Old Québec City, QC, Canada

You will be thrilled to visit Old Québec City. Vieux-Québec was founded in 1608 and became the epicenter for New France. The residents have proudly heralded their French origin ever since. This walled-in city is the only one on the continent north of Mexico. UNESCO has declared all of Old Québec City as a World Heritage Site. Walk along the cobblestone streets of Lower and Upper Towns. Explore the historic treasures. Be prepared to be amazed.

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1 Ariel View of Old Québec City, Canada

Old Québec City (Vieux-Québec) is among the most charming destinations to visit in North America. This area was first explored by Frenchman Jacques Cartier in 1535/1536. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain created a settlement here along the Saint Lawrence River. His fur-trading post grew into the epicenter for New France until the British conquest in 1759. The city remains predominantly French in culture, language and pride. The walled-in Historic District is small – less than one square mile – yet so filled with rich history it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy exploring the Upper and Lower Towns of Old Québec City.

Boulevard Honoré-Mercier & Rue Dauphine, Québec, QC G1R 4X5, Canada
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2 Porte Saint-Louis in Ramparts of Old Québec City, Canada

Old Québec has the distinction of being the only surviving walled city in North America above Mexico. The fortifications were constructed first by the French and later the British from 1608 until 1871. At the peak, there were six entrances through the defenses. Porte Saint-Louis is one of two built in 1693, making them the oldest. This gate was torn down and rebuilt twice. The current version was erected in 1880. Porte St. Louis is the closest portal to the Citadel.

116-118 Rue Saint Louis, Québec, QC G1R 3Z7, Canada
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3 Aerial View of La Citadelle in Old Québec City, Canada

The French built successive Saint-Louis Forts overlooking the Saint Lawrence River in 1620, 1648 and 1723. They also built a wall encircling the city in the late 17th century. These defenses proved inadequate against the British during the Seven Years’ War in 1759. After the War of 1812, the British decided to build the existing star-shaped citadel. The fortress was designed by Lieutenant Colonel Elias Walker Durnford. La Citadelle de Québec was finished in 1850. This National Historic Site of Canada consists of 24 structures. One of them is the residence for the governor general of Canada. Others are used by the Royal 22nd Regiment, an infantry battalion of the Canadian Armed Forces. Many of the buildings are open to the public.

1 Côte de la Citadelle, Québec, QC G1R 3R2, Canada
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4 Gazebo on Governors’ Promenade in Old Québec City, Canada

Your tour of Old Québec City begins along the southwest wall of La Citadelle. Here you will discover Governors’ Promenade, built in 1960. The elevated boardwalk connects the Plains of Abraham (described in the Encircle Québec City guide) with the famous Dufferin Terrace. Governors’ Walkway is short – about 2,150 feet or .4 miles – yet has 310 steps. You are advised to start at this gazebo and walk down rather than up. Let the scenery and not the stairs make you breathless.

Promenade des Gouverneurs, Québec, QC G1K 4J2, Canada
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5 Saint Lawrence River from Governors’ Promenade in Old Québec City, Canada

Governors’ Promenade is perched along Cap Diamant, the city’s highest cliff at 330 feet. This elevation affords a stunning panorama of the Saint Lawrence River, the 310 mile nexus between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Linger while watching ships sail in and out of Port de Québec. It is Canada’s oldest port and second busiest. In the background is Lévis. The city has a population of about 145,000 residents.

Promenade des Gouverneurs, Québec, QC G1K 4J2, Canada
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6 Citadel Bastions along Governors’ Promenade in Old Québec City, Canada

Governors’ Promenade is at the base of La Citadelle’s stone curtain walls. You will be humbled by their enormity. From Cap Diamant, you will first encounter the Prince of Wales Bastion. This section featured a 13.25 ton cannon. Next is this Mann Bastion, built in 1829. Further along is Cap Diamant Redoubt. Constructed in the late 17th century, this oldest section was a menacing platform for eight cannons. Finally, in the corner, is the King’s Bastion from 1821. Positioned here is a ten ton cannon named Rachel. She was capable of hitting a ship in the river up to 1.5 miles away.

