Travel Canada: The Best Way to Spend 72 Hours in Quebec City

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Travel Canada: The Best Way to Spend 72 Hours in Quebec City

Travel Canada: The Best Way to Spend 72 Hours in Quebec City

Travel Canada: The Best Way to Spend 72 Hours in Quebec City

By WAVEJourney


Discover Why Quebec City is Worthy of Spending More Time Than a Day in Port on Your Cruise



Quebec City in the Canadian province of Quebec is not only charming, it’s fascinating and exciting to visit anytime of year. WJ has compiled our tips for the best way to spend 72 hours in Quebec City before or after taking a cruise. Even if you’re not cruising, but only visiting the city for a few days, you’ll find plenty of useful destination information.

Quebec City Sights

Quebec City Sights



Old Town Quebec oozes history in its winding cobblestone streets, plus it flaunts the local culture with its European background and Old World French influence. There are endless reasons why the UNESCO World Heritage walled city of Old Quebec is one of WJ’s favorite destinations.

Founded by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1608, Quebec City is the province’s capital city. Located along the Saint Lawrence River Valley the area’s population, approaching 700,000, are predominantly French speaking. But don’t be concerned if you do not parler français – English is commonly spoken and used by the majority of tourism and hospitality workers (hotels, restaurants, taxis, tours, shops, etc.).

But, it’s even more enticing as a pre or post-cruise port – definitely worthy of adding extra time to explore this historic destination.

Old Town Quebec City

Old Town Quebec City

WJ arrived in Quebec City via an ocean cruise that started 11 days earlier from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, USA. Although we had visited Quebec City a few years earlier, there was still so much more we wanted to see, experience and explore. Therefore, it was prudent to add extra time to spend after our cruise ended – and we recommend you do the same if Quebec City is your embarkation or disembarkation city on a cruise itinerary as it just might be the highlight destination.






Quebec City has two docks for cruise ships. The Old Port dock is Le Vieux Port and the Old City dock is La Basse-Ville. Both docks are situated where the Saint Charles River enters the St. Lawrence. Quebec Old City is actually on two levels – the Lower Town is at the level where Le Vieux Port is located, with the Upper Town a steep walk or funicular ride on the top of the hill.

If your ship docks at Le Vieux Port be sure to enjoy the view of Chateau Frontenac perched on the rock in Upper Town, and you’ll only be a short walk to take the funicular that goes between.

The ship WJ arrived on was in port early morning of the day before disembarkation. This allowed us plenty of time to explore while using the ship as our floating hotel – although just one overnight was not long enough to do all we wanted. Hence, we scheduled extra nights at a hotel just outside the gates of the Upper Town and near the Parliament Building.

Le Vieux Port Cruise Dock in Quebec City

Le Vieux Port Cruise Terminal and Dock in Quebec City

On busy port days, there can be five cruise ships of various sizes, which brings in anywhere from 10,000-20,000+ tourists (passengers and crew). So, keep in mind that excursions might sell out in advance, the taxis might have a longer wait, the Hop-On/Off buses will be packed, and you’ll want to make reservations for special dining (restaurants and bistros you just must dine at) before you arrive.

On some days, when four or five cruise ships enter the port, some will be docked farther down river making for a long hike to the city center. Often those ships offer shuttles to the old port and into town. In the terminal, cruisers will find free Wi-Fi and a visitor’s information booth staffed every day a ship is in port.





Quebec City - Paillard

Quebec City – Paillard

Paillard boulangerie and cafe at 1097 rue St-Jean in Upper Town is ideal for breakfast with its French pastries, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, excellent coffee, and breads. This is where you’ll be able to chill out along with the locals, and maybe strike up a conversation at the long communal tables. But it’s also worthy of a return visit at other times of day if you want gourmet sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads, artisanal gelato, and sweet treats. TIP: Bread is their signature! Make sure you try one of their artisanal breads.



