Quebec City is well known for its historic buildings, excellent food, being the only walled city in North America and also the cycling routes that connect them.
Our group of cyclists decided to stay at the Auberge du Littoral basically because it was located on a major cycling route and had easy access to the old city. Another reason was that it provided free parking and a place to store out bicycles, seldom found in Old Quebec.
Cycling Ile d’Orleans
Our first cycling ride was to be on the Ile d’Orleans, the island just to the east of the city and providing an easy one day journey.
First you must drive across the bridge to the island and we stoped at the tourist office for some local maps although it is not hard to figure out the route without them. The tourist board people then directed us to a nearby parking lot where some other cyclists were already getting ready.
We started our ride with a slight downhill which had us passing a chocolate shop and with splendid views of Quebec City to our right, yes it was a photo opportunity.
We then looped around the western end of Ile d’Orleans and begin a gradual climb passing a few interesting homes topped with the traditional red steel roofs of the region. Continuing our journey we people out picking strawberries in the fields which must have been tough with the hot weather. There were the occasional fruit stands along the way which you would expect.
About 10 km into our ride there was a sharp descent into the town of Saint-Laurent. Taking a break we made a visit to the picturesque church. For the next 17 km the terrain was generally flat with the only constant being views of the St. Lawrence on our right side and those brightly coloured houses on the other. This is a popular route and we saw numerous cyclists along the way.
In the town of Saint-Jean local artists had displays in a park which we viewed and well a visiting a neighboring pastry shop. We had a small hill to climb when leaving this town but when reaching the top we did have some nice views of the east end of the island. After another 11 km we reached the quaint town of Saint-Francois where we looped around the end of the island.
Just past Saint-Francois we continued our ride up a small hill to the park on the right, the half way point on the ride. The park featured washrooms, picnic tables, a snack bar and a tall wooden tower which offered views of the Mont St. Anne ski resort and the St. Lawrence River.
After lunch we continued around the island’s eastern tip. There was a slight incline during which we passed fruit farms, some wineries, a few cheese stores and other food shops. Passing the tourist office, this time on our bicycles we completed the 67 km ride with a downhill. It is best to do this ride mid-week when there is less traffic.
Corridor des Cheminots & VeloPiste Jacques-Cartier
Our second ride was along the Corriodor des Cheminots bike path. During the the first 3 km of this route you are riding through a busy section of the city, although on a bike path. There are many traffic lights but as you proceed more to the northwest you begin a gentle climb along the now tree lined bike route.
This is a popular route so you can expect many other cyclists. Eventually after about 11 km you pass by the Native Centre at Wendake. The route continues the gentle climb for 22 km with the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier on your right.
The route continues as the VeloPiste Jacques-Cartier, part of the Verte Green bike route system. This is a 68 km bike path passing lakes and rivers as you head northwest.
We took a break (along with most other cyclists) at a train caboose after about 4 km, as there were washrooms, a water tap and picnic shelter. At this point the paved part of the path ended and there was a hard packed surface for the balance of the route.
Velo Route Cote de Beaupre
Head east from Quebec City on the Corridor du Littoral bike path. You will pass the amazing Montmorency Falls on your left. A little further and just past the bridge to IIe d’Orleans (Route Verte 5) continues on Avenue Royale.
This is a very narrow street although there was little traffic during our visit. What I did like was all the historic homes along the way until you reach Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. This is a major tourist site with many people visiting the historic shrine.
Continue along the route too the Mont-Sainte-Anne area before returning.
Corridor du Littoral
Heading west into Quebec City along this major bike path we came to the St. Charles River. At this point you need to decide whether to take a side-trip for about 9 km on both sides of the river with many historic buildings before returning to your original route.
The Corridor du Littoral route continues further along the St. Lawrence River and historic Lower town. I find it is best to explore both Lower & Upper Town on foot due to the crowds, cobbled pavement and steep hills. We walked the walls of the Old City, the Dufferin Promenade and visited some of the shops.
If you do continue along the cycling path you will soon get to the famous Plains of Abraham on your right, where the battle for the city was fought between General Wolfe and General Montcalm. There is now a bike route up to the heights with switch backs making the climb easier. You can then explore the park on your bike.
For more cycling opportunities in Canada click on the link.
A Quebec City cycling vacation is for anyone looking for short getaway with scenic bike paths, historical attractions and great food.