Old Québec - 400 years of history, culture and architecture


Experience a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Understand North America’s History

Discover Canada’s Birthplace

Explore Québec City

















The river and watershed that defined historical Canada.


Flowing from the Great Lakes, the 2300-mile / 3700-km St. Lawrence Seaway extends from Duluth Minnesota to the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. The St. Lawrence River - the eastern part of this vast watershed - was identified as “Kanata” by local Indigenous when French explorer Jacques Cartier travelled in the area in 1534. It took more 300 years before modern Canada expanded to the Pacific coast in the wake of the American Civil War.





MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS DU QUÉBEC  (Fine Arts Museum of Québec)


Collections of New France art, topographical painters, Inuit, Modern art, etc.





OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CAPITALE  (Québec City Observatory)


Located at the 31st floor of the Marie-Guyart building, admire the Historic District of Old Québec and its fortifications from its highest point.






PLAINE D’ABRAHAM  (Plains of Abraham – Battlefields Park)

Most iconic battlefield of the French and Indian War. French were defeated and soon left North America.


One of Canada’s most important historical parks and one of the most prestigious city parks.

On this site, during the French and Indian War, French troops lost the 1759 iconic battle that changed the fate of the continent. All North America’s French territories will be then ceded to England through the 1763 Treaty of Paris.


After the Conquest, many French-speaking Canadians remained in the St. Lawrence Valley. Today they form 75% of the population of the Province of Québec, for up to 14 generations.






MUSÉE DES PLAINES D’ABRAHAM  (Plains of Abraham Museum)

You will find here all you want to know about the Battle that changed North America forever.


Different exhibitions, the show Battles and guided tours are available.







Variety of restaurants and bars along the Battlefield Park.


Name given to St-Louis street outside the Fortifications. Literally, Grande Allée means Broad Way.


What to do!








(Province of Québec’s Legislature Building)

Even though Montreal is the Province’s largest city, Québec City has forever been its Capital City.


Discover the National Assembly of the Province of Québec and the British parliamentary system in the only French-speaking Province of Canada. Self-guided and free guided tours.







Many military defense works like the Citadelle were built in British Canada after the War of 1812.


Active military base and home of the Royal 22nd Regiment, 1st French-speaking troops of the Canadian Forces.

Built in the wake of the War of 1812, as the Halifax Citadel, Fort Henry in Kingston Ontario and the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. These defensive and strategic works have finally never been used in war times.







The fortifications of Québec were built from early French Canada until the 1871 Treaty of Washington.


The French rampart was built in the years before the iconic 1759 Plains of Abraham Battle. This wall preserved its original height (or so) and is made of “courtines” (straight walls) and “bastions” (parts of walls that stick out), and is located between the northern and southern cliffs of Québec’s promontory.


Québec’s Fortifications are of the “Vauban” type, named after Louis XIV’s military engineer who widely used this configuration.


The last forts – 3 wide bastions - were built across the St.Lawrence River in Lévis, to stop the potential invaders from the USA, a major threat for the Canadians in the wake of the Civil War.


Parks Canada in Québec


Parks Canada in Lévis







After founding Acadia in 1604, Dugua financed the Champlain’s expedition to Québec in 1608.


Outstanding view of the « narrowing of the river » (kebek in algonquian language), the Port area and South-Shore of Québec (Lévis) as well as the bridge and western tip of Ile d’Orléans.


Dugua-De Mons is the Father of Acadia that he founded in 1604. Dugua’s bust found here is a replica of the original statue located in Annapolis Royal Nova Scotia, formerly Port-Royal, capital of historic Acadia. Lieutenant General of New France in 1608, Dugua commissioned Champlain to settle a fur trade post in Québec, and thus, is now recognized as the co-founder of Québec City, Canada’s first permanent settlement.




Fort St. Anne in Acadia






CAP DIAMANT   (Cape Diamond)

“The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America…”  (Charles Dickens, American Notes, 1842)


Name given to the eastern cliff (river side) of the promontory of Québec City, atop of which stands the iconic hotel Chateau Frontenac (see 14) and Citadelle de Québec (see 8). The opposite western cliff – which is not Cape Diamond anymore - faces the Old Port district in Lower Town (le Vieux-Port) and the Laurentian mountains in the background.


The name originates from the diamonds Jacques Cartier – the official European discoverer of Canada – found here. Unfortunately, these “fake diamonds” were only quartz. Cartier eventually fell in disgrace in the 1800s for 3 main reasons: these fake diamonds, the forcible abduction of “Indians” at the end of his 1st voyage to Canada (1534) and because English Canadians would then thought John Cabot was the actual European discoverer of Canada because of his 1497 travel along the Newfoundland coast.


Cap Diamant (French only)


Dickens’ travel to USA and Canada, including Quebec City


Jacques Cartier’s 1535-1536 wintering site


Jacques Cartier’s 1541-1542 travel to Canada (French only)






TERRASSE DUFFERIN   (Dufferin Terrace)

Top view on the river and the area in the vicinity of the Château Frontenac. Historic sites showcasing Canada from early 1600s to late 1800s.


