Old Quebec Walk, Quebec City

Old Quebec Walk (Self Guided), Quebec City

A historic neighborhood of Quebec City, Old Quebec (French: Vieux-Québec) sits on top and at the foot of Cap-Diamant, on the eastern edge of Quebec hill promontory. The district comprises the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville), and is also sometimes referred to as the Latin Quarter (French: Quartier latin). It has gained recognition as a part of Quebec's cultural heritage and is currently listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Back in 1608, Samuel de Champlain chose the territory of today's Upper Town as the site for Fort Saint Louis. After the British Conquest, the area had been occupied mainly by British government

officials and Catholic clergy, whilst merchants and artisans, both French and English, lived in the Lower Town. Much of the city's notable traditional architecture is found in Old Quebec, within and below the fortifications, with most buildings dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Among these is the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires built from 1687 to 1723, as well as some public administration and other institutions like the Quebec City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) and the Musee des Augustines de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. West of the walls are the Parliament Hill area and, to the south, the Plains of Abraham.

The area has a distinct European feel with its stone buildings and winding streets lined with shops and restaurants. The abundance of hotels, such as the imposing historic Château Frontenac, makes the Old City a very popular tourist destination too.

The Upper and Lower Town are linked by numerous stairs such as the Escalier “casse-cou” ("breakneck stairway") or, for the ease of transportation from the foot of Cap Diamant to its top with a marvelous view, you can use a funicular car on the historic narrow Rue du Petit-Champlain where many small boutiques are located, not far Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church.

The National Assembly of Quebec (provincial legislature) and the Musée de la Civilisation (Museum of Civilization) are also found within or near Vieux-Québec.

If you're in the mood for a bit of Europe organically blended into Canadian setting, with some insight into New World's history and perhaps some great food too, Québec City's Old Town has it all in abundance. Embark on this self-guided walking tour and see for yourself!
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Old Quebec Walk Map

Guide Name: Old Quebec Walk
Guide Location: Canada » Quebec City (See other walking tours in Quebec City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: susan
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Museum of Civilization (Musee de la Civilisation)
  • Quebec City Mural (La Fresque des Quebecois)
  • Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church
  • Chevalier House (Maison Chevalier)
  • Rue du Petit-Champlain
  • Louis Jolliet House (Maison Louis Jolliet)
  • Old Quebec Funicular (Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec)
  • Breakneck Steps (L'Escalier Casse-Cou)
  • Terrasse Dufferin
  • Chateau Frontenac
  • Rue du Trésor
  • Notre-Dame de Québec
  • City Hall of Quebec City (Hotel de Ville)
  • Musee des Augustines de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec
  • Morrin Centre
  • Jesuit Chapel (Chapelle des Jesuites)
  • Place d'Youville
  • Artillery Park Heritage Site
Museum of Civilization (Musee de la Civilisation)

1) Museum of Civilization (Musee de la Civilisation) (must see)

In the heart of the port district, not far from the shores of the St. Lawrence River and surrounded by historical buildings, the modern facade of the Museum of Civilization strikes out against its surroundings, but the structure as a whole is in line with the traditional style of Québec City – including the roof, windows and belltower. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the architect behind Montréal's revolutionary Habitat 67, the front of the museum is built into an incline, tucking the building away and adding a touch of nature, with a glass roof and greenery sprouting from along the sides. Inaugurated in 1988, the museum is dedicated to the history, present, and future of Québec civilization, as well as that of cultures from around the world, with themes such as humour, circus and song, for example, making for very lively displays.

Inside, the harmony with the surroundings continues with a large open lobby, full of glass and light, which provides a charming view of Maison Estèbe and features Astri Reusch's sculpture, "La débâcle", inspired by the springtime accumulation of ice in the St. Lawrence. The three-story building accommodates ten different exhibits simultaneously, three of which are permanent and rooted in the region's history. It's a very large expansive area, capable of holding hundreds and hundreds of people so you'll never feel cramped. Moreover, the on-site Creaform Lab is fabulous for the kids, who could spend hours learning robotics, basic programming, and electrical circuits.

Why You Should Visit:
There's something for everyone, regardless of age and specific interests. Many exhibits offer a "hands-on" experience.
Although you can take both English and French tours, you can also just walk through and visit on your own.
To find lovely streets with good shopping, it's as simple as exiting out the back.

