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.