Quebec City - Chez Boulay

Quebec City – Chez Boulay

Chez Boulay – Bistro Boreal at 1110, rue Saint-Jean is wonderful for lunch (also check their menus for brunch and dinner). Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 2 PM, the reasonably priced lunch menu changes daily, featuring seasonal ingredients that are prepared based on the chef’s ideas that day. Wonderful soups, salads, main courses and desserts will delight your taste buds.

TIP: Popular with locals and tourists alike, so definitely try to make a reservation before you go.



Le Chic Shack in Quebec City

Le Chic Shack in Quebec City

Le Chic Shack at 15 rue du Fort (opposite Chateau Frontenac Hotel) is perfect for popping in for a snack of poutine. WJ enjoyed Chic Shack so much for a quick bite to eat we went a couple of times. Crispy hand-smashed potatoes, homemade sauces and local cheeses are a signature of their poutine dishes. WJ also enjoyed the burgers with a local draft beer all for a reasonable price.



Le Clocher Penché

Bistrot Le Clocher Penché Quebec City (Top right: Homemade Fresh Cheese and Herbs; Bottom right: Smoked Mackerel Clam Stew)

Bistrot Le Clocher Penché at 203, rue Saint-Joseph Est is an old favorite for WJ. Well, we dined there during our first visit to Quebec City in 2012, and have been raving about that experience ever since. So we had to return for dinner once again, and were just as impressed as the first time!

The restaurant is a local favorite, with not many tourists in the know, so be prepared to wait for a table if you don’t make a reservation in advance. The three co-owners have established Bistrot Le Clocher Penche as one of the foodie hot spots in Quebec City for brunch, lunch and dinner (be sure to check their opening hours). Serving regional artisanal ingredients is a key component of each menu.

Viv recalled dining on a fresh homemade cheese appetizer in 2012 (foodie memories do live on), and was thrilled to see a similar dish was on the current menu. The starter of Homemade Fresh Cheese and Herbs with Mushroom and Rabbit Arancini made a positive impression. Next we shared a Roasted Carrot and Herbed Ricotta Salad. Viv’s main course was Prince Edward Island Beef with Chanterelle and Jerusalem Artichoke Tarte Fine, and Garlic Flower Sauce.

Jill started with the very tasty Smoked Mackerel, Corn and Simpson’s Surf Clam Stew with Tomato Confit and Burned Bread. A main course of Homemade Agnolotti with Braised Pork Chine, Bouillabase Sauce, Red Pepper and Roasted Garlic Couli was a delicious combination of elegant comfort food.

Bistrot Le Clocher Penché Quebec City Dinner

Bistrot Le Clocher Penché Quebec City Dinner

If you arrive early for your reservation or didn’t make one and need to wait for a table, take a seat at the bar and enjoy the local vibe.



Chez Muffy Restaurant

Chez Muffy French-Canadian farmhouse-inspired restaurant in Quebec City.

– Dinner at Chez Muffy, Auberge Saint-Antoine’s restaurant was divine! Foodies or anyone celebrating a special occasion must make a dinner reservation for at least one evening at Chez Muffy during a visit to Quebec City. This French-Canadian farmhouse-inspired restaurant is located in an historic maritime warehouse (where sailing masts were made) dating back to 1822.

The ambiance at Chez Muffy is a wonderful mix of sophisticated elegance within a rustic atmosphere. Original stone walls and exposed wooden beams in the ceiling transported us back to a different time. The fireplace in the center of the restaurant creates a focal point that provides a sense of calmness and relaxation – perfect for settling in for an evening of exquisite dining.

Two dinner menus – ala carte and tasting menu – had us conflicted at first as to which one we should choose from. But, our extremely professional and wonderfully attentive server assured us timing on courses would not be an issue if we each picked a different menu. So we did! Viv decided on the tasting menu and Jill the ala carte menu. Then we sat back and waited for the magic to happen. And, WOW, it sure did!

We each started with a perfectly handcrafted cocktail. Viv had the New York Sour with Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, Cabernet Sauvignon, lemon, simple syrup, egg white and Angostura Bitters. Jill chose the Oleo Bitter with Campari, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Maraschino Liquor, Orange, Oleo Saccharum, egg white and soda.