Atop Cape Diamond, nearby Chateau Frontenac, this is one of the preferred point of view on the St. Lawrence River below. Inaugurated 12 years after modern Canada was born in 1867, here we find many Canadian symbols to celebrate the “founding people of Canada”, along with some Royal family members of that period (Victoria, Louise, Lorne, Dufferin), a prestigious French Governor (Frontenac) and an important Catholic Archbishop (Plessis). The same symbols and figures can be seen across the whole country from Victoria BC to Halifax Nova Scotia.


Terrace Dufferin                      


Fort and Chateau St. Louis historic site under terrace







Plains of Abraham Battle’s victorious and defeated generals share a common memorial erected in the spirit of reconciliation during unrest in Lower and Upper Canada!


Both James Wolfe and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm – the British and French commanders during the Siege of Québec in 1759 – were mortally wounded during the 20-minute battle that took place on September 13. Common fate, common fame and common memorial!


When the monument was inaugurated in 1829, French Canadians and American Loyalists in the British colonies of Lower and Upper Canada respectively were fighting for democracy as their elected assemblies’ decisions could be vetoed by the appointed council or governor. Responsible government was granted to Canadians only in 1848 after the Papineau-McKenzie Rebellions.


Parks Canada                           


War Memorial







Best Québec City’s symbol of Canada “From Sea to Sea”, it was built by the railroad company that united Canada!


This 1893 “Castle of the North” – a top Canadian symbol - is Québec City’s most famous landmark. Third prestigious CPR hotel built along the then-new railroad from Vancouver to Quebec City, after Vancouver Hotel in 1885 and Banff Springs in 1888.


Hotel Frontenac’s “Medieval Chateau-style” architecture was inspired by the 1875 Dufferin Preservation Plan of Québec City – Quebec Improvements - where walls were partially lowered, Dufferin Terrace enlarged and military gates rebuilt with a medieval touch, more than a decade before the Frontenac was built. The last “similar” hotel built along the Canadian Pacific railroad is the 1908 Empress situated in Victoria, British Columbia, the home of the Empress Cruiseship Line also owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway.


Parks Canada                           


Dufferin’s 1875 Preservation Plan: Quebec Improvements



Guided Tours of Château Frontenac (cicerone.ca)       







Father of New France and founder of Québec City, Champlain was also a cartographer, diplomat and business man!


This monument was erected a decade before Québec City’s 300th anniversary in 1908. Skilled sailor, Champlain crossed the Atlantic 27 times to realize his dream of a permanent French presence in North America. He died on Christmas Day in 1635 in nearby Fort St-Louis (see 12). Champlain’s burial site is still unknown to this day despite several attempts to locate it from the 1800s.


From his first travel into the St. Lawrence valley in 1603 – where he met with First Nations and created strategic alliances – to his death, Champlain mapped the coast of New England and the St. Lawrence River watershed, from Cape Cod to the Great Lakes area. His contribution to the mapping of historical Canada and Acadia is remarkable, as well as his skills to create durable alliances between the French and Native Americans that lasted up to the fall of New France.










PLACE D’ARMES  (Armoury Square)

Central hub of Upper Town laid out around 1640. The 3 streets starting from Place d’Armes lead to the 3 gates of the French rampart in a radial pattern.


Place d’Armes dates from the French period of Canada and has witnessed Canada’s major political changes. Today, one can observe around Place d’Armes architecture styles of the 3 periods of Canadian history. Discover the 1732 Neoclassical Berthelot House (corner Ste-Anne and du Trésor), the 1804 Palladian Holy Trinity Cathedral (see 17) and the 1893 Chateau-style hotel Frontenac (see 14), memories of the French, British and Canadian periods respectively. 


The neo-baroque fountain in its center recalls the arrival of the first French Catholic missionaries to Canada in 1615: the Recollects were a French Franciscans suborder. Other male and female Catholic orders followed within 25 years: the Jesuits in 1625, the Ursulines and Augustinians in 1639 (see 18).


Place d’Armes                          


Maison Berthelot (French only)







Landmark of British Québec City. Built 20 years after the U.S. Independence that made Québec the new Capital City of British North America.


Built around Place d’Armes (see 16) on a site originally owned by the first French Catholic religious order in Canada, the Recollects. The British used the Recollects’ Church for their own worship until a fire destroyed the building at the end of the 18th century.


The Palladian architecture of 1803 Holy Trinity church is the first British architectural style that marked Québec City. Other Palladian buildings were erected during the first decades of the 19th century, such as the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, the Morrin Centre (see 20), etc… The Anglican Church of Old Québec is still very dynamic and offers services in English… and French.








First school for girls in North America, operating since 1639. The Quebec City Ursulines were the first female missionaries to North America. The Ursuline Sisters also settled in New Orleans in 1727, becoming then the first nuns in the USA. The Québec City Ursulines is within the top 5 French historic institutions across Canada.


They operate a museum about the Catholic education they provided until the end of the 1900s, the traditional art of gilding and embroidery they imported from France in the 1600s and the monastic life of the Ursuline order until Vatican II.


