebec on that date. Following a demerger referendum, L'Ancienne-Lorette and Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures were reconstituted as separate municipalities on 1 January 2006, but the other former municipalities remain part of Quebec City. On 1 November 2009, the Quebec City re-organized its boroughs, reducing the number from 8 to 6.
As of 2011 Quebec City has 35 districts in six boroughs. All districts are numbered, and most are named. In most cases the name of the district is similar to a historical town or village it replaced, but not always. Districts each elect their own council, which are part of public consultations with the city government. The numbering system was based on the 2002-2009 borough boundaries, so post-2009 the numbers do not correspond completely with the boroughs.
Compared to many other cities in North America, there less variation between average household incomes between the districts. However, some disparities exist. Montcalm, Sillery, Cap-Rouge,and the southern part of Sainte-Foy are considered to be the wealthiest and all areas found west of Old Quebec along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River.
The cities traditional working class areas are found in the lower town below Old Quebec (Saint-Sauveur and Saint Roch) and directly across the Saint Charles River (Vanier and Limoilou). However, parts of Limoilou and particularly Saint Roch have seen gentrification in the last 20 years, attracting young professionals and the construction of new offices and condos.
The central part of the city consists of industrial areas while northern sections (Loretteville, Val Belair) and eastern sections (Beapourt, Charlesbourg) are mostly a mix of middle class residential suburbs.
|1/6 La Cité-Limoilou||La Cité: 1-1 Vieux-Québec—Cap-Blanc—colline Parlementaire · 1-2Saint-Roch · 1-3 Saint-Jean-Baptiste · 1-4 Montcalm · 1-5 Saint-Sauveur · 1-6 Saint-Sacrement · Limoilou: 6-1 Vieux-Limoilou · 6-2Lairet · 6-3 Maizerets|
|2 Les Rivières||2-1 Neufchâtel-Est–Lebourgneuf · 2-2 Duberger-Les Saules · 2-3Vanier|
|3/8 Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge||3-2 Cité universitaire · 3-3 Saint-Louis · 3-4 Plateau · 3-5 Pointe-de-Ste-Foy 8-2 · L'Aéroport · 8-3 Cap-Rouge|
|4Charlesbourg||4-1 Notre-Dame-des-Laurentides · 4-2 Quartier 4-2 · 4-3 Quartier 4-3· 4-4 Jésuites, Quebec City · 4-5 Quartier 4-5 · 4-6 Quartier 4-6|
|5 Beauport||5-1 Quartier 5-1 · 5-2 Quartier 5-2 · 5-3 Chutes-Montmorency · 5-4 Quartier 5-4 · 5-5 Vieux-Moulin|
|7/8 La Haute-Saint-Charles||7-1 Lac-Saint-Charles · 7-2 Saint-Émile · 7-3 Loretteville · 7-4 Des Châtels · 8-1 Val-Bélair|
Prices in Quebec City
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$11.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$30.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$55.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$6.80|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$5.30|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$3.80|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$7.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$17.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.26|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$8.40|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$1.45|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$53.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$30.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$89.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$2.45|
57 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
200 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Jean Lesage International Airport (IATA: YQB). About 20 min from downtown Quebec, it offers regular flights with Air Canada, Air Inuit, Air Transat, American, Canjet, Delta, Porter, Sunwing, United, and WestJet (http://www.aeroportdequebec.com/en/flights/destinations-from-quebec-city/)
Please note that there is no public transit or hotel shuttles to the airport, except an RTC public bus 78 Printed schedule that goes to and from the airport only a few times a day ($3). The taxi fare from Old Quebec to the airport is a flat fee of $34.25 to downtown.
A passenger train station is found at the port of Quebec, 450 rue de la Gare du Palais. The Quebec VIA Rail station is a picturesque building, emulating the architectural style of the famed Chateau-Frontenac overlooking the station. The Quebec-Windsorcorridor trains run regularly (3-5/day), with stopovers at Montreal ($34-102 w tax, +3h15) 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.
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 (from Montreal, 1/day, $57 w tax, +3h15) and Orleans Express (more than 10/day, $57 w tax, +3h-5h) offer services province-wide.
Another bus station is in Sainte-Foy, 3001 chemin des Quatre-Bourgeois, which is easily accessible by city transit.
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.
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.
Transportation - Get Around
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. $2 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.
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 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 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 atChutes 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 [www] They are open from April to October.
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.