Promenade des Gouverneurs, Québec, QC G1K 4J2, Canada
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7 Descending Governors’ Promenade in Old Québec City, Canada

At the end of Governors’ Promenade is a long and steep staircase ending at Terrasse Dufferin. Fortunately, there are viewing platforms along the way. Unfortunately, this is not handicap friendly. Notice the cruise ships in the background. Québec City has become increasingly popular as a port of call, especially in the autumn when the foliage is a spectrum of vibrant colors. About 250,000 passengers arrive annually aboard over 150 cruise ships.

Promenade des Gouverneurs, Québec, QC G1K 4J2, Canada
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8 Dufferin Terrace in Old Québec City, Canada

You have not visited Old Québec City unless you have strolled the quarter mile of Terrasse Dufferin. This is a magnet for tourists. The wooden boardwalk was initiated after a devasting fire in 1834 destroyed the governor’s residence called Chateau St. Louis. The promenade was built in three phases between 1838 and 1879. Its namesake is Frederick Temple Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. Lord Dufferin was governor general of Canada from 1872 until 1879. In the wintertime, this section is transformed into Les Glissades de la Terrasse, a giant toboggan slide.

Terrasse Dufferin, Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 5J5, Canada
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9 Kiosks on Dufferin Terrace in Old Québec City, Canada

Dufferin Terrace was designed for leisure. There are countless benches positioned on both sides of the boardwalk. These are perfect positions for people watching. But the best seats are standing in one of six kiosks. These gazebos overlook Lower Town and the Saint Lawrence River. The kiosks are named after three former governor generals (Frontenac, Dufferin and Lorne), the first bishop of the Archdiocese of Québec (Plessis), one queen (Victoria) and her daughter (Princess Louise, who was married to Lorne).

Terrasse Dufferin, Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 5J5, Canada
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10 Château Frontenac on Dufferin Terrace in Old Québec City, Canada

The most photographed hotel in Canada, and perhaps North America, is the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac on Dufferin Terrace. The project was commissioned by Canadian Pacific Railway, designed by Bruce Price and opened in 1893. An addition in 1924 expanded the hotel to 262 feet tall and 18 stories. The grandiose façade epitomizes the Châteauesque style. The notable features include towers, turrets, dormers and plunging green rooflines. This set the standard for other grand railway hotels built across Canada until the early 20th century. The hotel’s namesake is Louis Frontenac, a two-time governor general of New France during the late 17th century. Château Frontenac became part of the Fairmont Hotels in 2001 after a merger with Canadian Pacific Hotels.

1 Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 4P5, Canada
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11 Samuel de Champlain Monument in Old Québec City, Canada

At the north end of Dufferion Terrace and facing Château Frontenac is a 52 foot tribute to Samuel de Champlain. The French navigator founded Quebec on July 3, 1608. The bronze statue of the Father of New France was sculpted by Paul Chevré in 1898. The dome crowns the Louis S. St. Laurent Building. The namesake was a former Canadian prime minister. This was the main post office when it opened in 1873. At the base of the building is Le Musée du Fort. The museum traces the city’s history. The green and white striped canopy is the Frontenac Kiosk. This is an access point to the Saint Louis Forts and Châteaux National Historic Site. The archeological ruins contain sections of the first four forts built to defend the city during the 17th century.

Monument Samuel-De Champlain, Escalier Frontenac, Québec, QC G1R 4S7, Canada
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12 Tourist Information Centre in Old Québec City, Canada

Old Québec City is so compact it is impossible to get lost. For a perfect day, simply wander the streets of Upper and Lower Towns while enjoying the sites and ambiance. If you do need help or want to arrange a guided tour, then head for this Tourist Information Centre on Rue Sainte-Anne. Centre Infotouriste de Québec is located a half block north of Château Frontenac.

12 Rue Sainte-Anne, Québec, QC G1R 3X2, Canada
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13 Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Old Québec City, Canada

You are admiring the first Anglican cathedral built outside of Great Britain. The project was sponsored by King George III. Its Palladian style was popular in British colonies when the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was consecrated in 1804. The simple yet elegant façade was inspired by St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Inside the sleek tower are eight bells weighing from 646 to 1,852 pounds. Eight people are required to operate the change-ringing bells in unison. Holy Trinity is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec.