Chez Muffy Autumn Dinner Menu

Chez Muffy Autumn Dinner Menu

Jill’s choices from the seasonal Autumn dinner menu started with the Sauteed Sea Scallop with Romano Beans, and Garden Cucumber. Her main course was the Atlantic Halibut with Dauphine Potatoes, Garden Turnips and a lemon ginger dressing. She completed her meal with the Chocolatte Souffle and fresh mint ice cream for dessert. To say that every single mouthful of food during the meal imbedded lifelong foodie memories indelibly on her brain is an understatement.

BTW: WJ did not take photos during the meal so not to disturb fellow dining patrons in the restaurant. The below food photos are courtesy of Chez Muffy in order to illustrate the beautiful food presentation.

Chez Muffy

At Chez Muffy seasonal ingredients sourced locally are on the menu.

Viv’s dinner was the exquisite 5-course Autumn tasting menu with the included wine pairings.

Starting with a perfectly crispy Zucchini Fritter with Eggplant Caviar, Sheep Yogurt, and Pickled Cucumber teased the taste buds of what was to follow. The delicate and sweet Gaspe Lobster Salad was brimful in the crunchy Potato Crisp Shell. A main course of succulent roasted Beef Tenderloin topped with Bleu d’ Elizabeth Cheese, placed atop Sweet Onion Puree, and accompanied by fondant Fingerling Potatoes was melt-in-the-mouth otherworldly. Fresh cheese topped with preserved peach was beautifully light, yet tangy and flavorful. The final course of a Buckwheat Cake with Quebec Apples, Sour Cream, Yogurt and Honey Ice Cream completed the tasting menu.

The generously poured wines for the pairing were excellent – wonderful accompaniments to each course. Chez Muffy’s Autumn Tasting Menu was a supreme hit with Viv!

Chez Muffy Autumn Tasting Menu

Chez Muffy Autumn Tasting Menu

Chef Julian Ouellet masterfully creates cuisine prepared with produce from the restaurant’s Ile d’Orleans’ organic garden. Further seasonal menu ingredients are locally or regionally produced.

There’s one secret ingredient Chef Julian evidently uses liberally in his cooking… Love! Bringing all the right ingredients together, along with passion, creativity, talented culinary skills, plus a heavy dose of love sets Chez Muffy at the top of the not-to-be-missed Quebec City foodie scene.

Chez Muffy Menu Examples

Chez Muffy Menu Examples

Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner are served at Chez Muffy. Dining here should not be missed when traveling solo, as a couple, with the family or a gaggle of gal pals. Every day should be a reason to celebrate and dine on the most delicious food in a unique and historic setting. WJ will definitely be taking our own advice with a future visit to Chez Muffy for another memorable dining experience.



Cyclo Services Quebec City

Cyclo Services Bike Rentals in Quebec City

Cyclo Services at 289, rue Saint-Paul offers a bike rental service where you can get out and explore the city, along the St. Lawrence River or surrounding area at your own pace. The owners are really lovely, know their bikes, and are super helpful in advising on a route to take based on your timing and ability.

There are a variety of bike options to suit anyone – novice to road racer. WJ took out electric-assisted bikes for a couple of hours and stayed on the level along the bike path next to the river. This was perfect to see the sights, have a change of scenery and get some exercise.

We’re so glad we opted for the electric bike version. We didn’t realize until we turned back how strong the wind was and it would have been exhausting peddling all the way back without assistance of the electric power.



Local Québec City Food Tour

Local Québec City Food Tour

Local Québec City Food Tour offers a few options for foodie lovers to explore while eating, drinking, and learning about the history and culture of the city. WJ took the 2.5-hour walking tour – the Saint-Roch Québec Evening Food and Drink Tour.

Five food tastings and three alcohol drink tastings were included. Taking us where the locals like to hang out and dine in the vibrant and trendy Saint-Roch neighborhood, we tasted authentic Neopolitan pizza, poutine, Quebec salami and cheese, salmon gravlax, artisan chocolate and locally-brewed beer.