If you arrive at 4pm for the last hour, you can get in at HALF the price – but do note that to see the core exhibits you should give yourself at least 3 hours.
Alternatively, you can get a discount if you go to this museum and the Musée National des Beaux-Arts on the same day.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Quebec City Mural (La Fresque des Quebecois)

2) Quebec City Mural (La Fresque des Quebecois)

Reaching nearly three stories tall and at a size of 4,520 sq ft (420 sq m), La Fresque des Québécois is the largest and most historical trompe l'oeil in Old Quebec.

Inaugurated in 1999, this colossal mural tells the long story of Quebec City in an iconic location, at the corner of rue Notre-Dame in Petit Champlain district. It took twelve artists from France and Canada, supervised by experts (historians, geographers and others), to paint the immense fresco that vividly illustrates the city's 400+year history and its important figures. The site was perfectly chosen, as there is no adjoining buildings to hide the colorful work, and one could easily spend an hour just capturing all the details.

Sixteen prominent Québécois are featured in the painting, including historical figures like Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, and Lord Dufferin, as well as some cultural icons like singer/songwriter Félix Leclerc and leading politician Louis-Joseph Papineau.

Also depicted in the mural are typical Québécois buildings through whose windows the important figures peek. One of the gates figures prominently, as do the famous L'Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs) and the province's four seasons. There are also landmarks to be found, such as Frontenac Castle and others.

In addition, the fresco, situated by a bookstore, makes it possible to honor dozens of authors and artists of Quebec origin. A popular tourist sight, it kicked off a trompe l'oeil craze around the city, resulting in many buildings now covered in historically clever murals.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church

3) Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is a small Roman Catholic church on Place Royale, the oldest stone church in Quebec and Canada, and one of the oldest in North America. Its construction lasted from 1687 to 1723, and took place upon the ruins of Champlain's first dwelling.

Originally dedicated to l'Enfant Jésus (baby Jesus), the church received the name Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire following the Battle of Quebec of 1690, in which an English expedition commanded by Major-General William Phips was forced to retreat. In 1711, the name was changed again, to Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (plural), after bad weather had sunk a British fleet commanded by Hovenden Walker. The church was largely destroyed by the British bombardment that preceded the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in September 1759, but was completely restored in 1816.

The building, listed as a historic monument since 1929, remains a popular tourist attraction within the city, as well as a place of worship. It has undergone extensive restoration in recent decades, to bring back its colonial French character.

While the structure seems to get an updating/face-lift every century or two, there remain some original parts dating back to the 1600s. In the basement, for instance, you can still see one of the original walls, and archaeological digs have uncovered one of the building's original turrets in the facade.

Once you are in Basse-Ville (the lower Quebec City), you'll probably walk right by the front of this church. There is no charge for going in and it will only take moments of your time, but will leave you with lasting memories. Although rather austere, the interior takes visitors back in time, featuring several paintings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Unique to Québec, the frescoes on either side of the main altar retrace the history of the church and city, and were done by local painter and decorator Jean-M. Tardivel. The most striking accent, however, is the single ex-voto, a model of a vessel that arrived in 1664, which hangs suspended over the pews. A model of the Brézé, the ship commanded by the marquis of Tracy, can also be seen here.

In 2002, the church served as a filming location for Catch Me If You Can.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sat: 12am–4pm; Sun: 9:30am–4:30pm
[Masses] Sun: 10:30am / 12pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Chevalier House (Maison Chevalier)

4) Chevalier House (Maison Chevalier)

The historic Jean-Baptiste-Chevalier house is a classical French Maison and a fine piece of New France's urban architecture. A former hotel, it was the first building in the Place-Royale area to be restored in the 1950s.

The current structure is in fact three separate houses from three distinctive periods: Maison de l'Armateur Chevalier (home of a former shipowner Jean-Baptiste-Chevalier), built in 1752; Maison Frérot, with a mansard roof built in 1683 (or 1695); and Maison Chesnay, dating from 1660 (or 1675).
The complex was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1762.

All the three houses were repaired or partially rebuilt following the British Conquest, and used for commercial purposes. As a group, they were rescued from deterioration by Gérard Morisset, the influential director of an art works inventory, who suggested that they be purchased and restored by Québec's government, which in turn has prevented the demolition of the Royal Square itself.