31 Rue des Jardins, Québec, QC G1R 3Y9, Canada
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14 Monument to Religious Teaching Communities in Old Québec City, Canada

Marie of the Incarnation was the first Catholic nun to arrive in Québec in 1639. Among her many accomplishments, she founded the Ursuline Order in Canada and the first girl’s school in North America. She was canonized as a saint in 2014. In 1997, on the 325th anniversary of her death, a bronze sculpture by Jules Lasalle was erected in a small square named Place des Tourangelles. Monument to Religious Teaching Communities is a tribute to all of the dedicated people who followed Marie’s example by educating generations of Québec’s youth. The outstretched hand holding a leaf rests upon a stack of books.

36 Rue des Jardins, Québec, QC G1R 4L5, Canada
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15 Former Palace of Justice in Old Québec City, Canada

Three successive courthouses were built on this site in 1651, 1804 and the current Gérard D. Levesque Building in 1887. The Québec Court House was better known as the Palais de Justice de Québec while courts were in session until 1983. The clock tower is the most impressive element of the Second Empire design by Eugène-Étienne Taché. Now, this National Historic Site of Canada offices the Ministry of Finance.

12 Rue Saint-Louis, Québec, QC G1R 5L3, Canada
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16 Rue Saint-Louis in Old Québec City, Canada

Rue Saint-Louis is one of Québec’s oldest streets. There is plenty to see while walking the few blocks between Dufferin Terrace and the Parliament Building. Across from Château Frontenac is Place d’Armes. Originally called Grand Square, this was the site for military exercises beginning in the mid-17th century. Positioned here is the Monument to the Faith (Monument de la Foi). On the far right is the former Palace of Justice. Just beyond the flags is Maison Jacquet, the city’s oldest building from 1676 (now the Aux Anciens Canadiens restaurant). You will also find a gallery devoted to aboriginal artists (Galerie Art Inuit Brousseau). Nearby is the Ursulines Museum showcasing artifacts from the earliest teachers of girls in North America (1639). They also display religious paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. And do not miss the elm with a cannonball lodged deep within its tree trunk.

42 Rue Saint-Louis, Québec, QC G1R 3Z1, Canada
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17 Montcalm Palace in Old Québec City, Canada

During the depths of the Great Depression, the city constructed an Art Deco building initially named Monument National. The multi-purpose structure housed offices, a swimming pool and a concert hall. Since then, the House of Music has evolved considerably. Palais Montcalm offers several venues for the performing arts including the Raoul-Jobin Room (concert hall), the Youville Room (theater) and the Gallery (art exhibition). Montcalm Palace is also home to the National Opera of Québec and Les Violons du Roy (chamber orchestra).

995 Place d'Youville, Québec, QC G1R 3P1, Canada
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18 Porte Kent in Ramparts of Old Québec City, Canada

Porte Kent was constructed in 1879. This qualifies as the youngest of the gates through the Ramparts of Québec City. The namesake is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767 – 1820) and the son of King George III. He was commander-in-chief of British forces in the Maritime Provinces of North America. For his exemplary service, he is often called the “Father of the Canadian Crown.” Perhaps more importantly, the duke was the father of Queen Victoria.

40 Rue Dauphine, Québec, QC, Canada
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19 Jesuit Chapel in Old Québec City, Canada

The first missionaries arrived from Paris to the fledging settlement at Port-Royal in 1611. The Jesuit’s goal to convert Indigenous people to the Catholic faith was tumultuous yet gradually successful. In 1773, the Society of Jesus was band worldwide by papal degree. Despite this, the British allowed the Jesuits to continue in Québec yet allowed no new members. The last Jesuit died in 1880. After the religious order was reinstated by Pope VII in 1814, plans were drawn by François Baillairgé to create a new place of worship. Chapelle des Jésuites was finished in 1820. The humble stone church faces Porte Saint-Jean within the Historic District.

20 Rue Dauphine, Québec, QC G1R 3W8, Canada
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20 Le Capitole in Old Québec City, Canada

An architectural jewel of Québec City adorns a square named Place D’Youville adjacent to Porte Saint-Jean. The Auditorium of Québec opened in 1903 as a venue for concerts, plays and vaudeville shows. 25 years later, it was modified to screen silent movies and later talkies. In 1930, the name was changed to The Capitol. This was the focal point for entertainment for the next several decades. Le Capitole staged a long list of famous entertainers. Many influential guests attended including Princess Elizabeth of York six months before she became queen. The audiences began to fade away in the 1960s and 1970s until the theater closed in 1981. A decade later, the property was reborn as a boutique hotel (Hôtel du Capitole), an Italian eatery (Ristorante Il Teatro) and a modernized hall for concerts and musicals.

972 Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1R5, Canada
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21 Porte Saint-Jean in Ramparts of Old Québec City, Canada

Originally built in 1693, Porte Saint-Jean shares the distinction of being the oldest gate in the Ramparts of Québec City. Oddly, it also is the youngest in terms of its reconstruction date of 1939. You will thoroughly enjoy walking along the elevated ramparts and peering through the crenels for changing views of Vieux-Québec. However, you better be wearing comfortable shoes because the wall is about 2.9 miles long. The fortifications are a National Historic Site of Canada. Alternatively, go through Saint-Jean Gate heading east.

979 Rue Saint-Jean #967, Québec, QC G1R 5C2, Canada
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22 Rue Saint-Jean in Old Québec City, Canada

On the other side of Saint-Jean Gate is the continuation of a street by the name. These few blocks of Rue Saint-Jean date from the 17th century. During the summer, traffic is blocked off. This allows for an unencumbered exploration of boutique shops, marvelous eateries, bustling taverns and historic structures.

972 Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1R5, Canada
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23 Maison Louis-Latouche in Old Québec City, Canada

Québec has done an excellent job of preserving and often repurposing its old buildings in Vieux-Québec. Most of them have a plaque describing their history. Unfortunately, the words are in French. But even if you are not bilingual, you can still get a sense of who lived, worked or worshipped at a place you are admiring. An example is this stone building with a red roof and dormers. A master builder named Louis Latouche built this in 1825 as his residence. After nearly 50 years, judge Henri-Thomas Taschereau purchased the property. In 1895, it was acquired by the Babin family. Today, the former Maison Louis-Latouche is a French bistro named L’Entrecôte Saint-Jean.

1080 Rue Saint-Jean, Québec, QC G1R 1S4, Canada
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24 Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Old Québec City, Canada

Excellence in performing arts requires talent, passion and years of training. Thankfully, there is a network of nine music and drama conservatories in Montreal and Québec dedicated to this mission. This is one of four facilities for the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Québec. Inside is a 150 seat theatre designed for student productions. The Neoclassical building by architect George Blaiklock was the Trinity Chapel of Ease when it was opened in 1824.

13 Rue Saint-Stanislas, Québec, QC G1R 4G7, Canada
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25 Hôtel-Dieu de Québec in Old Québec City, Canada

In 1639, three French nuns arrived in Québec with the purpose of establishing Hôtel-Dieu of Precious-Blood, the first hospital north of Mexico. The Augustines of the Mercy of Jesus also opened a monastery here and five more across Québec. The Hospitaller Sisters obviously did a marvelous job of establishing roots in the community because the teaching hospital is still thriving. It is affiliated with Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec. CHUQ has over 1,500 medical professionals and is the city’s largest employer. The structures within Hôtel-Dieu de Québec range in age from 1695 through 2001. The complex is listed as a National Historic Site of Canada.

11 Côte du Palais, Québec, QC G1R 2J6, Canada
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26 St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Old Québec City, Canada

The 78th Fraser Highlanders was a regiment of the British infantry from Inverness, Scotland. The two battalions fought in the Seven Years’ War (1756 to 1763) and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. After the victory in Québec City, the soldiers formed a Church of Scotland congregation. A half century would pass before they had their first church. It was consecrated in 1810 on the feast day of Saint Andrew. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is the oldest English-speaking church of Scottish origin in Canada.

