All you should know earlier than visiting Québec Metropolis, from somebody who moved there

Once I first visited Québec Metropolis in 2013, I fell in love.

After a few quick getaways to town, I rented my first condo right here in 2014. It lured me in with its European-style structure, French-speaking locals and laid-back vibe. As an anglophone who doesn’t converse French nicely, Québec Metropolis, whereas part of Canada, felt international to me. In different phrases, it was a really perfect vacation spot for a full-time traveler who was uncertain about residing in Canada once more.

It isn’t simply the structure and language that make Québec really feel completely different. Québecois use the 24-hour clock, whereas the remainder of the nation makes use of 12. When costs, they typically use a comma as a substitute of a interval to separate {dollars} and cents. Québec swear phrases are religiously based mostly, and if you happen to hear somebody say “tabarnak!” they’re dropping the f-bomb. 

Learn on for extra of what you should know earlier than your journey to Québec Metropolis.

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What number of days must you spend in Québec Metropolis?

There’s a lot to see and expertise in Québec Metropolis, and I’d suggest spending a minimum of three days right here. Discover Previous Québec on the primary day, then department out to such different neighborhoods as St-Roch and Montcalm within the second day. On the third day, contemplate a day journey to Île d’Orléans or Wendake.

Is Québec Metropolis higher than Montréal? 

Naturellement! However significantly…Québec Metropolis and Montréal are two very completely different cities, they usually complement one another properly. The place the latter is edgy and cosmopolitan, the previous is relaxed and comforting. Each cities have a thriving meals scene, and a love for the outside.

Visiting Québec Metropolis within the chilly vacation season is magical – simply make sure you reserve lodging nicely upfront © Colin Woods / Shutterstock

All the time e-book lodging throughout Christmas, New 12 months’s and festivals a minimum of six months upfront

Discovering lodging in Québec Metropolis is usually straightforward, however if you happen to’re planning to go to throughout one of many standard festivals (Festival d’été de Québec in summer time and Carnaval de Québec in winter) or in the course of the Christmas break, e-book a minimum of six months upfront. The longer you wait, the dearer the rooms will probably be – and generally each room in and close to Previous Québec is totally booked, making last-minute journeys throughout these peak intervals a problem. 

The most cost effective transportation from the airport can be the slowest 

For a few years, the one approach to journey from the airport to downtown Québec Metropolis was by taxi, at a value of CA$35. Fortunately, a less expensive bus service is now accessible, at CA$7 (US$5.50) per ticket. Two bus strains, 76 and 80, journey to the airport; take the 80 line and switch to line 1 at Gare fluviale to get to downtown Québec Metropolis.

Navigating parking in Québec Metropolis

In Previous Québec, metered avenue parking may be discovered on a handful of streets, however spots replenish shortly. Although there will probably be a machine close by to pay for the area, save your self time and obtain the Copilote app in your telephone: after you’ve added your bank card, you possibly can pay for parking by getting into the four-digit quantity on the blue tag by your area. Road parking areas are normally accessible for 2 to 5 hours; be aware that in a single day avenue parking is free from 9pm to 9am, and till 10am on Sundays. Ensure you confirm native guidelines earlier than leaving your automotive in a single day.

There are a few parking garages positioned in or near Previous Québec. The one beneath Hôtel de Ville (Metropolis Corridor) is kind of small, with a big parking storage on rue Dauphine, close to the visitors lights. In Previous Decrease City, close to the marina and alongside the Saint-Lawrence river, there are fairly a number of parking heaps, in addition to a parking storage.

People walk through a square in front of Notre-Dame-des-Victories church in Vieux Québec (Old Town), Québec City, Québec, Canada, North America
Exploring Québec Metropolis is a delight – although parking on this packed district could be a problem © Pri Ma / Shutterstock

Right here’s the trick to understanding short-term condo rental descriptions 

Residence advertisements had been my first hurdle, and descriptions touting  “1½ ,” “2½,” “3½,” “4½” and “5½” residences confounded me. Finally, I realized that the numbers point out the variety of whole rooms, whereas the “½” means toilet (even when there’s multiple). My first condo was a 1½, which may greatest be described as a postage stamp with a toilet. This quantity system is commonly used for short-term leases as nicely, with the commonest being a 3½ (one bed room — plus kitchen, front room and loo). 

You could find 4½ (two-bedroom) and 5½ (three-bedroom) leases as nicely – although I’d suggest all the time studying the rental descriptions fastidiously, as landlords don’t change the scale indication of an condo even when they’ve renovated and decreased the variety of bedrooms. For example, an condo could be a 5½ in dimension, however have solely two bedrooms. Although this doesn’t occur typically, do your analysis to keep away from disappointment. 

Canada Day is shifting day in Québec 

Whereas vacationers have a good time Canada Day on July 1 in Previous Québec, locals are busy shifting. Most leases run out June 30 in Québec, so when you’re busy exploring, you might nicely see somebody carrying a settee via the gang to their new place.

Est-ce que tu parles français

One of many largest misunderstandings about Québec Metropolis is that to benefit from the metropolis you need to converse French, and that Québecois will deal with you poorly if you happen to don’t. Fortunately, as of late that is woefully inaccurate. I say this as an anglophone who continues to be battling the French language after 5 years of residing right here full time.

Once I first visited in 2013, discovering locals who spoke some English, even in touristy Previous Québec, was a problem. As we speak, most companies within the outdated metropolis solely rent workers who may converse satisfactory English. Nonetheless, I’d advise making an effort to greet everybody in French; locals will typically swap over in the event that they converse English – even when some don’t. This little courtesy will go a great distance.

A woman walks under a canopy of colorful umbrellas suspended over Rue du Cul-de-Sac, Basse-Ville (Lower Town), Québec City, Québec, Canada
You’ll discover Québec Metropolis cozy and charming – and extra so if you happen to take some time to talk some French © mkzdillon / Shutterstock

Be aware on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day 

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24 is the largest vacation celebration for Québecois, a day for embracing the love and satisfaction they’ve for his or her language, historical past, traditions and tradition. It may be a enjoyable day, however in case you are non-French-speaking anglophone, use warning, as some unfriendly varieties might snap at you in case you are not talking French in the course of the festivities. If you wish to expertise the celebrations, ask resort or hostel workers for suggestions – and heed their recommendation.

Previous Québec is just not very accessible

For able-bodied individuals, Québec Metropolis may be very walkable and simple to get pleasure from. Sadly, Previous Québec’s slim, cobbled streets, many at steep inclines, make exploring the realm a problem for individuals who use a wheelchair. Word that the favored funicular that connects Terrasse Dufferin in Previous Québec with Petit-Champlain in Previous Decrease City is absolutely accessible.  

If you happen to’re injured in Québec Metropolis, what must you do? 

There may be an English-speaking hospital in Québec Metropolis, Jeffery Hale – although it’s the Ste-Foy neighborhood, outdoors of the middle of city, and never open 24/7. If you happen to want fast pressing care when you’re in Previous Québec, the closest hospital is Hôtel Dieu. As somebody who dislocated their shoulder and struggled although 5 hours within the ER, I might strongly suggest downloading a translation app previous to arriving to make communication with workers simpler. Word that I did discover most medical doctors spoke some English.

Whilst you might be able to talk in English with medical workers, all medical paperwork will probably be in French. Additionally, upon arrival on the hospital you’ll be requested for insurance coverage documentation, a bank card – or each. If you’re a resident of Ontario and have OHIP, you’ll not must pay upfront.