From 1807, the house was rented by its owner, George Pozer, to an innkeeper who had London Coffee House inscribed on the facade; thus the Chevalier house was known by this name until the early 20th century. The Maison Chevalier, twinned with its two neighbors, was classified as a historic monument and became a museum in 1965. In April 2013, Maison Chevalier was renamed Maison historique Chevalier.

With the iconic Château Frontenac visible in the background, this is an excellent place to walk around while soaking in the area's beauty and history. During the Quebec Carnival in February, it is also a great place for traditional music evenings.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Rue du Petit-Champlain

5) Rue du Petit-Champlain (must see)

A quaint narrow street at the foot of Cap Diamant, some 0.16 miles (0.26 km) long, running from its convergence with Rue Sous-le-Fort in the north to Boulevard Champlain in the south, Rue du Petit-Champlain is a centerpiece of the tiny eponymous neighborhood.

Named after Samuel de Champlain, who founded Québec City in 1608, Petit-Champlain is the oldest commercial district in North America and a wonderful place to pick up hand-made local items or enjoy a nice meal. It should not be confused with rue Champlain, located further west in the small district of Cap-Blanc, though; the 1889 landslide severed one from the other.

In this unofficial "quartier" (neighborhood), boutique shops and cozy cafes spill out of restored houses, adding to the amazing smells from the many restaurants. You may pose at one of the cute windows or doors, or find benches in many locations if looking to rest for a bit.

As you stroll through, don't miss the Fresque du Petit-Champlain, a large trompe-l'œil mural covering the side of a 3-story building near the street's southern end, at No. 102. Measuring 100 sq-m (900 sg-ft), it highlights the history of the district, including the 1759 bombardments, the landslides, and the many fires that occurred over the years.

At the other end of Rue du Petit-Champlain, you will find the famous Escalier Casse-Cou (or "Breakneck Staircase", because of its steepness). Be sure to get a picture of the Rue de Petit-Champlain from above, as the view is very iconic.

Just beyond the steps is the lower entrance to the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec, an electric cableway running since 1879. It takes passengers up and down Cap Diamant, to and from Dufferin Terrace, beside the Château Frontenac. The funicular climbs at a 45-degree angle, covering a total distance of 64 metres (210 ft).

Around halfway along the street, on its western side, is Parc Félix-Leclerc.

Rue du Petit-Champlain was recognized as “the most remarkable street” in Canada, by both the public and the jury, during the 2014 edition of the Au Canada, c'est ma place! organized by the Canadian Institute of Planners.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Louis Jolliet House (Maison Louis Jolliet)

6) Louis Jolliet House (Maison Louis Jolliet)

The main entrance to the Old Quebec funicular is located in the historic House Louis Jolliet, at 16 Petit-Champlain Street. One of the earliest dwellings in Old Québec (1683), this house was built after the great fire of 1682 by the architect Claude Baillif for Louis Jolliet, who lived here until his death in 1700.

Louis Jolliet was an explorer, cartographer and hydrographer, and proved to be the first Quebec-born Canadian to make history. During one of his expeditions, he discovered and mapped the Mississippi River. The first person of European parentage to accomplish such feat, he taught hydrography at the Séminaire de Québec during the last years of his life.

The fire, which had almost completely razed Basse-Ville, eventually prompted the authorities to require all buildings to be made of stone and equipped with firewalls. Among other things, the decision resulted in the spread of first suburbs outside the city walls, since poorer settlers could not meet the costly new requirements and were forced to move out of town.

Heavily damaged during the British Conquest and a number of fires that happened later on, the house nonetheless has retained some of the features from the original design attributing to the urban architecture of the French Regime. Although transformations have reduced its state of authenticity, the location at the top of rue Sous-le-Fort gives it a privileged position in the urban landscape of the neighbourhood. Access to the funicular from the terrace also adds to its importance.

The building contributes to the specificity of the declared site of Old Quebec as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Old Quebec Funicular (Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec)

7) Old Quebec Funicular (Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec) (must see)

The Old Quebec Funicular (French: Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec) is a funicular railway that links the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) at Dufferin Terrace to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town) at Rue du Petit-Champlain.