5 Rue Cook, Québec, QC G1R 3X8, Canada
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27 Price Building in Old Québec City, Canada

This handsome, 269 foot Art Deco tower was designed as the headquarters for Price Brothers Limited, a Canadian lumber company. The cornerstone for this first (and only) high-rise within the Historic District of Québec City was laid on October 29, 1929. This was Black Tuesday, the day of the stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression. Timing is everything. Within a year, the family company was near bankruptcy and forced to sell. Since then, Édifice Price has had several commercial tenants. Two floors near the top are the residence of the premier of Québec. There is now a city law in place forbidding any new construction within Vieux-Québec (Old Québec City) above 65 feet.

65 Rue Sainte-Anne, Québec, QC G1R 3
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28 Monument to Teaching Brothers in Old Québec City, Canada

Since the founding of Québec Province, there have been 11 communities of Christian brothers who have made a significant contribution to educating Canadian residents. A tribute to these dedicated religious orders was erected at City Hall in 2000. The Monument to Teaching Brothers was created by artist Jules Lasalle. The ensemble titled L’Envol consists of several granite blocks with different symbolism. This face represents all of the youth who have been educated.

50-80 Rue Sainte-Anne, Québec, QC G1R 5M1, Canada
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29 City Hall in Old Québec City, Canada

In 1634, Jesuit College (Collège des Jésuites) was founded on the hill overlooking Rue des Jardins. After the British forced the secondary school to close in 1759, the property was used as a military barracks. In 1878, the structure was demolished to make way for the new City Hall. Hôtel de Ville de Québec opened in 1896. The National Historic Site of Canada still houses the mayor and the 21 representatives of the Québec City Council.

2 Rue des Jardins, Québec, QC G1R 4S9, Canada
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30 When to Visit Old Québec City, Canada

Summertime is the peak tourism season in Québec City. The average highs are very comfortable in the mid-70s °F. The daily lows drop by about 20 degrees, often requiring a sweater or light jacket. Another popular time is mid-September until mid-October. This is when people hope to arrive during the peak of fall colors. The winter months are best reserved for hearty Quebecers. Temperatures are bitter for weeks at a time. The wind chill makes it feel much colder. And about 124 inches of snow falls from November until early May. This snowfall qualifies Québec City as the fifth snowiest major city in the world.

6 Côte de la Fabrique, Québec, QC G1R 3V7, Canada
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31 Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral in Old Québec City, Canada

Samuel de Champlain, the city’s founder, had a chapel built here in 1633. It was replaced 14 years later by Notre-Dame de la Paix, the first stone church in colonial Québec. In 1674, it became a cathedral. After the building was destroyed by the British in 1759, the current Neoclassical-style church opened in 1843. In 1984, Pope John II gave Our Lady of Québec City the status of a minor basilica. This was the first one in North America. Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral is a National Historic Site of Canada.

16 Rue De Buade, Québec, QC G1R 4A1, Canada
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32 Seminary of Québec Former Chapel in Old Québec City, Canada

The outer chapel at the Seminary of Québec was built in 1752, destroyed by fire in 1888 and reconstructed in 1890. For a period of time, some of the remains of Saint François de Laval – the seminary’s founder – were interred here before being moved to the cathedral in 1992. The following year, the chapel was unsanctified and renamed the François-Ranvoyzé Building. It is now part of Musée de l’Amérique francophone (Museum of French America) operated by Musée de la civilization. La chapelle du Musée is available for special events rentals.

2 Côte de la Fabrique, Québec, QC G1R 3V6, Canada
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33 Seminary of Québec in Old Québec City, Canada

In 1658, François de Laval was appointed as Vicar Apostolic of Québec. His mission was to be the colony’s religious leader and convert Indigenous people to Catholicism. To accomplish these goals, he needed to train missionary priests. So, in 1663, he founded the Grand Séminaire. His early success led to his appointment as the first bishop of Québec and New France in 1674. François de Laval was later declared a saint. He is also considered the father of the Canadian Catholic church. The Seminary of Quebec still operates as a vocational and religious training institute. The most impressive building in the complex is the Camille-Roy Building, constructed in 1855.

