Quebec City on a Budget | The ‘City of Saints’ is one of the few places in North America that legitimately has a continental European feel to it. Americans eager to check out European architecture, food and culture: if you can’t afford a trip to Paris, settle with Quebec! It was founded in 1608 by the French navigator Samuel de Champlain. He was probably the first European to describe the Great Lakes. He published maps of his journeys and accounts of what he learned from French settler living among the North American natives.
Notre Dame Basilica, Chateau Frontenac, Jardin de Quarte-Vents, Marche Bonsecours, the Parliament … Quebec City today is an interesting reflection its people and its past. Therefore most inhabitants are decendents of Roman-Catholic French settlers. Many buildings in the old town connect Quebec to 17th and 18th century France.
Things to do in Quebec
Let’s list some things to do in Quebec City. Terrasse Dufferin is a good start to explore the old town. This broad walkway will lead you straight to Château Frontenac, which today goes by the hotel name of The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. It’s a historic hotel located on 1 rue des Carrières, in old Quebec within the historic district’s Upper Town. Château Frontenac was designed by Bruce Price, and built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company. It opened in 1893 – 80 meters tall (262 ft), containing 18 floors.
Lower Town (Basse-Ville) is a touristy historic walking areas. Place Royale should be on your list. This charming plaza is the heart of Lower Town, located at 27 rue Notre-Dame. The cobblestone covered square is small, but it feels a bit like you’re in a movie :)
Upper Town (Haute-Ville) was developed later than the original settlement it overlooks. The hilly section of the city is a lovely tourist trap with plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.
Petit Champlain | Quartier du Petit Champlain is a small “quartier” in Quebec’s old town. For some, this part of the city is the real historic heart. We totally agree on that. Petit Champlain is located in the neighbourhood of Vieux-Québec–Cap-Blanc–colline Parlementaire. Its main street: Rue du Petit-Champlain. Also located in Petit Champlain are the Breakneck Stairs / Escalier casse-cou = Quebec’s oldest stairway, built in 1635. The steps lead from Upper Town to Lower Town.
Limoilou / St. Roch | Off the beaten well-preserved path, there are Limoilou and St-Roch – two vibrant hot locations with many new restaurants and cafés. Well worth a visit! A bike ride along the St. Charles River in Limoilou allows you to get a glimpse of everyday life in Quebec without the sugar coating of the old town.
Le Corsaire Microbrewery | This brewery is just minutes from the ferry and well worth a stop. It’s not just beer. Great bites to eat at Le Corsaire as well.
Beyond the city center | Ile d’Orléans, Charlevoix, Grands Jardins … hiking and cycling outside Quebec’s city center can be fun too. Not to forget the Montmorency Falls – a major waterfall at the city’s east end.
Avoid Quebec City in winter. It’s too cold and depressing. Somewhere from mid April until mid September, Quebec will give you the most bang for your buck. Including some activities outside the city walls, Quebec is good for a 3-day-trip.
Quebec City on a Budget
As long as the US Dollar remains strong, Canada will generally be a good choice for US American travelers looking for value vacations.
Walking tours in Quebec are (A) for free and (B) worth it. There is no such equivalent in the United States. Not even Manhattan can compete with Quebec City’s amount of charming streets and alleys. Old Québec City is quite hilly but compact, which makes it easy to travel on foot.
In Quebec City you can certainly take the Metro instead of cabs. It’s not just cheaper. Public transport is also fast and very well developed up there.
We already mentioned the Montmorency Falls earlier in this article. It’s a short drive from the city and no entrance fee will be charged. By the way: the height of the falls is greater than Niagara, and there are plenty of ways to observe it.
Cutting down on food expenses does not necessary mean: no restaurant visits. In Quebec City you find a number of BYO restaurants, allowing you to bring your own bottle of wine.
Prices for quality food in Quebecian supermarkets are likewise cheaper compared to U.S. supermarkets. And Canada got more varieties anyway. If you prefer shopping healthy, stay in Quebec. Don’t go back to the United States ;)
Quebec City Hotels
Excellent accommodation in Old Quebec below US$100 per night should be no problem, even during high season. Quebec City hotels: we give you five options: Les Lofts 1048, Les Lofts du Tresor, Les Lofts St. Paul, Le Lofts St. Pierre and Les Lofts Notre-Dame. All of them are 4-star properties, perfectly situated inside Old Quebec.
If money is not an issue, why not planning a stay in Quebec’s most iconic property: The Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. This truly stylish 5-star hotel is a magical combination of historic charm with new remodeled rooms – at a relatively fair price. Basic offers start at CA$240 (US$185) if you accept full deposit at time of reservation (non-refundable). When forking out CA$430, Fairmont will consequently give you the full package of cozy comfort (“Gold Room Accommodation”):
-> Private check-in and check-out at the Fairmont Gold reception area on the 14th floor
-> Access to a Private lounge exclusive for Fairmont Gold guests
-> Healthy continental breakfast in lounge
-> Evening canapés & honor bar
-> Computer access in lounge with high-speed Internet
Quebec City on a Budget. By Chili and Chirp | Hugging Horizons since 2004 | Read more about Canada: Montreal and the Narcisse Snake Pits in Manitoba Explore other travel destinations on a budget -> Florence or Venice or New York.