One thing you should know about Quebec City is that there are stairs everywhere. You can’t escape the existence of stairs. There may be an elevator or there may not. In a city with over 400 years of history, you should expect to do a lot of walking and a lot of climbing.
I stayed down in the Petit Champlain/Vieux Port area which I called the Lower Town. It’s down along the riverfront, but outside the original city walls that protect what I call the Upper Town. So if you need to travel between the Upper Town and the Lower Town, then you need a really good pair of walking shoes. A good pair of knees wouldn’t hurt either.
Now add snow to all those stairs. Then you need a really good pair of winter boots or regular shoes with great grip.
In the daytime or the nighttime, Quebec City is a stunning cityscape from 400 years ago. The top of these stairs offer a great view of Petit Champlain. If you really don’t want to take the stairs, then you can take the Funiculaire for $2.25 per person.
The Funiculaire has been in operation since 1879. Now it was a big deal in 1879. However, you may look at it as a glorified elevator. Call it whatever you want, it is a pretty neat vehicle to take people up from Petit Champlain or down from the Chateau Frontenac. I think it’s worth taking at least once. But don’t forget, I’m a major transit geek. 🙂
Then there are plenty of streets with significant inclines. My coworkers started to suspect that the steep inclines were a built-in Quebecois exercise program to work off all the poutine the tourists eat. I can tell you that one climb up from Petit Champlain to Chateau Frontenac certainly burnt off a significant amount of poutine I had for lunch.
The moral of the story is bring a good pair of comfy shoes. If you are travelling during the snowy season, a pair of winter boots will be helpful, but not always necessary.
Oh, and if you really want a cracker way to make the descent from Upper Town to Lower Town, you should join the Red Bull Crashed Ice event and skate your way down iced up scaffolding all the way to the river front. Crashed Ice was the weekend before we were there. It’s such a big event that they were still cleaning up the leftovers a week later.