A quick, convenient and scenic way to get to and from Old Québec, the "Funiculaire" is also a little piece of history, first opened in 1879. That's right, eighteen seventy-nine! Prior to being converted to electricity in 1907, it was a hydraulic system (water being transferred from one reservoir to another to make it function).

On July 2, 1945, a major fire destroyed the structure, necessitating a rebuild, that was completed in 1946. Since then, major renovations have taken place, in 1978 and 1998. Resulting from these modifications, the two cabins are now fully autonomous, working automatically like an elevator. Technically speaking, these are inclined lifts, rather than an actual funicular. In 2004, the facility celebrated 125 years of operating.

As small and limited as it may seem, the funicular is an amazing way to "see things". If going uphill, you'll enter at the Louis Jolliet House and, after getting a ticket (which takes about 10 minutes on a summer afternoon), you'll click and clack the 64 meters (210 feet) up on a 45-degree angle... to arrive at a beautiful view of the lower city, the St Lawrence River, and the city's most iconic building, Château Frontenac. This is one-of-a-kind experience that you won't get in many other places on this planet.

While all too brief, Québec's little piece of history puts the "fun" in Funiculaire! It also features a gift shop and a café.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Breakneck Steps (L'Escalier Casse-Cou)

8) Breakneck Steps (L'Escalier Casse-Cou) (must see)

Linking Côte de la Montagne and Quartier Petit-Champlain, the legendary "Breakneck Steps" (Québec City's oldest stairway) dates back to around 1635 – but rest assured, you will not break your neck. The name dates back centuries to when the staircase was a narrower, steeper, wooden staircase that was eventually replaced with iron in the late 1800s (and actually designed by an engineer, which always helps!), only to be given another huge overhaul in the 1960s.

While not Québec City's longest staircase (Cap Blanc has about six times as many stairs), Escalier Casse-Cou is probably the city's most useful, having helped Québécois and tourist alike make their way back and forth between Haute-Ville (Upper Town) and Basse-ville (Lower Town) for centuries.

At the bottom, you'll find several boutiques, restaurants, the famed La Fudgerie, and, if your feet are tired or want an epic view, Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec can take you to Haute-Ville. On your way up or down, you'll find several boutiques and bistros, while at the top you will be amongst some of the city's greatest pieces of history: Le Château Frontenac, Place d'Arms, Montmorency Park National Historic Site, and Terrasse Dufferin (to name just a few).
Terrasse Dufferin

9) Terrasse Dufferin (must see)

Along the front of Château Frontenac is the wide boardwalk of Terrasse Dufferin, conceived in 1879 by the governor general of Canada, Lord Dufferin, as a place for residents and visitors to take their daily stroll. The use of wooden planks gives the whole thing an air of summer, even in the middle of winter, when a huge slide is added.

When you go to places for a view, it is usually one way – but not so at this place! Looking east, you'll have a panoramic photographer's dream come true of a large expanse of the St. Lawrence River, Île d'Orléans (Orleans Island), as well as the city of Lévis across the water.

To your north, Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral and the beautiful (now-oxidized) green dome of the old post office. To your south, about a kilometre and a half is a wide, wooden boardwalk along the river known as the Promenade des Gouverneurs, which will take you to Q-City's famed 300+ stairs and The Battlefields Park.

Even looking down is a treat. First, you can peer down the hill at Lower Town (Basse-Ville). And, below your feet, there are peek-a-boo windows and encasings where you can catch glimpses of the Saint-Louis Fort and Château – the official residence and seat of power for governors from 1620 to 1834, when it was destroyed by fire. Only a few steps down and you’re face-to-face with the foundations of the original building and some of the artifacts they uncovered there. A hidden jewel!

The best may be behind you (West): An up-close-and-personal view of Château Frontenac, the gigantic hotel whose iconic and grandiose look is Québec City's most iconic and enduring symbol.

Simply put, Terrasse Dufferin showcases the best of a beautiful city.
Chateau Frontenac

10) Chateau Frontenac

Proudly holding the title of "most photographed hotel in the world", Château Frontenac, operated now as the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, is one of the most astonishing buildings in Québec. The fortress-like architecture and its location on top of the Cap Diamant ridge give it an especially majestic feel.