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 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
The RTC (Réseau de transport de la Capitale), Quebec's public transportation system, is a system of buses and express shuttles that cover the whole city. Tickets cost $3.25 each, which will earn you the right to ride one direction with a transfer valid for two hours.You can get a pre-paid card loaded with up to 12 trips (in bunches of 2) from licensed stores. Daily passes (2 for 1 on weekends) and monthly passes are also sold 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 Metrobus. 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.
The Ecolobus, a short electric bus, was deemed inefficient and removed from service in January 2015.
The STLévis, Lévis's public transit, operates within the south shore of Quebec. There is also a shuttle from St-Augustin to Quebec. These different transit companies all pass through Quebec City, which explains the different colours of buses around town.
From Quebec to Lévis, the ferry costs $7 for a car (including driver) and $3 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. It gives the best view in town.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
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 8AM-8PM. Farmers' market just north of Basse-Ville, offering cheap and tasty local produce.
- 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.
- 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, a roller coaster and a skating rink for hockey games.
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. Specialties 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.
As far as fast food is concerned, Chez Ashton is a local chain found only in the Quebec City area, which is popular among the locals for its reasonably priced, yet delicious poutines.
- Aux Anciens Canadiens, 34 rue Saint-Louis, .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. Note that food, while good, is often heavy and that some appetizers are as large as main courses. Taking home left-overs is not allowed.
- Casse-Crepe Breton, 1136 rue Saint-Jean, . 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.
- Cafe-Boulangerie Paillard, 1097 rue Saint-Jean, .7:30AM-7PM. Good selection of Viennese pastries and gelato. Locals line up to buy inexpensive soups, sandwiches, and pizza.
- Le Continental, 26 rue Saint-Louis (one block west of the Chateau Frontenac), . 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.
- Le Petit Coin Latin, 8 1/2 rue Sainte-Ursule, . Quiet but pleasant atmosphere, nice made-in-quebec music, friendly staff. Serves good quality breakfast for $6.25 starting at 8AM. Serves good Raclette dish.
- Le Saint-Amour, 48 rue Sainte-Ursule, .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.
- Les Frères de la Côte, 1190 rue Saint-Jean, .Filled with more locals than tourists, this small eatery serves up a good selection of European dishes including their trademark moules (mussels).$30.
- Moine Échanson, 585 rue Saint-Jean (Outside the Old City walls, about 4 blocks west of the St-Jean Gate), . 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.
- Pizzeria La Primavera, 73 rue Saint-Louis, . 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.
- 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.), , fax: . Located at the top of the Concorde Hotel this revolving restaurant offers unrivaled 360° views over the city and French style cuisine. Also known for its Sunday brunch.
- Cochon Dingue, 46 blvd Champlain (Basse-Ville). 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.
Sights & Landmarks
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. Quebec City icon. Claimed to be the most photographed hotel in North America. Stay the night if you can and pop in for a martini if you can't
- Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin). Boardwalk situated alongside (east of) the Chateau Frontenac, and offers a grand view of the St. Lawrence River.
- Musée national des Beaux-arts du Québec. 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 are free of charge while admission to the temporary exhibits is $15 for adults.
- Musée de l'Amérique française. $8.
- The Citadel (La Citadelle). 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 in the summer months, weather permitting. Still used as an active military base by the Royal 22e Régiment, an entirely French-speaking regiment in the Canadian army. Also serves as the official residence of the Governor-General of Canada when he/she visits Quebec City.
- Plains of Abraham Battlefield Park (Outside the Old City walls), . Site of the 1759 battle that saw the British conquer Quebec, now used for public events, sports, and leisure activities.
- Observatoire de la Capitale (Outside the Old City walls). One of the tallest buildings in Quebec, offering a panoramic view of the whole city. Admission is $10.
- Place-Royale. 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 hugemural covering the entire side of a nearby building; the figure with a hat standing at the base of the 'street' is Champlain.
- Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization), 85 rue Dalhousie, . 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. $13.
- Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge, 1215 Grande Allée, , fax: . Residence of past lieutenant-governors from 1870-1966 and spread over 24 hectares, this garden features heritage buildings, wooded areas and gardens.
- Parliament Building (Hôtel du Parlement), 1045 Rue des Parlementaires, , toll-free: , e-mail:[email protected]. The provincial legislature of Quebec, located in an impressive neoclassical-style building just outside the city walls. Tours are available in both French and English on non-sitting days, and proceedings (French only) may be watched from the public galleries when in session. You will need to show some photo ID (Canadian driver's license or passport) and go through security screening to be allowed to enter. Unlike many other legislature buildings, the parliamentary restaurant is open to public. free.
