“Funicular. Sure it’s a funny word, but it’s also a means of transportation that has been around for the past 150 years and can be found all over the globe. In old Quebec, the historic region of Quebec City, a funicular has been serving residents and tourists since 1879. The main purpose of this inclined elevator system is for folks to easily maneuver between its two towns—Basse-Ville (Lower Town) and Haute-Ville (Higher Town).
It didn’t take my wife and me long to spy the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec (Old Quebec Funicular) on the first day of our visit to the French-speaking city on the St. Lawrence River. At first glance, the structure appears to be an amusement park ride meets water slide. Intrigued, we bypassed the oddity and opted to climb up and down the wealth of steps—there are 30 steps of stairs—between the two villages. But curiosity won out on day two.
The access point to this particular funicular is inside what looks like a shop, with little signage alerting us to the fact. We walked around for a bit until discovering the not-so-secret entrance inside the Louis Jolliet House, circa 1683. We paid $3.50 apiece (American) for a one-way ride.
The entire trip took less than three minutes, but well worth it. The Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec travels 210 feet and offers a unique view of the 400-year-old city, rich with history and charm.
A true funicular uses a two car system; one cable car goes up while the other comes down, creating a counterbalance. A major mishap in the 1990s caused the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec to be modernized with each passenger car operating independently, but the thrill is still the same.”