Interested in Quebec City?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Quebec City each week.
The old city is eminently walkable — indeed, the only way to get around comfortably is on foot. Narrow, winding, often crowded streets would be a nightmare in a hired car, not to mention the prohibitive cost of parking in such a touristy destination doubled with a great number of civil servants commuting and searching for parking every day.
Wear flat, comfortable shoes — this is a very hilly place! At CAD2.00$, the "Funiculaire" (funicular, a kind of elevator or cable car, similar to the one found in Montmartre, Paris), is a cheap and easy way to move between the Upper and Lower town. The Funiculaire is the only one of its kind in North America, and was built 21 years before the one in Montmartre. On hot summer afternoons, the short ride (21 seconds) can be sweltering, and it might be more pleasant to walk down the hill instead. A word of caution: most of Vieux Québec is no suitable place for anyone with impaired mobility; the door sills and cobblestone streets can make it challenging even for someone in a wheelchair who has a companion to help push. Another inexpensive way to navigate in the Old Town and to move between Upper and Lower Town is to take a ride on the small electric Écolobus; the fare is CAD 2.00.$ per person, to be paid cash (no change given). Écolobus' itinerary here (PDF).
It is possible to rent a bike at these 2 locations: Cyclo Services 289, rue Saint-Paul (Lower Town) -- (418) 692-4052 or Toll free 1 (877) 692-4050 and Écolocyclo 160, Quai St-André (Lower Town) -- (418) 828-0370. They rent Omnicyql, Batavus, Garneau and Diamond Back bicycles.
Most of the shopping in the Old Town is souvenir- and gift-based, with some expensive but unexciting clothes shops around the Basilica de Quebec area (the original 19th century La Maison Simons' headquarters is the exception, with exclusive clothing and accessories) , and some very down market boutiques on Rue St -Jean. Detailed information about shopping can be found here.
The major stores are towards the suburbs. The Laurier mall (350 stores) is about a 20 minute bus ride away from the Old Town, through buses nr 11 (Upper Town only), or express buses 800 and 801 (Lower and Upper Town). Buses leave from beside the Hilton, among other places, and there is a flat fare of CAD2.50$, payable to the driver (exact fare required). You may buy tickets for a cheaper price in all convenience stores.
A calèche (horse-drawn carriage) tour costs CAD75$.
If you don't rent a car, a taxi is the only way in from the airport. Approx. CAD34$ flat rate.
It is fun and perhaps economical, when you arrive by car, to drive down to the river in Lévis (well signed from Autoroute 20, exit ''Lévis Centre-ville'', keep your right when exiting, drive all the way down to the ferry in an almost straight line on 'Alphonse-Desjardins' and 'Côte du Passage' streets), park at the ferry ($6 CAD/day right behind the ferry building, or $3,00 - 200 meters further east on the street) and take the ferry ($3.00 per adult one-way, under 4 years old free, reduced fare for 4-11 years old and senior citizens, $6,75 per car) to Québec's Lower Town. If you are going to the Upper Town with light luggage, the funicular is about 250 meters (275 yards) from the ferry dock and can whisk you up. Note that the tiny part of Lower Town in the immediate vicinity of the funicular (e.g. Place Royale and Rue du Petit-Champlain) is closed to traffic (including taxis). Parking in the old city is $16/day, or $2. per hour on the street.