Built in 1893, it is part of a chain of "château-style" hotels that were constructed across the country by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Since Québec was one of the North American ports before the long trip across the Atlantic, the hotel was designed to rival any European counterpart and grab the attention of travelers. American architect Bruce Price drew from both the Middle Ages and Renaissance, using elements like the turrets found on Scottish castles and the bastion towers of French châteaus.

Named after twice governor of New France, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, the hotel sits on the site of what was once Château Saint-Louis, the official residence of the governor of New France and later home of the British governors. The ruins of the many incarnations of the residence lie just in front of the hotel.

It has been the temporary residence of everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to Charles Lindbergh, as well as the setting for Alfred Hitchcock's 1953 drama "I Confess", but the hotel's most memorable moment took place in 1943. It was the site of the Québec Conference of World War II, where U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and Canadian prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King discussed the eventual invasion of France via Normandy.

If you book a room, ask for a high floor – city view – the 18th floor is amazing!
A hotel tour runs each day and there are some good anecdotes and stories about events in its history.
Rue du Trésor

11) Rue du Trésor

This year-round open-air gallery is one of Québec City's most famous, displaying plenty of artists and artwork – from picturesque watercolors of local scenes to abstract etchings of something completely indefinable. The artists will talk to you all day long, but there is no pressure to buy – but since prices are good, you can actually take a little something back home. The gallery was created in the 1960s by a group of art students to exhibit their work, and some of those original students are still here.

Rue du Trésor is one of the oldest streets in the city and has been around for three centuries. At the time of the French regime it was along this street that the colonists would pass in order to reach the Royal Treasury, where they paid their taxes – just another example of how QC's street names have remained unchanged for centuries.

Why You Should Visit:
This quaint little street packed with artists is one of the more atmospheric in Quebec City. The art can be hit-or-miss but the street itself is worth seeking out.

Do not take photos of artwork as the artists are very protective of their work being copied, and rightfully so. Note, also, that not all vendors take credit cards.
Notre-Dame de Québec

12) Notre-Dame de Québec (must see)

Dating back to the mid-17th century, this was the first parish church in North America and the first in the country to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica, by Pope Pius IX in 1874. It has been restored several times over the years in order to maintain the marvelous architecture still admired to this day. The inside chancel lamp was donated by Louis XIV and completing the church's impressive adornments are stained glass windows, paintings of the Virgin Mary that date back to the French regime, the bishop's original throne, and a stunning gold-plated baldaquin canopy suspended above the altar.

Between 1654 and 1898, over 900 people were buried in the crypt below the church, including twenty bishops and four governors. It's also rumored that Samuel de Champlain himself is buried nearby; archaeologists have been searching for the grave for over 50 years. In 2014, when the church celebrated its 350th anniversary, a holy door was installed (the only one of its kind in North America, and one of eight across the world), which will be open on Jubilee years.

Why You Should Visit:
Breathtaking at every turn and filled with quaint charm, gorgeous stained glass – a photographer's paradise.

See the basilica during the day, but consider the laser light show in the evening. The line to get in is very long, so buy your tickets online and pick them up at the office the night of the performance. Not the cheapest 30 minutes, but worth it if you want to see a magnificent building shine in a whole new way.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am–4pm; Sat: 7am–6pm; Sun: 8am–5pm (winter); Mon-Sat: 7am–7pm; Sun: 8am–7pm (summer)
Entry is free for self-guided visits; it is also possible to visit the crypt with guided tours for a charge
City Hall of Quebec City (Hotel de Ville)

13) City Hall of Quebec City (Hotel de Ville)

The City Hall of Quebec City (French: Hôtel de ville de Québec) is the seat of local government. Situated at the heart of Old Quebec, it was completed in 1895, following disagreements among the mayor and the city councilors as to a building plan, and was inaugurated on September 15, 1896.

The building slopes downward as it sits on a hill that was once home to the Jesuit College (Jesuit Barracks), from the 1730s to 1878, that was apparently demolished to make room for the City Hall. The latter was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1985.

Located on rue des Jardins and designed by architect Georges-Émile Tanguay (1858-1923), this is the second permanent city hall for the Old City. From 1842 to 1896, the municipal authorities met at the home of British Army Major General William Dunn (British officer), and prior to that, sat at various other places.

The building features a late-Victorian eclectic mix of Classical, Medieval and Châteauesque elements, with the American Romanesque Revival influence clearly visible and standing out amid the French and British traditions predominant in the construction of local public buildings.

