Neighbourhood Guide: Vieux Port

Vieux Port, Petit-Champlain, and Place Royale, known as Basse-Ville (Lowertown) when combined, was once one of the fifth largest ports in the world. Today Vieux Port is a hub of activity in Québec City — a popular place both with locals and tourists.

In the summer months, the port fills with cruise ships, spilling thousands of cruisers into the city every year. Starting at Côte de la Montagne, Vieux Port stretches past Gare du Palais; streets filled with everything from French bistros, gourmet restaurants, antique shops, boutique hotels, outdoor patios, and galleries.

You can search for things to do, where to shop or eat or drink, just click on the appropriate tabs along the top of this neighbourhood guide.


EXPLORE

VIEUX PORT


ACTIVITIES

 Nestled up beside Place Royale and Petit-Champlain, and just below Vieux Québec, Vieux Port is more known for its shopping and restaurants than its activities. That being said, there are a few activities that should not be missed: Musée de la Civilization and L’ilot des Palais being the top choices.

While the neighbourhood is quiet during the winter months, summertime is when Vieux Port begins to buzz with activity; welcoming large cruise ships, food and beer festivals, art installations, and more.

CYCLO

Bike Rentals & Tours
289, rue Saint-Paul
cycloservices.net
418.692.4052

This bike shop in Vieux Port rents bikes for 2 hours, 4 hours, 24 hours, 1 weeks, and 2 weeks. Prices start at $15 (for 2 hours) for adults, $10 for kids, and $25 for a tandem bike. If you’re unable to pick-up the bike, they will deliver to your hotel, for a fee. Cyclo also offers guided bike tours; including a 2-hour bike tour of Lower Town (Petit-Champlain, Place Royale, and Vieux Port) for $55. Book a bike tour!

ÉCOLO CYCLO

Bike Rentals & Tours
160, Quai St-André, Marché du Vieux-Port
ecolocyclo.net
418.692.2517

Located at Marché du Vieux-Port, Écolo Cyclo rents a hybrid, tandem, quetzal, and electric bikes starting at $16. Rentals are available for 1,2,3,4,6,or 8 hours. As well as 2 or 3 days. Écolo Cyclo also offers tours in Parc Jacques Cartier, Île d’Orleans, and Québec’s historic areas. Tours start at $65. Book a bike tour!

EXCURSIONS MARITIMES QUÉBEC

Boat Tours
180, rue Dalhousie, Quai 14
excursionsmaritimesquebec.com
418.845.4564

Offering zodiac tours along the St Lawrence River, giving visitors a unique view of Québec City, Ste-Foy, Montmorency Falls, and more. They offer 90-minute tours, as well as a 4 hour and 30-minute tours. Prices start at $55 per person. Tours operate daily from May to November and reservations are recommended at least 48 hours in advance. Book an excursion!

L’ÎLOT DES PALAIS

Historic Site & GeoRallies
8, rue Vallière
ilotdespalais.ca

A newly opened (2014) historic site, L’îlot des Palais is a fascinating historical and archaeological site that dates back to the 14th century and includes a look into what was once the Jean Talon Brewery, the intendants home, the king’s storehouse or Boswell-Dow Brewery.

Activities at L’îlot des Palais include Virtual excavations and GeoRallys (geocaching with a historic twist): Vieux Québec for 2 hours and 30 mins; Castle, Palaces and Prisons for 2 hours and 30 mins; On the Beer Trail for 3 hours which includes a tasting; For the Holidays, a special geo-rally held during winter holidays for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Georallies cost $10 per adult, plus $10 for the GPS rental. 

GARE DU PALAIS

Train Station
450, rue de la Gare du Palais

Built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Gare du Palais, like many of the buildings erected by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was built in a château-style similar to Château Frontenac. A beautiful historic building with vaulted ceilings and a gorgeous stain glass ceiling in the lobby.

MUSÉE DE CIVILISATION

Museum
85, rue Dalhousie
mcq.org
Admission: Adult $16, Seniors $15, Students $10, Youth 12-16 $5, Children FREE
Open: Tues to Sun 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Featuring over 125,000 artifacts, Musée de Civilisation has interactive displays and exhibits on local culture and surrounding societies. Guided tours are available in French and English. A perfect activity for families, or on a rainy day. Buy a museum package!

