Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quebec City - one of North America's oldest cities

One of my favorite trips was to Quebec in May 2009. To celebrate my graduation from law school, my mother and grandmother took me to Quebec for a week. We visited Quebec City and Montreal. What follows is a few pictures of Quebec City, ones that show the immense age and how European the city feels. The combination of the spoken French around me and the tiny streets lined with old building made me feel like I was in France aka heaven.

We stayed in Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec), which is still surrounded by city walls. In fact, Quebec City is the only walled city north of Mexico.

Porte St. Louis, one of the two main gates through the city walls. You can walk along the top of the walls, which I wanted to do but ran out of time.

This gate is located within the Citadelle, the fortress of Quebec City that houses the only fully Francophone regiment in the Canadian military. It is also part of the city's fortifications. This gate is the only original, unaltered gate in the city walls.

The town is separated into two - the Basse Ville (Lower Town): the port wedged between the water and the cliffs; and the Haute Ville (Upper Town) high on the Cap Diamante, where we stayed. The Basse Ville is the older section of town and one of the first I explored. Its accessible via lots of stairs or a funicular. I chose the stairs.

First up, Place Royale, the birthplace of French America. It's a pretty little French style square dominated by a stone church.

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, the oldest stone church in Quebec. Located in the Basse Ville (Lower Town), it was started in 1687 and finished in 1723. The church has had several names and received its current nomenclature in 1711 after bad weather sunk a British fleet. The British bombardment before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham destroyed much of the church in September of 1759 but a complete restoration was undertaken and finished in 1816.

Rue du Petit-Champlain, the oldest street in North America and part of the Petit Champlain neighborhood which is oldest commercial district in North America.

Photo from Wikipedia. These are the Breakneck Stairs, the oldest stairs in Quebec City. I don't remember seeing them while I was there, but the age of the staircase is fascinating -- they were constructed in 1635.

Back up in the Haute Ville, I explored some more...

Maison Kent. This house was built in 1648 and so may very well be Quebec's oldest building. This is where France signed its capitulation to the British and its named after Queen Victoria's father, the duke of Kent because he lived here for a few years in the late 18th century before he wed her mother. Supposedly, he lived at Maison Kent with his true love, as the marriage was arranged. Today, Maison Kent is the home of the French consulate general, which explains why there's a French flag flying out front.

I adore Quebec City. The architecture and age of everything surrounding you is amazing. The spoken French thrills me. I want to go back so I can visit museums I missed on the first trip as well as walk the city walls.

And finally, the UNESCO monument located outside the Chateau Frontenac, designating Quebec City as a World Heritage Site - the only such site in North America.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to go with you but a little thing called money keeps getting in the way