The H-shaped edifice has various heights. Towers with steeply pitched roofs accentuate the center and sides. An indoor parking lot rests under the gardens of the town hall, a parterre redesigned in 2014 with greenery, water jets and highlighting a gift received from the Swiss Canton of Jura: a clock designed and manufactured by Richard Mille.

The whole area has tons of atmosphere and is very beautiful in the evening.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Musee des Augustines de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec

14) Musee des Augustines de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec

The Hotel-Dieu de Québec is a teaching hospital in Quebec City, affiliated with Université Laval's medical school. Officially founded in 1637 by Marie-Madeleine de Vignerot, the Duchesse d'Aiguillon (1604-1675), a niece of Cardinal Richelieu, its purpose was to meet the colony's need for healthcare. The hospital was thus the first such facility in Canada, and indeed in North America.

The Augustinian Sisters first arrived in Québec in 1639. Practicing nurses, they healed the sick and encouraged First Nations peoples to convert to Christianity.

Originally established in the village of Sillery, the hospital was then moved to the town of Quebec, prompted by repeated attacks by Iroquois warriors, in 1644. Here, it occupied the site where it still stands. Serving the French colonists after that point, the hospital became the leading medical institution for the care of the people in the city.

The vaulted cellars that support the three-storey wings were built in 1695. Stone walls surround an adjoining Augustine cemetery, monastery, garden and cloister. Opened in 1803, the hospital chapel had its interior and façade remodelled in later years by Thomas Baillairgé. The facility was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1936. The Hôtel-Dieu continued to be operated by the Augustinian nuns until 1962.

The Monastère des Augustines Museum is located in a renovated 17th-century building that perfectly blends historical Québec gray stone with bright contemporary glass and steel features. Cloistered until the 20th century, the sisters' numbers have dwindled since their heyday—though several nuns still live on-site at the monastère. The museum shows select objects from the order's 40,000 artifacts, including a full historical nun's habit as well as centuries-old medical devices, to delve into their complex history in Québec.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am–5pm (Jan 6–Jun 19)
Hour-long guided tours take place at 2pm, from Tuesday to Sunday, and cost an extra $5.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Morrin Centre

15) Morrin Centre (must see)

One of the most famous cultural landmarks in Quebec City, the Morrin Centre is dedicated to showcasing the history of English speaking Quebec and all of the hardships that came along with speaking English during the old days. In this centre, you will find a rich English language library, with over 20,000 books, a small collection of archives, manuscripts, films and videos, electronic records, nearly 800 artifacts, plus the Stephens collection of decorative items and teaware related to the English families of Quebec City.

Visitors to the Morrin Centre can take a guided tour of the building (in either English or French) to learn about its heritage and importance within the city. The building was home to Quebec City's first jail, and on the tour, one may see the dark dank cells where prisoners spent their sentences for crimes ranging from drunkenness to murder to stealing tea! There is also an original darkroom that may be the world's oldest in existence.

Why You Should Visit:
Any place that can boast having been a prison, a college, and a library, is worth the time.
Staff is really friendly and helpful, and the library a very nice place to relax – with free Wi-Fi.
The place is really interesting and the guided tour is worthy; you can learn about jails and a little bit about the history of Quebec.

Opening Hours:
[Administration] Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
[Library] Tue: 12-8pm; Wed-Fri, Sun: 12-4pm; Sat: 10am-4pm
Jesuit Chapel (Chapelle des Jesuites)

16) Jesuit Chapel (Chapelle des Jesuites)

The Jesuit Chapel of Quebec is a Catholic temple, located at the entrance to Old Quebec, opposite Kent Gate. It was built from 1818 to 1820, on the grounds of the former Jesuit college, to a design by the architect François Baillairgé.

The interior decoration began with the construction of the counterfeit vaulting. Its centerpiece is wood-carved altar by Pierre-Noël Levasseur (1770); other points of interest include the original stained glass windows, along with the sculptures, paintings and regular photo exhibitions.

When, by the publication of the pontifical brief Dominus ac Redemptor (1773), the Society of Jesus was suppressed, the bishop of Quebec refused to see them disappear from his diocese. Still, the British government did not allow European Jesuits to find refuge in the province of Quebec.

