Staircases of Quebec City

posted in: Blog, Canada, Quebec, Quebec City | 29
Breakneck Stairs

Quebec City is full of staircases. Quebec has a large cliff that separates two areas called Lower Town and Upper Town (one up above, and one down below). To travel between Lower Town and Upper Town, you had better put on your walking shoes and get ready to climb some stairs! There is one other option to transport yourself between the two spots, and that’s using the Funicular railway. I’ll give you an overview of the stairways of Quebec City that Justin and I encountered on our trip, starting with the Funicular.

Old Quebec Funicular

The Funicular is not a staircase, but it deserves some mention. It is a railway located in the Petit Champlain district that will transport you up the hill between Lower Town and Upper Town. Once you pay your fare of $2.25, you can hop in the car and go for a ride. It runs all day and night long, from 7:30am to midnight in the summer months. You can check out their website for more details. As you ride up or down the Funicular, you will be treated with great views of Old Quebec and the St. Lawrence River.

Getting into the Funicular


The Funicular originally opened in 1879, using the water ballast system of propulsion. It converted to using electricity in 1907. In 1945, a major fire destroyed the Funicular, but it was rebuilt in 1946. It has been open now for over 135 years.

We rode the Funicular once as we traveled towards Upper Town. For the rest of our time in Quebec City, we used our own legs and took the stairs! We actually came across quite a few staircases, each one unique in its own way.

Breakneck Stairs

The Breakneck Stairs (or Breakneck Steps) are Quebec’s oldest staircase, dating back to 1635. They were originally called the “Champlain Stairs”, “Beggars’ Stairs”, and “Lower Town Stairs”, but were renamed to Breakneck due to its steepness. The stairs have been renovated several times over the years. They are located directly beside the Funicular so you can choose to take the railway or take the stairs.

Lépine Stairs

We stumbled upon the Lepine Stairs while we were walking to the restaurant, Le Tier Temps. In between the highway overpass street art that we admired and the restaurant were the Lepine Stairs on Rue Saint-Vallier Est. This stairway was originally constructed out of wood in 1857, but was rebuilt from iron in 1883. They are named “Lépine” after a nearby funeral home. Urban legend has it that you used to be able to observe something strange while hiking up the stairs – corpses being washed outside at the back of the funeral home! But, who knows if it’s truth or myth.



The Lepine Stairs are one of the most decorative stairways that we had climbed in the city, as the wrought iron arches are decorated with pretty floral designs.

Governors’ Promenade

The Governors’ Promenade that connects the Plains of Abraham to the Dufferin Terrace is full of stairs. You can’t help but climb several staircases along this long wooden pathway. There are 309 stairs in total here, but they are stretched out along the full length of the boardwalk. Many people enjoy going for a jog here; we went for a leisurely walk and enjoyed the scenic views of the river. For more information, please check out our complete article with plenty of photos.

Escalier du Quai-du-roi

This quaint staircase, Escalier du Quai-du-roi, connects Boulevard Champlain with Rue du Petit Champlain. You can’t miss it while you’re exploring Quartier Petit Champlain. It looks so pretty between the old, stone buildings, all decorated with flowers.

Even when you’re not climbing stairs in Quebec, you can expect to walk up some very steep streets. You definitely will get your workout while you’re here! We didn’t get a chance to walk up and down all of the stairs – we’ll save some for our next visit. Some other notable staircases:

Cap-Blanc Stairs: Quebec’s longest staircase with 398 steps. It was constructed out of wood in 1868 and they have been rebuilt several times over the years. They connect the Plains of Abraham to Rue Champlain down below.

Faubourg Stairs: A beautiful staircase built out of wood in 1858, and rebuilt in iron in 1889. It is a three-level staircase with graceful wrought iron railings, complete with a view of the Saint-Roch district and the St. Lawrence River from the top.

Map of the Staircases in Quebec City



Export as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser
Quebec City Staircases

loading map - please wait...

Funicular: 48.216038, 16.378984
Breakneck Stairs: 46.812800, -71.203500
Lepine Stairs: 46.813382, -71.218619
Governors\' Promenade - Stairways: 46.807025, -71.205676
Escalier du Quai-du-Roi: 46.811378, -71.203312
Cap-Blanc Stairs: 46.803067, -71.212256
Faubourg Stairs: 46.811966, -71.223058
Escalier de la Pente-Douce : 46.802217, -71.243425
Escalier Joffre: 46.800990, -71.250316
Escalier des Franciscains : 46.806182, -71.234594
Escalier Victoria : 46.807218, -71.231256