MUSÉE NAVAL DE QUÉBEC

Museum
170, rue Dalhousie
navalmuseumofquebec.com
Admission: FREE
Open daily in July & August: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

This unique museum, with extremely awkward operating hours, tells the story of the war on the St. Lawrence River, as well as the history of the Naval Reserve of Canada. The perfect spot for those who love naval history.


FOOD & DRINK

French bistros, insanely delicious Italian food, Québécois diners; Vieux Port offers a wide range of cafés and restaurants to enjoy. On a cold winter day, we can often be found lounging in Café-Bar Artefact and sipping decadent chocolat chaud; sitting along the bar at Matto71 and indulging in our favourite pasta dish; starting off the weekend with a greasy Québécois breakfast.

BOUCHE BÉE

Pizza, Sandwiches & Quiche | $
383, rue Saint-Paul
bouchebeetraiteur.com
Open: Mon 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, Tues to Sat 9:00 am to 10:00 pm in summer, and Mon to Fri 9:00 am to 2:00 pm in winter

A bistro near Gare du Palais with a menu of pizza, salad, toasted sandwiches, quiche, and pie. Fresh local ingredients are key, and the menu changes per season.

BUFFET DE L’ANTIQUAIRE

Québécois | $
95, rue Saint-Paul
buffetdelantiquaire.com
Open daily: 6:00 am to 9:00 pm

A delightful little diner-style bistro serving Québec cuisine that tastes as though you’re sitting in the kitchen of a local grandmother. The menu offers a variety of Québec dishes as well as burgers, poutine, and sandwiches. Weekend brunch is very busy, so be prepared to wait in line to get a table.

CAFÉ-BAR ARTEFACT

Café-Bar | $$
8, rue Saint-Antoine
saint-antoine.com
Free wi-fi

Located in Auberge Saint-Antoine, Café-Bar Artefact is decorated with artifacts dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries has comfortable seating, and one of the BEST chocolat chaud in the city.

CAFÉ DU MONDE

French | $$-$$$
84, rue Dalhousie
lecafedumonde.com
418.692.4455

A Parisian-style bistro at the cruise ship port in Vieux Port, Café du Monde is known for their Sunday brunch. The regular menu features classic French dishes like beef or salmon tartar, boudin noir, and duck — among other delights.

CAFÉ LE SAINT-MALO

French | $$-$$$
75, rue Saint-Paul
Open daily: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Located near Place de la FAO, Café le Saint-Malo is a European-style bistro that serves traditional French cuisine. Bouillabaisse, and the duck confit, are highly recommended. A charming bistro with exposed brick walls, antiques, crisp white linens, and a terrace during the summer months.

CHARBON STEAKHOUSE

Steak | $$-$$$
450, rue de la Gare du Palais
charbonsteakhouse.com
418.522.0133
Open: Mon & Tues 11:30 am to 9:30 pm, Wed to Fri 11:30 pm to 10:30 pm, Sat & Sun 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Located inside Gare du Palais, Charbon is a steakhouse with a modern design. The menu is a mixture of steak, as well as a collection of classic French dishes.

CHEZ RIOUX & PETTIGREW

French | $$
160, rue Saint-Paul
chezriouxetpettigrew.com
Open: Mon to Fri 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Sat & Sun 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Formally known as Le Quai 19, Chez Rioux & Pettigrew is a gourmet bistro is a mixture of rustic charm and gourmet dining. Enjoy dishes like Boudin Noir, Salmon Tartar and Oysters. A lovely brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays.

CHEZ VICTOR

Burgers | $
300, rue Saint-Paul, #104
chezvictorburger.com
Open: Mon to Wed 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, Thurs 8:00 am to 9:30 pm, Fri 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, Sun 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

A bistro specializing in gourmet burgers and poutines, Chez Victor also features gourmet vegetarian burgers and a small selection of salads. The bistro is across the street from Gare du Palais, making it a good choice for a quick meal before catching a train.

LA DOMINICAINE CAFÉ-TRAITEUR

Café | $
217, rue Saint-Paul
Free wi-fi

A small café on rue Saint-Paul, La Dominicaine serves really good coffee, sandwiches, and salads. This café-traiteur is more of a locals hotspot and a good choice for some quiet time.

LE BRIGANTIN

French | $$-$$$
97, rue Sault-au-Matelot
brigantin.com
418.692.3737
Open: Mon to Thurs 11:30 am to 2:20 pm and 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, Sun 11:30 am to 5:00 pm

Located in Place de la FAO, Le Brigantin is a small, friendly bistro with a menu of duck leg confit, lamb, sandwiches, salad, and pizza.

LE VERAVIN

French | $$-$$$
233, rue Saint-Paul
bistroleveravin.com
Open: Tues to Fri 7:30 am to 10:30 am and 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Sat 8:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, Sun 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

A charming European-style bistro serving French cuisine, majority of the menu is Gluten-Free, making it an extra special find in Québec.

LAURIE RAPHAËL

Canadian | $$$-$$$$
117, rue Dalhousie
laurieraphael.com
418.692.4555

Created by famed chef, Daniel Vézina, Laurie Raphaël is now headed by his son, Raphaël. The menu features gourmet Canadian dishes created with modern techniques. A unique dining experience you will want to do over, and over again.

LÉGENDE PA LA TANIÈRE

Québécois | $$-$$$
255, rue Saint-Paul
restaurantlegende.com
Open: Mon & Tues 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Wed to Fri 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, Sat 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Sun 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Voted one of the best new restaurants in Canada in 2014 by enRoute magazine, Légende’s menu is inspired by the Québec’s culinary history, from the time when the land belonged to the First Nations people to today. A gourmet French-Canadian bistro that is sure to delight your tastebuds.

MATTO 71

Italian | $$-$$$
71, rue Saint-Pierre
ilmatto.ca
Open daily: lunch 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, dinner 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Located within Hôtel 71 on rue Saint-Pierre, Matto 71 is one of the more busy Italian restaurants in Québec, and for good reason: the ambiance is energetic, the staff and friendly and knowledgeable, they have a solid base of local customers, and they serve pasta that takes like it came from an Italian grandma’s kitchen — and some of it has! Voted, by us, as one of the best restaurants in Québec City.

MILLE ET UNE PIZZAS

Pizza | $-$$$
363, rue Saint-Paul
1001pizzas.ca
Open daily: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

A popular gourmet pizzeria in Vieux Port with more pizza selections than anyone could possibly imagine; as well as a salad and a small selection of sandwiches. A very popular restaurant, all year round.

PANACHE

French & Québécois | $$-$$$$
8, rue Saint-Antoine
saint-antoine.com
418.692.1022
Open: Mon to Fri 6:30 am to 10:30 am, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. On weekends 7:30 am to 11:00 am, 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Headed by chef Louis Pacquelin, Panache is one of the finest restaurants in Québec. The menu features gourmet dishes made with locally sourced products and changes regularly based on what is available. Voted, by us, as one of the best restaurants in Québec City.

PIZZAIO

Pizza | $-$$
319, rue Saint-Paul
lapizzaio.com
Open: Mon & Tues 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, Wed to Sat 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

This popular small Italian bistro has been in business for 25+ years. The menu features pasta and pizza, as well as a small selection of salads and sandwiches. Simply delicious.

RESTAURANT L’ÉCHUADE

French | $$-$$$
73, rue du Sault-au-Matelot
echaude.com
418.692.1299
Open: Mon to Fri 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Sat & Sun 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm

A bistro serving contemporary French cuisine: tartar, steak frites, duck and so on. l’Échuade also features a brunch menu.

RESTAURANT L’INITIALE

French & Canadian | $$$-$$$$
54, rue Saint-Pierre
restaurantinitiale.com
418.694.1818
Open: Tues to Sat 11:30 am to 8:30 pm

A Relais & Château restaurant in Vieux Port, l’Initiale features gourmet French and Canadian dishes made with locally sourced produce. A fine dining experience with an intimate feel.

RESTAURANT SSS

French | $$-$$$
71, rue Saint-Paul
restaurantsss.com
Open: Mon to Fri 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm, Sat & Sun 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm

A sort of sister restaurant to Toast!, Restaurant SSS (Simple Snack Sympathique) has a lounge as well as a restaurant, the menu is French, with options for vegetarians, celiacs (Gluten-Free). Salmon tartar is recommended.