The Jesuit community was revived in 1814 and in 1849, the Jesuits returned to Quebec. Although they settled in a new building right next to the chapel, designed by Charles Baillairgé in 1856, it would not be handed over to them until 1907.

The place was enlarged in 1857. There were now nine windows on each side, instead of five. In 1930, architects Ludger Robitaille and Gabriel Desmeules designed a new façade and changed the shape of the roof. In 1949, the galleries of the nave were removed.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Place d'Youville

17) Place d'Youville

Located in one of the city's busiest junctions, Place D’Youville – formerly an important market square – is now a bustling crossroads and cultural forum that marks the boundary between Old Quebec and the Quebec Parliament Hill. Backing onto the fortifications, it is a particularly busy with several cultural institutions found nearby.

The site of today's square has been occupied since the 1730s and is historically part of the Faubourg Saint-Jean. Between 1877 and 1931, it was designated by the name of Carré Montcalm after its main occupant: the Montcalm market. When the latter was demolished to make way for the Montcalm Palace, the site was renamed "Montcalm Square".

It officially took the name of Place D'Youville in 1965, in memory of Marguerite d'Youville, Canada's first Catholic saint, but the name "Carré D'Youville" is still habitually used. This toponym comes from its location on rue d'Youville, so named in 1876 because the latter leads to the chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec, a community founded by Marguerite d'Youville.

Redevelopment has given the square a large promenade area with several trees and benches, while a large kiosk hosts small shows and serves as a meeting spot. The counterscarp wall, part of the fortifications that were removed in the 19th century, has been highlighted by the use of black granite blocks. Starting in October, part of the square is covered in ice, much to the delight of skaters, while in summer it is one of the sites of the Québec summer festival.

At the western end of Place D’Youville stands Les Muses, a majestic bronze sculpture by Alfred Laliberté (1878-1953), donated by the Government of Quebec for the city's 375th anniversary in 1983. The six muses represent music, oratory, poetry, architecture, sculpture and painting.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Artillery Park Heritage Site

18) Artillery Park Heritage Site

The position of the Parc de l'Artillerie, looking out over the west of the city and across the St. Charles River, has made it a strategic military site since the late 17th century. Four vastly different buildings trace the city's history from the French regime right up to the 1940s. Of the four buildings that make up the site, the Dauphine Redoubt is the most striking, with massive white supports that plunge down the side of a hill.

Built in 1712 and completed in 1748, it was army barracks both before and after the British conquest and eventually became the home of the superintendent. During the summer, characters in period costume bring the barracks to life with demonstrations and tours through the rooms, which have been decorated to reflect various periods in the building's evolution. On display is also a fascinating model of Québec City, built between 1795 and 1810 by military engineer Jean-Baptiste Duberger for strategic planning, making for an unparalleled source of information on the layout of the city in the years following the British conquest.

Why You Should Visit:
While walking around the park is itself an enjoyable activity, the museum is charming and well-presented.
With lots of billboards and displays, it is easy to understand and appreciate the history of the area.

Get the self-guided audio tour. It takes about 2 hrs to go through the entire complex, and you can pace yourself.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm (May 18-Nov 3)

Walking Tours in Quebec City, Quebec

Create Your Own Walk in Quebec City

Create Your Own Walk in Quebec City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Quebec City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

The first religious buildings in Canada were established by Récollets and Jesuits in 1615 and 1625 when they first arrived to "New France". Later on, the colonists brought French culture and architectural traditions. The establishment of British and evangelical society brought major developments to Quebec City. Here is a list of some of the most alluring divine attractions to visit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Quebec City Introduction Walking Tour

Quebec City Introduction Walking Tour

Cresting a cliff above the St. Lawrence River, Québec City (French: Ville de Québec) is the soul of the province of Québec – a place all its own; a country within a country with its own traditions, architecture, and French-speaking population.

The Algonquian people had originally named the area Kébec, which means "where the river narrows", because the Saint Lawrence River...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Historical Houses Walking Tour

Historical Houses Walking Tour

Often referred to as the cradle of New France, Québec City has one of the richest architectural heritages in North America and is particularly evocative of Europe in its atmosphere. Most of the city's architecture, however, had to be adapted to harsh winters and the lack of specialized workers and materials in the colony; as such, most houses were designed as simple and efficient before...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles