With cobbled streets, stone facades, and windows with colorful flower baskets, Rue du Petit-Champlain welcomes tourists all year round to come to experience the ambience of the New French period. This picturesque street consists of 45 stores and bistros, all belong to a local cooperative of artisans. It stays illuminated even in cold winter months with 15,000 lightbulbs lighting up the streetscape to create an enchanting ambience ideal for an evening stroll. The area is often so crowded that tourists are advised to visit either early in the day or in the evening.
The city government planned of destroying the whole area to make way for a parking in the 1960s. Two businessmen Gerry Paris and architect Jacques de Blois initiated an ambitious project in 1977 to restore the houses and create a living and trading community for artisans. In 1980, there was about 30 artisans living, producing and selling their traditional products in Rue du Petit-Champlain. When Paris and de Blois withdrew from the project in 1985, there were twice as many artisan residents – businesses who made up the Quartier Petit Champlain cooperative
There had been only two ways to travel between the Upper Town and the Lower Town of Quebec City, either by horse or on foot, until 1879 when the funicular railway was constructed by William Griffith. The first version of the funicular operation based on water ballast system of propulsion in which a water tank was placed at the top of the 2 cars. The tank of the car on the top of the railway would be filled up with water until it became heavy enough to be pulled down the track while the counterbalanced cabin at the bottom was pulled up.
The funicular propulsion was transformed into electric power system in 1907 and reconstructed with metal in 1946 as it was damaged heavily in a fire. The structure was fitted with glass in 1978 so passengers could admire beautiful views of St. Lawrence River and the Lower Town from a height of 59 metters. It was renovated into a system of 2 separate 45 degree inclined elevators in 1998, linking four historic areas: Dufferin Terrace in the Upper Town to Quartier Petit-Champlain, Place-Royale and the Old Port in Lower Town.
By Christophe.Finot – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2758243
Built in 1635, the Breakneck Steps (or Escalader casse-cou in French) is the oldest stairway in Quebec City. It was originally a steep path connecting the Lower Town to the Upper Town. It went through renovation several times. In 1680, the path was replaced with stairs. Then in 1893, it was rebuilt with a more solid, three-ramp iron structure designed by engineer Charles Baillairgé. It had its present name in the mid of 19th century due to the hill’s steep slope
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