Québec City is one of the most walkable cities in Canada. Lucky for me, since walking is the only safe form of exercise I can do with a broken neck! In the last month and a half, I have ridden a car only twice here. (I can’t ride the bus with my injury because of its sudden movements.)
Also lucky for me (and my husband whom I have to drag around as I can’t turn my head to cross the street…), Québec is such a beautiful, charming city with a rich history. Though there are admittedly not as many things to see or do here when compared to Toronto or Montreal, there’s been enough to keep us busy. While my husband and I walk to go to school and to do random errands everyday, we venture out and explore the city a bit on our longer, (nearly) daily walks.
Québec City at a glance:
- Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, it is one of North America’s oldest cities
- Recognized as the cradle of French civilization in North America
- Capital of the province of Québec, Canada (population: 8.2 million)
- A UNESCO world heritage treasure (1985) on account of the rich heritage of Old Québec
- Home to Québec’s National Assembly
- Covers an area of 9,000 km² and is located 250 km east of Montréal
- Home to a population of 677,000 (Québec City area), 95% of them French-speaking
Source: Québec City and Region Tourism
“So Europe. So Close.”
Quebec’s Old Town (Vieux-Québec) is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. In Quebec’s Upper and Lower Towns (above and below the cliff), you can find at least 11 architectural styles, ranging from Classical Revival (1790-1820) to International Style (1930-1965). The area is also home to the Plains of Abraham, where a pivotal battle between the French and English in 1759 shaped the future of North America. (Source: The Seven Wonders of Canada)
For geo buffs like me
The cliffs and stairs that link the city’s Upper Town and Lower Town, in fact, connect the two distinct geological provinces of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Appalachian Orogen. These cliffs and stairs straddle one of the most important faults in eastern North America, Logan’s Fault (also called Logan’s Line). It is the main structure in a series of thrust faults that stretches from Lake Champlain in Southern Québec to the Gaspésie, and passes through Cap-Rouge, Sainte-Foy, Québec, and île d’Orléans. (Source and more info here: Geoscape – Québec, CGEN)
Québec City boasts nearly 30 sets of stairs that link the Upper Town to the Lower Town. Each stairway has its own personality and history!
Exploring Québec on foot
Let’s start with the neighbourhood where my husband and I live and go to school, Saint-Roch in Québec’s Lower Town. My husband likens it to what Parkdale in Toronto would have been a decade ago (i.e., populated with young professionals, art-farts, hipsters, and yes… hobos). It is adjacent to Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Jean Baptiste, Vieux-Québec, Limoilou, and Vanier.
All photos below were taken on Rue Saint-Joseph, the vibrant main street in the neighbourhood dotted with trendy boutiques, restaurants of all price points, bars, music venues, delis, bakeries, cafes, and home decor stores. AND it’s just two streets away from our apartment!