1 Rue des Remparts, Québec, QC G1R 4R7, Canada
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34 Catholic Archdiocese of Québec in Old Québec City, Canada

The Recollects were the first Catholic missionaries to accompany Samuel de Champlain to Québec City in 1615. The Jesuits arrived a decade later. Both religious groups were expelled in 1629 by the British. Despite this setback, an apostolic vicariate was formed in the fledgling territory in 1658. Fifteen years later, it was declared as the diocese of New France by Pope Clement X. This event was historically significant as the first Roman Catholic diocese in the New World north of Mexico. Today, the area served by the Archdiocese of Québec is Québec City. Given the French origin of the province of Quebec, it is not surprising to learn 75% of Quebecers identify with the Catholic religion.

16 Rue De Buade, Québec, QC G1R 4A1, Canada
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35 Cannons at Montmorency Park in Old Québec City, Canada

Lower Canada was a province established by the British in 1791 until dissolved by the Union Act of 1840. Québec City was the capital. During this period, a governor’s office (former Episcopal palace) and parliament buildings were on this bluff overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. The cliff is called Côte de la Montagne meaning Mountain Coast. After both structures were destroyed by fire, the property became Parc Montmorency. The tree-lined park is small yet restful. The five cannons pointing over the old defensive walls are part of the Fortifications of Québec National Historic Site. This park is not to be confused with Montmorency Falls located about 7.5 miles away from Old Québec City.

Côte de la Montagne Streets, Québec, QC G1K 4E4, Canada
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36 Breakneck Stairs in Quartier Petit Champlain in Old Québec City, Canada

Below Cap Diamant, the cliff where Old Québec is located, is Lower Town (Basse-Ville in French). A must-see highlight is Quartier du Petit Champlain. This early 17th century neighborhood is considered to be the oldest commercial zone in North America. Since 1635, the primary access has been via Breakneck Stairs. As the name implies, Escalier casse-cou is very steep. Navigating your way along 59 steps is compounded by throngs of tourists.

5 Escalier Casse-Cou, Québec, QC G1K 9L9, Canada
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37 Funicular in Quartier Petit Champlain in Old Québec City, Canada

Is there an easier way to get from Dufferin Terrace in Upper Town down to Petit-Champlain? Yes. Hop aboard the Old Québec Funicular. While the 1879 railway covers a distance of 210 feet, you will be treated to wonderful views of Basse-Ville and the Saint Lawrence River. You will exit at the former home of Louis Jolliet built in 1683. This French-Canadian explorer, along with Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, was the first to map the upper Mississippi River.

16 Rue du Petit Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 4H4, Canada
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38 Rue du Petit-Champlain of Old Québec City, Canada

Walking along Rue du Petit-Champlain (Little Champlain Street) is like stepping back into New France when this was the second French settlement in Canada. During the early 17th century, this was a dirt path leading from the harbor. The narrow street evolved into homes for shipbuilders, port workers and fishermen during the 1700s and into the 19th century. After a period of decay in the first half of the 20th century, the cobblestone, pedestrian-only walkway has become an array of boutique shops, restaurants and charm. But this is more than a popular tourist attraction. The merchants here are especially passionate because they are part of a cooperative. Their contractual mission is to preserve Quartier Petit Champlain as an authentic, cultural experience.

98 Rue du Petit Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 4H4, Canada
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39 Petit-Champlain Mural in Quartier Petit Champlain in Old Québec City, Canada

This 900 square foot mural portrays early life in Quartier Petit Champlain and the Old Port. Among the citizens shown in this trompe l’oeil (three-dimensional) artwork are ship builders, a sail repairer and a woman watching for the safe return of her sailor husband. Also depicted is a crowded tavern and children at play. Historical figures include Lord Nelson, the British Royal Navy officer who won several sea battles during the Napoleonic Wars. Pointing to the map is Captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, the explorer who claimed the Artic for Canada. In the lower right corner is Franciscan missionary Father Frederic Jansoone. Another wonderful mural you will want to admire is La Fresque des Québécois near Place-Royal.

