The 15 Prettiest Streets in Old Québec

Équipe édito
Editorial Team
Published on July 6, 2021
View of avenue Saint-Denis and its heritage houses with the Château Frontenac in the background.
Jeff Frenette Photography

With its French and British-style architecture, fortifications, stone buildings, and narrow cobblestone streets, Old Québec is a historic area that’s been recognized by UNESCO since 1985. During the summer, some of its streets are closed to car traffic on weekends, allowing pedestrians to take up all the space and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the terrace restaurants.

So put on your walking shoes, and take a deep dive into history. Here are the 15 prettiest streets in Québec City, each with its own unique charm:

  • 1

    Rue du Petit-Champlain

    At the foot of a cliff just below Château Frontenac, Rue du Petit‑Champlain is a narrow cobblestone street with colourful signs and quaint shops, making it the most photographed street in Québec City’s historic sector. The plunging view from the top of Escalier Casse‑Cou (“breakneck stairs”) is pretty spectacular. Magical in summer and in winter, this charming section of Old Québec is a must‑see!

  • 2

    Rue du Cul-de-Sac (a.k.a Umbrella Alley)

    This little street is a delightful surprise for passers-by, with rounded buildings and its famous decorative umbrellas strung up above in the summertime. Look up and you’ll see Château Frontenac perched atop the cliff. To capture the architectural style of the Petit-Champlain AND majestic Château Frontenac in the same shot, snap a few pictures from the corner of Rue Cul-de-Sac and Rue Notre-Dame.

  • 3

    Rue Sous-le-Fort

    The stone houses on this street are utterly romantic. There’s an incredible low-eye view of Château Frontenac from the corner of Rue Saint-Pierre. Take the time to explore all the nooks and crannies of this picturesque neighbourhood where every house has a story.

  • 4

    Rue du Sault-au-Matelot

    This semi‑pedestrian street connects the Petit‑Champlain to the Old Port by way of Place de la FAO on the corner of Rue Saint-Paul, where you’ll find immaculate old buildings that house art galleries and chic boutiques, as well as a gorgeous fountain that pays tribute to the role of the St. Lawrence River in Québec City’s history.

  • 5

    Rue Saint-Paul

    If you want to create a unique photo series, look to the windows adorning the antique shops and the rustic, distinctive buildings along this street.

  • 6

    Rue Sous-le-Cap

    This street running along Cap Diamant cliff dates back to the time of New France. The walkways running between buildings make this street totally unique. You’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into another world.

  • 7

    Côte du Colonel Dambourgès

    This paved, walled street connects the Old Port to Côte de la Canoterie, which runs from the Lower Town to the Upper Town. Day or night, in colour or black and white, Côte du Colonel Dambourgès is a real charmer.

  • 8

    Rue des Remparts

    With elegant historic homes on one side and the walls of the fortified Old City on the other, Rue des Remparts is perfect for a peaceful stroll or a restful bench stop as you look out across the Lower Town toward the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains. A few cannons still standing along the street reflect the city’s military past. See if you can spot the house of General Montcalm, who commanded the French army during the famous Battle of the Plains of Abraham? And don’t miss the residential streets running perpendicular to Rue des Remparts, especially Rue Ferland and Rue St-Flavien.

  • 9

    Rue Couillard

    The homes along Rue Couillard were first occupied by tradespeople. Gradually, artists moved in, followed by intellectuals who taught at Université Laval in the mid‑19th century. You’ll find a variety of styles, lines, shapes, and colours, as well as a little gem of a café: Chez Temporel—one of those well‑kept secrets we love to share! For the best angle, take a few steps up from Pub Saint-Patrick.

  • 10

    Rue Saint-Jean

    This popular shopping street is especially lively in the summer. Snap pics of it from atop Saint-Jean Gate or when it’s closed to traffic on summer days. On winter evenings, the skating rink and festive lights are simply magical!

  • 11

    Rue Donnacona

    If you like hobbit homes, head to 6 rue Donnacona. At a mere 3.7 metres, the façade is the smallest in North America! Next, stroll toward the covered entrance to École des Ursulines. Turn off onto Rue du Parloir and you’ll find a lovely row of houses with red doors.

  • 12

    Rue du Trésor

    Rue du Trésor is an alley that looks like an art gallery. If you’re here in the summer or the fall, don’t miss it! The best spot for a picture is from the slight incline at the corner of Rue Sainte-Anne.

  • 13

    Rue Sainte-Anne

    This cobblestone pedestrian street is bordered by inviting patios on one side and Holy Trinity Anglican Church on the other. For a whimsical memento of your stay, visit the talented caricature and portrait artists who set up along Rue Sainte-Anne near Rue du Trésor.

  • 14

    Rue Saint-Louis

    Keep your eyes peeled as you walk from the Saint-Louis Gate to Château Frontenac and you’ll see  picturesque buildings and restaurants with lush flowerboxes in the windows and brightly coloured shutters.

  • 15

    Avenue Saint-Denis

    The row of luxury homes along Avenue Saint-Denis is simply dreamy. For a beautiful shot of Vieux‑Québec, the St. Lawrence River, and the Laurentian Mountains in the distance, head up to Pierre Dugua de Mons Terrace.

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