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Québec city: Insider Tips for Planning Your City trip...Mistake to avoid!

Updated: Mar 21

I've had the pleasure of meeting travelers from all around the globe. I've heard about some common mistakes visitors make when planning their trip to our beautiful city. That's why I'm here—to share some tips on avoiding those pitfalls and improve your experience in Québec City!If it's your first time here, bienvenue! I'm Samuel Dubois, a proud local (born and raised) and a certified tour guide in Québec City for the past nine years.



Deciding Your Stay: Québec City vs. Montréal ...why not both!

When planning a trip to Québec, one of the burning questions on every traveler's mind is, "How long should I stay in Québec City? Should I spend more time in Montréal?" It's a dilemma that many face, considering the unique charms each city has to offer.

In my opinion, Québec city is the highlight of many travelers'. Its rich history, all the cobblestone streets, and breathtaking architecture....that's hard to resist. While Montréal has amazing nightlife scene and so many diverse dining options, Québec City's have it's part too. If you're someone who enjoys the hustle and traffic of a big city, with alot of nightlife options and culinary and art delights, Montréal may be great choice year-round. However, if you find yourself in Québec City during the summer months, you're in for a treat. The city comes alive with festivals, outdoor concerts, and plenty of activities We have one of the biggest music festival in the whole country in july. And sure, Québec City might slow down a bit in the winter, but fear not, nature enthusiasts and winter sports junkies! We've got your back! Plenty to see and do yearly here.

To truly soak in the magic of Québec City and its surroundings, I'd suggest at least 2-3 days. Between checking out iconic spots like the Plains of Abraham,great museums or try authentic local cuisine. Dont stop and plan to go other neighborhood like Saint-roch, Saint-sauveur or Limoilou. Maybe get yourself in a nearby outdoor havens like Parc de la Jacques-Cartier, you'll have plenty to keep you busy. Brace yourself for a French immersion! You'll be surrounded by French speakers like me bien oui, but don't sweat it; most of us are really friendly and willing to help. Consider it an amusing part of the adventure, not a linguistic obstacle course. After all , you travel to discover and being somewhere else then home.

Ultimately, it's not a competition between Québec City and Montréal. Each city offers its own unique experiences and attractions. I like Montreal alot .Whether you choose to spend more time in Québec City or explore the vibrant life of Montréal, one thing is for sure – your Québec adventure will be unforgettable. But please...If you can dont come just for a half short day trip otherwise you might regret it like some of my previous customer.





The parking

If there a souvenir you dont want to carry back is a parking ticket. Finding parking in Québec City can be a bit of a puzzle, especially in the old town area. Metered street parking is available on a handful of streets, but these spots are often taken up quickly. I suggest you downloading the Copilote app on your phone. With your credit card information saved, you can easily pay for parking by entering the number displayed on the blue and withe sign near the parking space.


For those preferring covered parking or paid one, there are few options within or near Vieux Québec. I suggest you to visit this page from Quebec city that list all of them.

Important information is that street parking typically allows for stays of two to five hours, and overnight parking is usualy free from 9pm to 9am, extending until 10am on Sundays. Remember look at the specific local regulations before leaving your vehicle. We always double check. If your hotel is nearby, consider taking public transportation or using Uber/taxi services. The RTC Metrobus runs frequently and is easy to navigate, saving you from parking fees and the hassle, especially during festivals or events. You will feel like a local!


Additionally, the city of Quebec is experimenting with new projects to make the old town more pedestrian-friendly. This means restricting traffic in Old Quebec, creating a more enjoyable experience for pedestrians.





Also, please avoid driving to the Place Royale area unless it's strictly necessary, such as dropping off your bags nearby. It's mostly forbidden, and I often see travelers getting lost or confused in the area. Trust me, it can be quite frustrating. Instead, park nearby and enjoy a leisurely walk to your destination."




Is Québec City Safe?


You're in luck because this section of the blog won't take long.

Québec City is incredibly safe; in fact, it's considered one of the safest cities to travel in North America.I've never heard of any pickpocketing incidents in 9 years of guiding and all my life. As always, it's wise to keep an eye on your belongings. From my experience, there have been some issues with bicycle theft during the two last summers. It's a problem that 2 of my previous customers have encountered, even in private parking areas.


One potential hazard to watch out for is getting hit by falling ice or large chunks of snow from rooftops while walking. Dont worry in summer it won't happen ;)! Never happen on a tour...yet! Except that it is safe






Are You Prepared for Québec City's Weather?

It's crucial to anticipate the weather conditions when planning your trip here. While winters can be cold, with temperatures dropping as low as -25, even milder days can feel chilly due to the humidity and wind. To stay comfortable, it's essential to dress warmly with layers, even if say to yourself "dont worry honey" im use to colder climates" .





If you're traveling from a warmer region and don't have suitable winter clothing, consider renting or purchasing appropriate gear upon arrival. My friend Emilie from Tuque et Bicycle Experience offers a cool convenient service: renting snow clothes delivered to your hotel. Being prepared for the weather ensures you can fully enjoy exploring Québec City without any surprises. Learn more on her website."




Also Summer day can be hot and humid as well even if we are in the north. Dont forget your sunscreen. We have also alot of rain so bring your umbrella and if you forgot try to buy a good one in the old town. The cheap one tend to be useless during windy day.







Do I need to speak french?

As a tour guide, I've heard so many stories from travelers who have been misinformed or have read misleading information before their trip here. I've even been asked if it's illegal to speak English here. (Roulement de yeux) They were serious... It drives me crazy!

I jokingly replied, 'If speaking English were illegal, then we'd both be in trouble!' As I mentioned, Quebec City is more French-speaking than the cosmopolitan city of Montreal. But don't view French as a barrier; instead, see it as an enriching part of your experience. For many, speaking French here is a highlight of their trip. While many locals are bilingual, not everyone speaks English fluently. However, places frequented by travelers are more use to English. We typically stick to our common language (it make sense no), but if given the chance, I'll happily practice English. French is my mother tongue that I love to use but I see learning other language as a plus.


So, what if you don't speak French at all?

Unless you're a language-learning prodigy, you won't become fluent in a language before every trip. Most visitors are here for a few days or a week, so don't worry; people won't be upset. But why not give it a shot and learn a few words and phrases? You might even surprise yourself with your ability to say 'Bonjour' and 'Merci' in a foreign language.

I firmly believe that French is not a barrier but an essential part of the Quebec experience.






The distance

Canada, it's a massive country Quebec it's pretty big too, you know. But don't go thinking you can go from Montreal to Quebec City and then off to the Gaspé Peninsula in just 4 days. Planning to squeeze in Toronto, BC, and Quebec City in a week? Ah, you're in for a real adventure! You will mostly travel and not experience it much. There are so many stunning places but truth be told, they're often pretty far from each other, If you really want to experience thoses place and not just put your feet 10 minutes on the ground and stating "I check it on my bucket list" . Take your time and focus on what you really want to see!










I suggest you strongly to have a look at thoses 3 website to help you plan your way





Quebec cite This is the go-to spot for all your tourism needs. With a vast information covering every aspect of your trip, you'll find answers to virtually any question you may have.




Urban Guide , Pamela is more than just a travel journalist; she's a true lover of the city. After years of exploring every corner of Quebec she's become a proud local, with knowledge that rivals even the most seasoned natives.Have a look.




Chasing poutine How about a catchy website name? Well, here's a gem for you! Fantastic website made by Jennifer Doré. She's not just any blogger; she's a top-notch travel writer who knows her stuff! "




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