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Quebec City: Things to Do & A Bicycle Built for Two

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Quebec City is beautiful in the fall!  The leaves are brilliant and everything about the environment feels like Europe from the “Bonjour” greetings to the French and British architecture.  That is, everything except the prices!  Currently, the Canadian dollar is worth approximately $0.80 to the US dollar.  This means that you can subtract 20% off prices to convert costs to the US dollar.  The prices you see for attractions and on menus are equivalent to prices you see in US cities, so you are essentially saving 20% on your trip right out of the gate if you live in the US.  In contrast, you would be adding 20% if you were visiting a country in the European Union.

Where to stay?

Now that you have decided you must visit Quebec City, where should you stay?  There are many options in Old Quebec.  You could get a room at the center piece of Old Quebec, Château Frontenac, for around $300/night.  “Whaaat?,” you say, “that’s no bargain!”  Well, at least that’s what I said.  Instead, Scott and I found a lovely studio apartment on Airbnb just outside the old city walls for 3 nights for a grand total of $196…now that’s a bargain!  I would recommend booking a room on Airbnb as far in advance as possible so that you have a variety of inexpensive options.

What to do?

If you are only in Quebec City for a few days, you will likely spend most of your time in Old Quebec which is divided into Upper Town and Lower Town.  You can find lists of top attractions on many websites including TripAdvisor.  Here are my tips that you might not find on other sites:

Take the Old Quebec Food Tour.  You will sample food and visit places you would not find on your own.  Take it the first day of your trip, if possible, so that you get the history of the city included with the tour and you can figure out which restaurants you want to check out during your stay.  Sorry, no pics of the food tour.  I was too busy eating!

Take the Funicular between Lower Town and Upper Town once to say you did it.  However, be smarter about it than we were.  I would recommend taking the stairs down and the Funicular back up!

Eat lots and lots of croissants.  I’m telling you; the croissants are somehow better here.    A few bakeries to check out are PaillardLe Croquembouche and La Boîte à Pain.  Forget the calories and eat them all!

Stop by Chez Boulay- comptoir boreal for a piece (or six) of sucre a la creme (sugar cream fudge).  Chez Boulay- comptoir boreal is the counter service little brother and experimental lab for the fine dining restaurant Chez Boulay- bistro boreal.  While you are picking up your sucre a la creme, why not try one of their other decedent desserts?  
Take the ferry to Lévis from the port in Lower Town and enjoy the view of Old Quebec by water for less than $8 rt/pp.  Ferries depart from both sides every 20 or 30 minutes (Schedule).  Tip:  If you are an early riser, take the ferry just after sunrise, and the city will be bathed in the morning sun.  We took the ferry about an hour before sunset and had to look into the sun for a view of the city.  It was still beautiful, but it would have been spectacular and made for better photos in the morning light.

Rent a bicycle at Cyclo Services in Old Quebec and get out of the city.  We rented a tandem bicycle which added to the fun!    When I was researching our trip to Quebec, I had a hard time finding any information on biking in Quebec City, so I’m going to go into a bit more detail here.  Unless you are a pro, you aren’t going to want to bike within the walls of Old Quebec.  The terrain is hilly, the streets are narrow, and it just isn’t bike friendly.  However, there are miles of bike trials along the St. Lawrence and just outside of Old Quebec.  Cyclo Services will supply you with a trail map if you rent from their shop.  We made Montmorency Falls our destination.  You can hop on the trail to the falls right cross the street from the shop.  The trail is flat, scenic, well marked, and easy to navigate even if you are on a bicycle built for two!  From the shop to the falls, it is about 7.5 miles one way.  On a tandem bike, I would allow for an hour each way.  

Picnic at Monmorency Falls.  Pick up supplies for a picnic at Epicierie J.A. Moisan, the oldest grocery store in North America before renting your bike.  (Don’t forget to bring a backpack along when packing!) When you arrive at the falls, you will likely find the visitor center and the bridge in front of the falls crowded with people.  Tip:  To escape the crowds, when facing the falls, follow the railway track to your left.  There will be a path leading off to your right into the woods.  The start of the trail is marked in the photo below.  You can follow this path to the water’s edge.  We had our picnic there.  It felt like we had the falls to ourselves .
I hope you enjoy your trip to Quebec City and have found some helpful tips in this post.  As for me, I say, “Oh Quebec, you have stolen my heart but not my purse, you are quite the charmer! Until we meet again…😘.”

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