Local Québec City Food Tour

Local Québec City Food Tour

This tour is a terrific opportunity to hang where the Quebecois do, and was informative thanks to the knowledgeable local guide.



Île d’Orléans Quebec Bus Tour

Quebec Bus Tour Île d’Orléans Taste Trail Tour

Québec Bus Tour has a small group tour to discover Île d’Orléans, the “kitchen garden” of Québec. Their Taste Trail Tour is perfect for a side trip out of the city and into the countryside to discover where many top restaurants source their menu ingredients.

The 3-hour tour with a driver/guide who was fluent in both French and English was an excellent option for us foodies to sample a variety of delightful specialty products grown and produced on Île d’Orléans.

Five stops along the route for tastings included an artisan chocolate shop, a winery where we sampled ice wine, a nougat shop, an apple cider store which also featured wine and pate, plus crème de cassis (blackcurrant) cordials, yams and products.



A cruise starting or ending in Quebec City is an excellent opportunity to experience the city and area. Try and book a cruise that offers an overnight stop, or at least gives more than twelve hours in the city.

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas in Quebec City

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas in Quebec City

The best way to thoroughly enjoy the local flavor Quebec City has to offer is to spend a few nights at a hotel. WJ highly recommends 4-star Hôtel Palace Royal which is situated in downtown Quebec City. With 234 rooms and suites, this hotel is just a few minutes walk outside of the city’s fortified walls, also within close proximity to walk to the Parliament Building and much more. The heated indoor swimming pool, and tropical garden area provide a relaxing respite within the hotel.

Hôtel Palace Royal

Hôtel Palace Royal – 4-star Quebec City upscale hotel

If you’re looking to stay at a luxury Relais & Chateaux property, be sure to consider Augerge Saint-Antoine. We say that if it’s good enough for the one and only Sir Paul, it’s where we want to stay on our next visit to Quebec City.

Auberge Saint-Antoine

Auberge Saint-Antoine Luxury Quebec City Hotel



Transportation options for getting to and from Quebec City include:

  • Cruise – Arrive, depart or just a spend the day in port via a cruise
  • Limousine – Transfers for the airport, cruise terminal, train station, hotels with Limousine A1
  • VIA Rail – WJ travelled from Quebec City to Montreal in about  3.5 hours. This is our preferred method of transportation between the two cities.
  • Drive – car rentals are readily available
  • Fly – Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) is located 15 km/9 miles west of downtown.



Quebec City Museums

Quebec City Museums


  • Spend the morning wandering the Old Town on foot
  • Lunch at Chez Boulay
  • Rent bikes from Cyclo Services and ride for a couple of hours along the St. Lawrence River (Tip: rent ebikes)
  • Evening guided walking food and drink tour with Local Quebec City Food Tour for a couple of hours
  • Enjoy the rest of your evening revisiting one of the foodie places you experienced on the food tour



  • Morning – take a half-day guided tour with Quebec Bus Tour of Île d’Orléans
  • Grab some poutine at Chic Shack
  • Visit Musee du Fort and see the presentation to get a good insight into the history of Quebec City and the numerous battles fought. Check the timetable for presentations in either English or French and buy tickets in advance (same day is usually possible) as it’s a small space.
  • Wander the city on foot for a couple of hours, and take the funicular to the Lower Old Town
  • Dinner at Le Clocher Penché Bistrot



  • Coffee and pastries at Paillard to start your day
  • Museum visit to Musee de la Civilisation in the Vieux-Port area. This museum is worthy of at least a couple of hours and offers an insight to Canadian and Quebec history and culture, First Nations, and other visiting exhibitions.
  • Dinner at Chez Muffy




Note: WAVEJourney were media guests during their September 2018 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada trip. All opinions and recommendations are based on WJ’s experiences during this time. Read the full disclosure statement to see that being media guests has no effect on reviews.


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