102 Rue du Petit Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 4H4, Canada
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40 Boulevard Champlain in Old Québec City, Canada

Rue du Petit-Champlain ends at Boulevard Champlain. From here, you get a great perspective of the height of Upper Town. Notice the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. You are now walking in the footsteps of the earliest settlers of New France. The river’s edge is a short distance away. If you get ambitious, there is a bike/pedestrian path extending for 7.75 miles to Pierre-Laporte Bridge. The second half of your journey, starting at Côte de Sillery, is called Promenade Samuel-De Champlain.

56 Boulevard Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 4H7, Canada
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41 Umbrella Alley in Old Québec City, Canada

Rue du Cul-de-Sac is colloquially called Umbrella Alley. One look at the colorful umbrellas suspended over the opening makes the name clear. Beginning in the 17th century, this was Cul-de-Sac Harbor, the heart of the New France port. The short, crescent-shaped street ends at Rue Notre-Dame. This leads to Place-Royal. On the right is the former home and warehouse of sea merchant Jean-Baptiste Chevalier. Maison Chevalier was built in 1752. Today, it is part of Musée de la civilization.

21-5 Rue du Cul-de-Sac, Québec, QC G1K 4H6, Canada
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42 Royal Battery in Old Québec City, Canada

In 1690, the British assaulted the French colonists for three days during the Battle of Québec. The attack was repelled. Afterwards, Louis Frontenac, then governor of New France, determined the city’s fortifications and batteries were insufficient. He ordered a new bastion to better protect Place-Royal. Batterie Royale was finished a year later. These guns were no match for the British when they successfully struck again during the Québec Siege of 1759. Over time, Royal Battery disappeared beneath new construction in Lower Town. The defensive walls and guns were restored during the mid-1970s.

5 Rue du Marché-Champlain, Québec, QC G1K 4G6, Canada
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43 Québec-Lévis Ferry in Old Québec City, Canada

A fun and inexpensive way to see Québec City is aboard the Québec-Lévis Ferry. The terminal named Gare Fluviale de Québec is across the street from the Royal Battery. The ride across the Saint Lawrence River is about 12 minutes. This is plenty of time to capture great photos of Lower and Upper Town, especially at night. After a brief exploration of Lévis’ waterfront, hop back on the ferry for the return trip.

10 Rue des Traversiers, Québec, QC G1K 8L8, Canada
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44 Place-Royale in Old Québec City, Canada

On June 3, 1608, Samuel de Champlain landed here and planted a fleur-de-lys flag for New France. Before the devastating winter set in, he and his men built wooden structures to create a fur trading post. He called the settlement Habitation de Québec. This is the birthplace of Québec City. The cobblestone square is small yet contains the most 17th and 18th century buildings in North America. Many of them were built after a fire in 1682. On the left is a bust of Louis XIV (a 1931 replica). The King of France financed Champlain’s expedition. When the sculpture arrived in 1686, the marketplace was renamed Place-Royale. Among the historical gems here is the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires. Our Lady of Victories church was founded in 1687, finished in 1723 and rebuilt in 1816 after being destroyed by the British in 1759.

3 Place Royale, Québec, QC G1K 4G3, Canada
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45 Museum of Civilization in Old Québec City, Canada

Musée de la civilisation à Québec is the most visited museum in the city. And for countless good reasons. The innovative and often interactive exhibits showcase the culture and history of Québec. Included are displays about 11 Aboriginal nations dating back to ancient times. You will learn how Québec became the earliest French settlement in North America. Then, witness over 400 years of transition from the colonial period to the present. Temporary exhibitions feature sociocultural topics about other cities and places around the world. Be prepared to be wowed while visiting the Museum of Civilization.

85 Rue Dalhousie, Québec, QC G1K 8R2, Canada
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46 Sunset on East Riverbank from Old Québec City, Canada

At the end of a long day of sightseeing, return to Dufferin Terrace to relax and unwind. Watch as the setting sun reflects across the eastern riverbank and the city of Lévis. This picturesque scene is especially marvelous when the golden hues illuminate the autumn foliage.

Terrasse Dufferin, Rue des Carrières, Québec, QC G1R 5J5, Canada
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