Things to do
- Horse-drawn carriages. A one-hour tour of the Old City.
- Ferry to Lévis. 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 one-way fare.
- AML Cruises. 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.
- Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on Plains of Abraham.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.
- Villages Vacances Valcartier. Water park and go-carts open during the summer season. Tubing and ice skating offered in the winter.
- Mont-Sainte-Anne. Ski and snow during the cold season. Camping, biking and hiking at summertime.
- Station touristique Stoneham. Ski and snow during the winter and an animated summer camp from June to August every summer.
- Choco-musee Erico. A small museum of chocolate, talks about the history and making of chocolate. Free admission.
- Ice Hotel (Thirty minutes west of Quebec at Station Touristique Duchesnay on Lac St-Joseph, MetroBus 801). One of only two ice hotels in the world, from January to early April the Ice Hotel is a must-see. $17.50 will get you full tour during the day, after 8PM access to the guest rooms is restricted to guests only. The best time to go here is just before dark so you can see the hotel in natural lighting and then artificially lit. 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.
- Governeur's Walk. 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.
- Ice Slide at Terrasse Dufferin. During the winter you can slide down an ice slide on a toboggan, quite fast and great view. Buy the tickets from the Café at the end of the slide. $2.5 per person.
- 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.
- Dog sled. (chiens de traineaux) usually available on smaller scale during winter events like Carnaval. Else different providers give you the opportunity for half-day ride for about $60-90.
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 [www] or at L'Avenue Tango.
- Martin Lachance, 399 St.Joseph (E), . 24. Québec is one of North America's most beautiful port cities. Set against the stunning backdrop of Cape Diamond, its port is the gateway to Old Québec's historic and cultural neighborhoods. Set foot ashore and walk into a world of museums, heritage homes, art galleries, craft boutiques, public markets, parks, murals, sidewalk cafés, restaurants, bistros, and more—all just a few steps or a buggy ride away! Extend your stay upon arrival or departure and enjoy a few extra days in one of the world's best destinations*! 80 000 pax are expected for the Summer Fall season in 2011.
Festivals and events
- Winter Carnival. City-wide, first two weeks of February and spanning 3 weekends. 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. $12 (2010) 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 24. 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. 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. A musical experience in the open. Jazz, blues, Worlbeat. June to August. Thursday to Sunday.
- Festival of New France. First weekend in August.
- Quebec City International Festival of Military Bands. Spectacular performances are offered by Military Bands from all around the world. The Festival takes place at the end of August.
There is a place for nearly every visitor, from the wild nightlife to the cozy corner. Drinking age is 18 though enforcement is hazy.
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 you would 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, . 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.
- L'Ozone, 570 Grande-Allée Est, , e-mail:[email protected]. Offers great music and atmosphere.~$5/pint.
- Chez Maurice, 575 Grande-Allée Est, . Upscale with a crowd in the mid-to-late 20s playing dance. Has a dress code for the second floor.
- Les Voutes de Napoléon, 680 Grande Allée Est, .Great chansonnier bar located in the vaults of a restaurant. Live music everyday. Gets packed on weekend especially Saturday night. Festive atmosphere.
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, . 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.
- Pub St. Alexandre, 1087 Rue St.-Jean, . Another great bar/restaurant that specializes in imports, but charges a price for them. A 16 oz Belgian import can be $9-12.
- Casablanca, 1169 Rue Saint-Jean, . 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.
- Sacrilege, 47 Rue Saint-Jean, . Darkly lit beer bar with an open air patio. Ideal for a relaxed atmosphere with good friends.
- Ninkasi, 811 rue Saint-Jean, . The best place to have a large choice of Quebeckers beers and see a variety of shows.
- L'Oncle Antoine, 29 Rue St. Pierre, . 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.
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. $13/16 for a martini with house/premium vodka.
- Pub Nelligans, 789 Cote Ste Genevieve, . A real Irish owned pub in the heart of the St.jean Baptiste neighbourhood. Famous for its year round Tuesday night traditional musique jams. A great place to meet people with a friendly ambiance and surroundings, no better place to go and have a great pint of Guinness at 6.75$ a pint.
Safety in Quebec City
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.