Running while travelling is a favourite for me, but it’s a rare treat to run with a local who also happens to be a whiz kid in the knowledge of history and tourism. In Québec City, QC, adorable Dominic Menard is that rare guy—and he’s got a brand-new way to experience the capital of la belle province. It’s called Québec Jogging Tours. The service launched in May 2008, led by Menard and partner Martin Theriault. Turns out they love jog-touring, too, so they made it a business.
It goes like this: We trot to the highest point in town for an exquisite panorama of hilly ville de Québec. Menard hardly loses his breath, despite the short, steep climb, and explains that few travellers find this lofty viewpoint. This is the case at several stops along his tour route—because we’re more mobile than the average tour, we can quickly reach many special spots.
I’ve hardly caught my breath before we jog on to lesser-known trails: atop the Citadel ramparts, along the top of the old city walls, and into pockets of the city that were settled by the Scots and Irish (Who knew? Dominic does.).
Along his 6-km (3.7-mi) tour route (variations include 9 km and 11 km versions, in either English or French), Menard expertly explains obvious attractions, gives quick history lessons (we don’t want to lose our heart rate), and runs on. It’s obvious he loves sharing his sublime city while helping visitors work off some of its caloric wonders.
“We always include three sites,” he explains. “The Plains of Abraham, the Citadel and the St. Lawrence River.”
We carefully make our way to Québec’s lower town, avoiding the most touristy and trafficked streets. Instead we wind through tranquil residential back alleys, climbing about 61 m (200 ft) up and down different hills—locals shout encouragement—to return to our start point: Place d’Armes, a park in front of the famed Chateau Frontenac.
Six km of history have passed under my Nikes. Just as good, I’ve burned off about 600 calories of French food.
Note: Scheduled tours daily (seasonal until Oct. 31), from $30 per person for a group, $45 for singles. Private or specialized tours may be possible at other times. The run is relatively slow, but you should be fit enough to easily complete 6 km (3.7 mi) in about 60 minutes. Québec Jogging Tours will be expanding to Montréal, QC, with four different tours in the next few months.