RESTAURANT TOAST!

French | $$$-$$$$
17, rue Sault-au-Matelot
restauranttoast.com
418.692.1334
Open: Mon to Thurs 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Sun 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm

An intimate restaurant serving fine French cuisine, Toast! is located in Hôtel Priori. The menu features foie gras, bison tartar, lamb, and other French delights.


SHOPPING

Vieux Port is the go-to neighbourhood for antique aficionados and art lovers; wander along rue Saint-Paul to shop for antique treasures, then over to rue Saint-Pierre for antiques and art. Visit Marché du Vieux Port and shop for fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as local products.

GALERIE MICHEL GUIMONT

Art Gallery
273, rue Saint-Paul
galeriemichelguimont.com
418.692.1188
Open: Tues to Sat 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sun 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

An art gallery showcasing contemporary pieces by Québec and Canadian artists. The gallery also features a selection of modern pieces.

L’HÉRITAGE ANTIQUITÉ

Antique Shop
109, rue Saint-Paul
418.692.1681

A delightful little antique shop specialising in porcelains, ceramics, oil lamps, and wooden furniture craft in Québec. Items are a little more refined than those in other antique shops on rue Saint-Paul. Prices are sometimes high, but bargains can be found.

LA NOVELLE FRANCE ANTIQUITÉS

Antique Shop
225, rue Saint-Paul
418.694.1807
Open: Mon 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tues to Thurs 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sat 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, Sun 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

One of many antique shops in Vieux Port, this particular shop specializes in pine furniture, as well as 19th century collectables, and folk art.

LA PETITE GALERIE JAUNE

Art Gallery
209, rue Saint-Paul
418.742.6828
Open: Tues to Sun 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Unique pieces of jewellery created by Devesh Kumar. Pieces are handmade with silver and gems or precious stones. Designs are beautifully intricate.

MARCHÉ DU VIEUX PORT

Farmer’s Market
160, Quai Saint-André
marchevieuxport.com
418.692.2517
Open: Mon to Fri 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sat & Sun 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

A fabulous market selling goods from local producers and artists; in the summer the market is filled with local producers selling everything from fish to vegetables to fruit to charcuterie to wine. In the winter the market becomes a Christmas market and features local produce and products popular in winter; including locally produced maple syrup.

ROBERT LANGLOIS, JOAILLIER

Jeweller
105, rue Saint-Paul
robertlanglois.ca
418.265.8485

An incredibly talented jeweller in Québec, Robert Langlois creates exquisite pieces from gold, silver, precious gems or pearls. Among his services: custom-made jewellery, repairs, and refurbishing old jewellery into new pieces.

SCHWARZ COLLECTIONS EUROPEENNES

Fashion
191, rue Saint-Paul
418.781.0835

A boutique selling fine clothing for women, Schwarz Collection Europeennes has a fabulous selection of clothing from Canada, as well as clothing imported from Europe. A favourite boutique among both locals and tourists.


NIGHTLIFE

LE PUB

Pub | $-$$
37, Quai Saint-André
leportroyal.com

The pub at Hôtel Port-Royal has an eclectic homey feel, with exposed stone walls, and a mixture of retro and industrial furnishings. They have a small menu that serves traditional pub fare, and a very large outdoor patio. Pints start at $7.50 and cocktails start at $7.25.


HOTELS

AUBERGE SAINT-ANTOINE

4-star Hotel | $$$-$$$$
8, rue Saint-Antoine
saint-antoine.com
418-692-2211

A boutique hotel in Québec’s Vieux Port neighbourhood, Auberge Saint-Antoine by Relais & Châteaux is locally owned and operated, and one of the best boutique hotels in Québec City. The hotel is known for their displays of historical artifacts, which were discovered during the building of the hotel. The hotel features newly decorated rooms, a fine dining restaurant, Panache, as well as a fitness centre and spa.

LE SAINT PIERRE, AUBERGE DISTINCTIVE

4-star Hotel | $$$-$$$$
79, rue Saint-Pierre
auberge.qc.ca
418.694.7981

An elegant hotel on rue Saint-Pierre, the rooms at Le Saint-Pierre, Auberge Distinctive have a contemporary country feel with grey sofas and pale yellow country-style wood furniture. The hotel has a small dining room, a library with a fireplace, a spa, and fitness centre.

HÔTEL 71

4-star Hotel | $$$-$$$$
71, rue Saint-Pierre
hotel71.ca
418.692.1171

A beautiful boutique hotel on rue Saint-Pierre, Hôtel 71 is located across from Musée de Civilisation, inside what was once the National Bank of Canada’s head office.  The hotel has contemporary-styled rooms, fitness centre, and bikes for rent.

HÔTEL DES COUTELLIER

3-star Hotel | $$-$$$
253, rue Saint-Paul
hoteldescoutellier.com
418.692.9696

Located on rue Saint-Paul, not far from Marché du Vieux-Port, Hôtel des Coutellier has comfortable rooms, many with exposed brick walls, and offers guests a continental breakfast which is delivered to their room each morning. The hotel is also home to a gourmet restaurant, Légende.

HÔTEL LE GERMAIN QUÉBEC

4-star Hotel | $$$$
126, rue Saint-Pierre
germaindominion.com
418.692.2224

Owned by the Germain family, Hôtel Le Germain Québec is the heart of family’s hotel business. The rooms are modern contemporary in design, with insanely comfortable beds. A fitness centre is available for guests, and the lounge is warm and classical and a wonderful spot for relaxing or meeting with friends.

HÔTEL PORT ROYAL

4-star Hotel | $$$-$$$$
144, rue Saint-Pierre
leportroyal.com
418.692.2777

A hotel with rustic-contemporary designs, Hôtel Port Royal is also home to Quai 19 and Le Pub. Among the hotel’s amenities, guests will find a 24-hour gym, laundry/dry cleaning, and massage therapy.

HÔTEL LE PRIORI

3-star Hotel | $$
15, rue du Sault-au-Matelot
hotellepriori.com
418.692.3992

A small boutique hotel on Vieux Port’s walking street (Sault-au-Matelot), Hôtel Le Priori is home to the famed Restaurant Toast!. Rooms are comfortable, and Art Deco in style.


Recommended Reading

While we would love to be the ultimate guide to Québec City – and trust us, we are working on it – we recognize there are other guides and resources that are helpful. If you’re looking for a traditional guidebook to take along with you, we recommend using Lonely Planet Montréal and Québec City, or Moon Québec City; both guidebooks offer detailed insights to Québec City, as well as decent maps of the city.

If you’re like our editor-in-chief and enjoy reading books that are set in a city or country before travelling there, then we recommend reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny; all of the books in this series takes place in various parts of the province of Québec, with book number six, Bury Your Dead, taking place in Québec City. You don’t need to read the entire series to enjoy book six, but if in case you want to, here are the books in the Inspector Gamache series: Still Life, A Fatal Grace (Dead Cold), The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder (The Murder Stone), The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick Of The Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How The Light Gets In, The Long Way Home, The Nature Of The Beast, and A Great Reckoning.

If you enjoy reading about the history of a city or country, there are a couple books worth reading before embarking on your trip to Québec City:

  • Québec: Word Heritage City by David Mendel – David is a historian and tour guide who has lived in Québec City for many years. This book is small, and filled with photos, histories, and details about many of the historic sites in Québec City.
  • Québec: The Story of Three Sieges by Stephen Manning – If you want to understand what makes Québec City tick, it’s important to learn about three battles that shaped the city. This book by Stephen Manning provides a concise history of the battles in 1759, 1760, and 1776. We highly recommend reading this book before your trip.
  • Three Weeks in Québec City: The Meeting That Made Canada by Christopher Moore – A fascinating read about the Québec City Conference which took place in 1864, and where there were discussions about uniting all the provinces in British North America. Thirty-three delegates attended the conference, including John A. MacDonald, the future (first) Priminister of Canada.
  • Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer – Samuel de Champlain was an explorer and cartographer who established the settlement of called New France. A Pulitzer prize-winning book, Champlain’s Dream is one of the best biographies written about the founder of Québec City.