|Chateau Frontenac in Old Town, Quebec City
on the bluffs
St Lawrence River
|Signs showing accessible entrance
|Bike lanes along
With careful route-planning and creativity, such as using bike lanes (the hacked up sidewalk curb cuts, while admirable, are steep and chunky), the city becomes even more accessible.
By far, the greatest attempt at uniting the upper and lower towns for the swarms of tourists of all physical capabilities is the existence of two contraptions between the two regions: the Old Quebec Funicular and the Flaubert Ascensor (elevator).
The funicular runs between Petit Champlain below and the Dufferin Terrace above. It is wheelchair accessible, as long as the wheelchair user follow the signs detouring to an accessible entrance below. On the lower end, there are cobblestone streets surrounding the entrance, but the upper end at the terrace is smooth and flat. The cost is free for wheelchair users, though there is no wheelchair access in winter months, and I have read accounts of wheelchair users being denied access, even in summer.
St Rochelle and
Upper St Jean Baptiste
|Rue St Joseph
in St Rochelle
|Best Western Hotel in
Rue St Joseph in
|St Rochelle neighborhood
|Upper St Jean Baptiste
I especially enjoyed people watching in upper St Jean Baptiste (not lower!), lower St Rochelle, and the gentrified Montcalm neighborhoods. For a truly Canadian (or, perhaps, Canadian tourist) option, there are several locations of Poutineville, where you can create and eat your own version of poutine. There are also many acclaimed restaurants — often away from the touristy areas.
The waterfront was flat and relatively smooth, with bike lanes leading to the views and ferries (although I couldn’t find any good restaurants there).
|Plains of Abraham
Also, the Plains of Abraham was a nice, big park with a fantastic river view and paved paths.
|After midnight in Old Town
Interestingly, I spent little time in the upper or lower Old Town. I loved the feel and the view when I rolled home from the chateau bar after midnight, and I would do that again. However, the daytime and evening hoards of tourists made it too crowded to be enjoyable. Most streets were paved, and sidewalks had curb cuts, but the crowds and crowded sidewalks made the Old Town my least favorite section.
The cobblestone streets, crowded sidewalks and bad touristy restaurants of Petit Champlain countered the quaint architecture of that section for me as well.
|Small musical stage in
Old Town for
Coincidentally, we happened to be there during the annual two-week Fest D’ete, a multi-stage music festival that brings in big name entertainers and large crowds. We watched one free concert and enjoyed the atmosphere, but tried to avoid the crowds. Regrettably, we missed the Museum of Civilization, which appeared to be interesting and accessible.
We met friends at the 1608 bar in the Chateau Frontenac in the Old Town. The hotel is a symbol of Quebec, so visiting it is kind of mandatory, and the hotel bar is accessible, but crowded. There is a ramp to get into the hotel and the women’s restroom has a large wheelchair-accessible stall.
|Old Town skyline from
Levis waterfront at sunset
Once in the park, however, you can view the falls from the (accessible) suspension bridge (wheelchairs should approach the bridge by going behind the back of the main building and then going down a gravel/dirt path for a bit). At the lower end of the falls, is a 3 mile out-and-back wheelchair-accessible boardwalk.
One of my persistent memories of Quebec City is the crosswalk buttons; I never did figure them out. Next time (and I hope there will be a next time), I want to understand the crosswalks and to visit the Museum of Civilization, and the Ile d’Orleans. And, of course, I want to eat more croissants, strawberries, and cheese.
Next stop Montreal…