During the 17th century, Quebec City’s charming Old Port (Vieux-Port) was bustling with European vessels and crews offloading supplies to New France. Now thronged with passengers from incoming cruise ships, the area is filled with historic buildings occupied by art galleries, boutiques, and inviting French-influenced restaurants.
The Old Port area of Quebec City is among the city’s most atmospheric districts. Visitors arriving in the city by cruise will pass through here on their way from Lower Town to Upper Town, while those who arrive by other means may be drawn here to visit the Museum of Civilization (Musée de la Civilisation), the Old Port Market (Marché du Vieux-Port), or Place Royale and Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, one of the oldest churches in Quebec. Many walking, cycling, and scooter tours of the city cover Old Port, as do hop-on hop-off bus tours, which also venture to UNESCO World Heritage–listed Old Quebec.
Things to Know Before You Go
You can find plenty of outdoor seating along the Old Port waterfront.
Parts of the Old Port area, including the Museum of Civilization, are accessible to wheelchair users.
Wear sturdy walking shoes; some of the streets in this area are cobbled and uneven.
How to Get There
If you arrive in Quebec City by cruise ship, you’ll most likely disembark at Quebec City Old Port, which sits alongside the St. Lawrence River. Visitors coming by train will arrive at the Gare du Palais station, at the eastern border of the Old Port district. The number 11 bus connects Old Quebec to Old Port.
When to Get There
The Old Port area is busiest between May and October, when cruise ships dock here. Docking days vary according to schedules, but Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are typically busiest. For a quieter experience, go in winter when fewer tourists roam the atmospheric, snow-covered streets. Note that some stores and restaurants may be closed during the winter season.
The Old Port Quebec Market
Quebec City’s cuisine has a distinctive French influence, and—thanks to the fertile regions surrounding the city—an abundance of fresh, local produce. Take stock of Quebec’s food scene at the Old Port Market, where vendors sell farm-fresh produce trucked in from farms just outside the city. You can sample local cheese, charcuterie, maple syrup, and ice wine, and pick up locally grown produce at this year-round market.