29 Responses

  1. Ron | Active Planet Travels
    | Reply

    Quebec has quite the lovely selections of scenic staircases! lol I’d be walking around the town for days on end exploring the different back ways and having a field day taking pictures. 🙂
    Ron | Active Planet Travels recently posted…Fall Foliage Tour: The Ultimate Colorado Backcountry TripMy Profile

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      It was really fun discovering all of them! I didn’t really know about the staircases until we arrived, or else I would have tried to find the other ones that we missed! Well, there’s always next time!
      Lauren recently posted…Discover Ile d’Orleans, Quebec City’s CornucopiaMy Profile

  2. Samantha
    | Reply

    My that is a lot of stairs. I felt tired looking at the pictures haha! But that means that makes for some views along the way. Quebec looks like a lovely city to sightsee, I might need to add that to my Canada road trip..
    Samantha recently posted…A Great Way to See South Korea: Biking the Han River in SeoulMy Profile

  3. Sammi Wanderlustin'
    | Reply

    Awww how beautiful is Quebec 🙂
    Sammi Wanderlustin’ recently posted…The Beautiful Blue LagoonMy Profile

  4. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs
    | Reply

    Every single time I see another article about Quebec I make a mental note that it is a place worth visiting! Looks like a place I would enjoy!
    Marysia @ My Travel Affairs recently posted…Friday Lens Affair #92My Profile

  5. Megan Claire
    | Reply

    Very cool idea for a story! OMG my legs ached just looking at the Lepine Stairs!! Though the views from the top are obviously amazing!
    Megan Claire recently posted…Life as a Business Traveler – An Interview With “The Guy”My Profile

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Climbing Lepine stairs wasn’t too bad! It got bad when once we got to the top of the stairs, walking up the streets was a constant incline, so it kinda just kept going! But I was mostly too busy looking around at all of the cool buildings to notice!
      Lauren recently posted…Discover Ile d’Orleans, Quebec City’s CornucopiaMy Profile

  6. Well, you do need stairs to work out all that poutine, right? Stunning pics as usual guys, Quebec City looks fab!
    Margherita @The Crowded Planet recently posted…Visit Cremona, city of musicMy Profile

  7. christine
    | Reply

    Very cool! I never thought I’d want to climb stairs until now haha
    christine recently posted…Lights, Camera, Action! My TV & Movie Sites TourMy Profile

  8. […] 18th, 2014 | Awesome Stuff Quebec City is full of beautiful staircases to explore! justinpluslauren…. Share on TumblrjQuery(document).load(function(){ […]

  9. Corinne
    | Reply

    Oh how I love a funnicular!
    Corinne recently posted…Rendezvous with CatherineMy Profile

  10. Anda
    | Reply

    Wow, that is quite a work-out! I think I should visit Quebec for a few weeks to loose a few pounds… I’d like to have those staircases in California. Do you know that in Budapest Old Town they have some staircases like that and also a funicular? Beautiful photos, you’ve caught some good light.
    Anda recently posted…The Weekly Postcard: Pelisor Castle in Sinaia, RomaniaMy Profile

  11. What a fun place to people watch! I can’t even imagine how many people are around that The Funicular, it seems to have a really happening staircase!
    Adrian of Adrian’s Travel Tales recently posted…Blogger Interview: Diary of a Serial ExpatMy Profile

  12. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Lovely post and pics! I’d forgotten how many steep staircases there are in Quebec City! Definitely not a place for people with joint issues (and I’m not talking about the kind you smoke!)
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…travelling with culture in mindMy Profile

  13. SJ
    | Reply

    can I just take the funicular? Too many stairs for me, although they are very pretty!!
    SJ recently posted…Croatia travel guide tips: Croatia car rentalMy Profile

  14. Lesley Peterson
    | Reply

    There’s something very Parisian/Montmartre-ish about all the stairs. Love your photos!
    Lesley Peterson recently posted…Lucy the Elephant, America’s oldest roadside attractionMy Profile

  15. Miranda
    | Reply

    Great photos, what a workout to climb all those stairs! I really need to visit Quebec one day.
    Miranda recently posted…27 things to do before turning 27My Profile

  16. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    | Reply

    I didn’t know about the funicular, sounds like an awesome idea!!! 😀

  17. Adelina // Pack Me To
    | Reply

    Love these staircases and how each of them seem to have their own personalities. I definitely enjoyed the little streets all around the city. So quaint!
    Adelina // Pack Me To recently posted…A Day in the Hungarian Countryside – My Favourite Food MemoryMy Profile

  18. […] From here, you can take the Funicular car (or the stairs!) to the top of the escarpment. We took the Funicular on our first time there to enjoy the views of the river as we rode to the […]

  19. Railing
    | Reply

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this
    site. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well.
    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me
    to get my own, personal blog now 😉
    Railing recently posted…RailingMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge