Quebec City Gay Saunas, Sex Clubs, and Bathhouses Guide

••• In the lobby of Sauna Bloc 225, set along popular Rue Saint-Jean, you'll find a wide selection of lubes, safer-sex supplies, erotica, and toys. photo by Andrew Collins

As is not exactly uncommon in Canadian metropolises, Quebec City has a good selection of gay bathhouses - as many, in fact, as there are gay bars. All three of the city's gay saunas are well-located, too, in appealing neighborhoods that aren't far from attractions and hotels. One of these, SaunaHippocampe, is actually attached to a very nice gay and lesbian accommodation, Hotel Hippocampe - the latter has an entirely separate entrance from the sauna and is a very nice place to stay, whether or not you plan to use the bathhouse facilities, as it's just within the historic walls of the Old City and just a few blocks from the fun restaurants, boutiques, and shops along Rue Saint-Jean.

Sauna Hippocampe (31 Rue McMahon, across from Artillery Park and 3 blocks north of Rue Saint-Jean via Rue d'Auteuil, 418-692-1521) might just be the best option if you're new to town, as the staff here is friendly and helpful, conversant in French and English, and happy to answer questions and show visitors around the clean, smartly decorated facility. Sauna Hippocampe, which accepts all major credit cards, has a well-designed website, separate from the aforementioned Hotel Hippocampe, and on ​it you'll find English-language details about all of the amenities and facilities here: the steam room, solarium, Jacuzzi, sauna, different types of chambers (e.g., "relaxation compartments," the deluxe ones with video monitors for watching porn as well as air-conditioning).

A big advantage to Hippocampe is that if you're staying in the adjacent hotel, you can play here but still have a quiet, tasteful, and comfortable place to sleep at night. And on those icy Quebec winter nights, it's also handy being able to get from your hotel room to a sauna without braving the elements.

All well-located, set inside a handsome Victorian house (with a distinctive central cupola on the roof) at the end of gay-popular Rue Saint-Jean, Sauna Bloc 225 (221 Rue Saint-Jean, 418-523-2562) is a spacious facility with extensive areas for cruising and schmoozing. It's somewhat more popular with locals and French-speaking visitors, so if you speak only English you may run into more language barriers here, but the staff is friendly, and there's an extensive sex shop on the ground floor well-stocked with safe-sex supplies, toys, porn, and such.

This club has three floors of play areas as well as a central atrium with skylights. Amenities include a labyrinth, glory hole maze, wet and dry saunas, hot tub, a cafe with snacks and drinks, and private chambers. There's also a separate gay bar, with its own exterior entrance and patio, on the ground floor called Club ForHom (418-522-4918), which hosts a variety of events throughout each month.

Of the three gay sex spots in Quebec City, Le Sauna Backboys (264 de la Couronne, 418-521-6686) is probably the most locals' oriented, as it's a bit farther from the touristy areas, down the hill from Rue Saint-Jean in the up-and-coming but more workaday Saint-Roche District. Near the University of Quebec and in an increasingly trendy area, the crowd here can vary a lot in age and appearance, from students to more mature guys. Like the others, it's open 24/7 and in a safe, visible location. The interior is attractive and well-kept, painted in Mediterranean colors and with a nice lounge that's warmed by a fireplace in winter.

There's a tanning area, dry and wet saunas, lockers and chambers, and all the usual services.