In their chapel open to the public, you can see the only authentic church interior dating from the French rule of Canada. Also, you discover original paintings confiscated by the French Revolutionaries – the Desjardins Collection - and brought to Québec City around 1820, a concrete and artistic side effect of the French Revolution on Canada.


The Ursuline and Augustinian nuns both arrived in Canada in 1639. The latter inaugurated the first hospital in North America, now operated as an oncology centre in Old Québec. First apothecaries in Canada, the Augustinians now operate a top-rated wellness centre that includes a museum about their works and the medical science of the 1600s. 










ÉDIFICE PRICE  (Price Building)

Inaugurated on October 29, 1929 – the Black Tuesday at the New York Stock Exchange - this building recalls the effect of the Great Depression on Canada.


Now owned by the Government of Québec, it was built by the 4th generation of the Price family as headquarter for their paper mills and sawmills empire. The Prices became managers of the company they had created after going bankrupt in the early 1930s.


The 5th generation rebuilt their business in tourism from 1965 when Anthony Price opened the Musée du Fort near Place d’Armes. The family also owns the Chic Shack (Gourmet hamburgers restaurant) and Auberge Saint-Antoine (only Relais & Chateaux hotel in Quebec City area, and regularly nominated as hotel #1 in Canada by travel magazines). The hotel restaurant – the Muffy, Anthony’s wife nickname – also ranks frequently within the top 5 restaurants in Canada.


Price Building                           


Musée du Fort                        


Chic Shack                                


Auberge Saint-Antoine         







The Scots arrived in Canada through the British Conquest. The best markers of Scottish Quebec City are found here!


“The Morrin Centre is a nationally recognized heritage site and leading English-language cultural centre located in the heart of historic Old Quebec City.” (Morrin Centre’s website)


Discover the old jail, the Collegue for girls tied to McGill University in Montreal, and the only English-language library in Old Québec, a Victorian treasure.



Morrin Centre                         


St. Andrew’s Church              







QUARTIER PETIT-CHAMPLAIN  (Petit-Champlain District)

One of the best commercial areas for shopping, among a variety of restaurants and bistros.


The same organization – la Coopérative du quartier Petit-Champlain – also manages the businesses on Place Royale (see 26).  You can find home accessories, entertainment, art galleries, jewellery, fashion & accessories, restaurants & bistros, body care, souvenirs & gifts, sweet indulgences & regional specialties.



Business Corporation            


What to see







“Notre-Dame de Québec is the primatial church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec. It is the oldest church in Canada and was the first Canadian church to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica.”


Details to come shortly. 


Opening Hours                        










Details to come shortly. 









Details to come shortly. 









Details to come shortly. 







PLACE ROYALE  (Royal Square)

Vibrant commercial area, continuously inhabited since 1608! Place Royale, site of the first permanent settlement of historical Canada.


Renovating Old Québec began here in the late 1950s. Designed to become a living-history museum, actors now only perform during the Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France (New France Festival)! Stone buildings recall the splendor of New France architecture and markings, the presence of the first fur trade post in Canada. In a way, it is Canada’s Jametown, with a touch of Williamsburg!







CÔTE DE LA MONTAGNE  (Mountain Hill)


Details to come shortly. 








PARC MONTMORENCY  (Montmorency Park)

National historic site showcasing important figures and events of the French and British periods of Canada.


How was shaped Canada by the founding Fathers during the American civil war? You will find some clues here. Meet first with Louis Hébert, Marie Rollet and Guillaume Couillard, the first family and colonists in Québec. Discover George-Étienne Cartier, an important founding Father who, like Benjamin Franklin in the USA, attended 3 conferences and signed 3 major documents that shaped, in his case, the Dominion of Canada!


Parc Montmorency                


The Charlottetown and Québec Conferences     


George-Étienne Cartier         






SÉMINAIRE DE QUÉBEC  (Seminary of Québec)

Once the largest religious estate of Old Québec, the evangelization of New France to Catholicism started here!

First mission: 1699, Holy Family Parish, Cahokia Illinois!


Bishop Francois de Laval (canonized in 2014) bought this farming land from Guillaume Couillard’s widow and built his Seminary. First wing: 1677. The 3-storey stone and stucco architecture seen form the inner courtyard – accessible to public - was widely used in New France and still very impressive. The 1745 New Orleans Ursuline’s convent is the oldest example similar architecture in the Mississippi valley.


Today, the large complex is the home of the School of Architecture of Université Laval – 1st French-language university in the Americas – and the Collège-Francois-de-Laval, a co-ed private high school. Retired priests also have their home, occupied until recently by the Grand Seminary.




School of Architecture


Holy Family Church, Cahokia IL


Seminary Corporation (French only)






QUARTIER LATIN  (Latin Quarter)


Details to come shortly. 








One of the 2 major public (provincial) museums in Québec City. Well-funded society museum, visitors of all ages can find activities or exhibitions that will make their day!


Located in the Art district, at only 3-minute walk from Place Royale.  Many options for foods are available in the area.


Nearby historical plaques on Barricade Street are a must-see site for the Americans: on December 31, 1775, Benedict Arnold was defeated here. As a consequence, Canada will never become part of the USA.









Details to come shortly.