I ♥ Quebec - Exploring Old Quebec's Heritage, Architecture, Art & Culture

When Samuel de Champlain founded a remote fur trading settlement on the icy shores of the St Lawrence River in 1608, he could not have guessed what Quebec City would become today.  What was then a remote outpost is now the capital of French-speaking Canada, full of European architecture that remains untouched by time. According to a publication I read, "There is no other North American metropolis that has such a diversity of architecture, so proudly preserved."  So true! You literally take a journey through history as you explore this city. 

For the second part of my series on "I ❤ Quebec", I wanted to share a few highlights of the history and architecture of this beautiful city, and noteworthy places definitely worth exploring if you visit. Step inside to its heritage, architecture, art, and culture.

Old Quebec is the only walled city north of Mexico City and was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1985. Strolling along the streets is like taking a journey back in time. The fortified city has a unique European feel and is extraordinarily well preserved after 400 years.

Massive stone ramparts surround the Upper Town of Old Quebec which extend 4.6 km, with four impressive stone gates. You can stroll along much of the length of these walls and take in spectacular views. 

The grounds and gardens anywhere you go in this city are immaculate and stunning.

Inside the walls is also La Citadelle, an active military installation. Tours of the Citadelle are encouraged to learn about Quebec's history and military architecture. Summer tours also include the Ceremony of the Changing of the Guard.

The cliffs of the area presented a perfect spot for an eventual fortress (in what is known now as the Upper Town) but initially Samuel de Champlain established a trading post along the St. Lawrence River (in what is now known as the Lower Town).  It also became the capital of "New France".  The city was to play a pivotal role in the struggle between France and England for the control of North America.
England first attacked the city in 1690 but due to the strong defenses it was not captured until 1759.  In September of 1759 the climactic battle occurred outside the established walls of Quebec City where General Wolfe (British) defeated General Montcalm (French) and France lost North America to England.  In 1774 the British passed The Quebec Act which allowed the French to keep the Roman Catholic religion and their culture so even though the city was controlled by Great Britain it retained its French character and still does today.

Aerial view of the Citadelle by Corporal David Robert

The Plains of Abraham and Joan of Arc Garden

Take a lunch and enjoy a few hours at the Plains of Abraham and the beautiful Joan of Arc Garden. This is the location of the pivotal battle in the seven years' war between France and Britain, known as the Battle of Quebec over the fate of New France.

  Chateau Frontenac

Towering above the city's Upper Town, the spectacular Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac dates back to 1893. It's truly a fairytale castle built in Neo-Chateau style, and incorporates Scottish baronial elements such as myriad towers and turrets, yet retaining steep metal roofs of Nouvelle France. Simply spectacular.

Absolutely beautiful at nighttime. One evening during our trip there was a fireworks display over the St Lawrence River beyond the Chateau Frontenac. It was visually stunning! 

Below, Chateau Frontenac towering above the skyline from Lower Town.

Below, Chateau Frontenac (right) seen from the fountain across from Parliament Hill.

Hotel de ville de Quebec and Price Building

The building on the left is the City Hall of Quebec City, inaugurated in 1896. From 1730s to 1878 it was home to the Jesuit College - such history! The tall building on the right is the Price Building, Quebec's first skyscraper. 

Most of the government buildings have copper roofs.
I included the photo directly below because located at the top of the street are row houses. One of the homes was for sale and I have posted a unique look inside HERE. So awesome!!

Just outside the walls of Old Quebec's Upper Town, Quebec's fleur-de-lis flag proudly flies atop the clock tower of the National Assembly building. The Parliament Building is the most gorgeous, imposing building I've seen. However, there was so much construction going on around the building at the time of our trip that my photos do not do it justice, but it was one of my favorite buildings! 

 We had beautiful weather this day and the sky was deep blue.

Strolling Along The Streets
 - Upper Town - 

Between the stone buildings, cobblestone streets and Old World charm, the heartbeat of history is alive here, intermixed with modern cuisine, great shopping, and a prevalent art culture seen everywhere.

This photo is for my boys! I'm sure this Corvette Z06 costs somewhere between $80K-$100K. Pretty snazzy!

A city of heritage, architecture, art, and culture.

Still to come in this series is Lower Quebec, the amazing churches, surrounding area and cuisine. Plus, two more gorgeous home tours you'll love.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Warmest regards,

Unless otherwise noted, these are my photos and I would appreciate it if you would link to my blog if you use them.


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