PLACE ROYALE - LOWER TOWN - QUEBEC CITY
Virtual Picture Tour

If Quebec City is considered as the cradle of French civilization in North America, Place Royale is the birthplace of Quebec City.

Place Royale is a historic square where Samuel de Champlain built a wooden fort and residence called “Habitation”, the first French settlement in North America a few days after his first arrival in 1608. Soon after, Champlain moved his fort to the hilltop of Cape Diamond for better observation and defense. This hilltop became the Upper Town, serving as the center of military, religion and politics.

Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victoires Church in 1759Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victoires Church today

Place Royale and Notre Dame des Victoires Church in 1759 & today

The Habitation area continued to flourish into a marketplace, named Place du Marché (Market Square). In 1686, a bust of Louis XIV was erected in the middle of the square by Intendant Champigny as per French King’s wish. And the square has changed its name from Place du Marché to Place Royale.

By Pierre André - Own workThis file was uploaded with Commonist., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63542233

The bust of Louis XIV in the center of Place Royale square

Place Royale exhibits architectural developments from the 17th through modern French. Along the riverside of the square older buildings were restored faithful to their French origin. On the other half of the square, buildings were restored to reflect the British influences. All buildings were added with modern building materials such as glass and steel, yet retain the over French architectural signature.

With the backdrop of oldest church in North America, vintage buildings and cobblestone square, Place Royale could be further appreciated with unique sites and activities

  • Visit the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church to learn banking little balls of bread in memory of St. Genevieve and admire 17 -18th century religious artifacts.
  • Sip coffee at in the patio at Maison Smith cafe while watching beautiful historic buildings that symbolize the birth of French Canada.
  • Admire the second habitation outline on the ground near the church.
  • Discover the history of New France from Samuel de Champlain’s time in 1600s at Musée de la Place-Royaleon the North side of the square.

Follow tje arrow in the 360o picture below to explore both the exterior and interior of Maison Smith cafe

17th -18th typical stone houses in Place Royale

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church 

 

Located in Place Royale, Notre-Dame-des-Victories is a small Roman Catholic stone church which was built in the very same place as the two “Habitations” of Samuel de Champlain. Stones from the walls of the second “Habitation” are still inside the walls of the church. It was constructed in 1687 and expanded to its present size in 1723. The church was damaged heavily in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and was fully rebuilt in 1816.

By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada - DSC08649 - Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66996590

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was originally devoted to Infant Jesus. However, as the city’s residents had strong belief that it was Virgin Mary who blessed the city to win over two British attacks in 1690 and 1711, the church was renamed as Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, Our Lady of the Victories.

Interior of Notre Dame des Victoires

By Wilfredor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73596369

There are still a lot of valuable religious artifacts remaining in good condition at the church such as 18th and 19th century paintings, the tabernacle of the chapel of Sainte-Geneviève (1724-1730), the replica of the 17th-century ship Le Brézé which was offered as an ex voto.

La Fresque des Québécois Murals

La Fresque des Québécois Mural

Par Wilfredor — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67446082

Sitting not very far from Place Royale, the Fresque des Québécois is the first mural in the city. Painted in 1999, the painting has an enormous size of 420 square feet. It narrates the history of Québec City including the 17th century buildings in Place Royale, the stairs connecting the Lower Town and the Upper Town, and the fortification wall. It also portrays historical characters such as Samuel de Champlain, Ursuline nun Marie de l’Incarnation, New France intendant Jean Talon,… Different cultural communities of the city from indigenous people, French and British settlers, Irish immigrants and today’s Quebecois are also depicted in the mural.

Old Quebec Virtual Tours

Tourist Guide

Virtual Video Tour

Upper Town

Lower Town

Parliament Hill & Plains of Abraham

Inside Quebec City’s Wall

Quartier Petit Champlain

Old Port