After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions and everyday life after your class is over. Explore the Old City on foot, or on bikes, and see the tiny streets, sample the cuisine, visit the local shops and stores. Admire the local architecture, the gardens and the river, and visit the museums for an entertaining learning experience like never before.
Main Sights: Get to Know Quebec
The Chateau Frontenac is built overlooking the river Saint Lawrence in the heart of the Old City. It was built in 1892 and 1893, designed by the American architect Bruce Price, and was a part of a chain of hotels built the "château" style, for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel was named after the Count of Frontenac, and built close to the Citadelle. It is, perhaps the most conspicuous feature of the city skyline, and the most famous landmark of Quebec.
Facing the Chateau Frontenac is a wide promenade with 310 wooden steps leading up to the Citadel, which is at a height of about 100 metres above the St Lawrence River. The Citadel is a large star-shaped old fort, still occupied by soldiers. It also houses the Museum of the Citadel, where you can see medals, badges, uniforms and textiles and the weapons of the military units from Quebec City.
Porte St-Louis and City Walls:
The cliffs provide a natural defense from the river. The French built a wooden palisade fence in 1690 along the western side of the city. In 1745, ramparts of dirt and stone were erected. It was the British who built the walls along the north and east sides which were completed by the early 1800’s. At one time the gates were removed to provide for better traffic flow.
Porte St-Louis and Porte Kent were rebuilt as chateau style structures during the beautification program of Canadian Governor General Lord Dufferin (1872-1878). The Porte St-Jean was built in 1936 and Porte Prescott in 1983. Near the St-Louis Gate, the Poudrière de l’Esplanade serves as a reception center for Quebec’s fortifications.
The ramparts can be explored via a three mile walkway along the top. Quebec City has the distinction of being the only fortified city in North America, north of Mexico.
Place Royale, in the heart of the Basse Ville, is the place where the first permanent French settlers started settling in in New France. Initially, in the 17th and 18th centuries, it used to be the town market place and the centre of business, and was known as the “Place du Marché”. The name changed to “Place Royale” when, in 1686, a bust of Louis XIV was erected.
Situated between Cap Diamant and the river, Place Royale now has several historic buildings such as the Church of Notre Dame des Victoires, the Interpretive Centre Place Royale, and some of the foundations of the residence of the Champlain. During the Seven Year War, the buildings on Place Royale lost roofs and interiors to enemy fire.
The stone walls remained, however, and the buildings were reconstructed. Today Place Royale has been beautifully restored and is one of the oldest districts on the continent.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
Picturesque Quebecois villages surround Quebec City. East of the city, opposite the Ile d’Orleans are the Montmorency Falls and further on, the Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre and Mont Sainte-Anne. The latter is the main ski resort in the famous Laurentians (or Laurentides) skiing region, which is also a provincial park, and has a large network of cross country and downhill biking trails.
Along the south shore of the lower part of the river Saint Lawrence, lies the farming region of Bas-Saint-Laurent, and further on is the Gaspé Peninsula. The major attractions here are the Rocher Percé in the Gaspé Provincial Park and Forillon National Park.
The Montmorency Falls are an amazing sight. 90 feet higher than the Niagara Falls, at 83.5 metres, they're about 15 minutes northeast of Quebec City. The Montmorency River joins the St. Lawrence, and plunges 274 feet over the cliff. Although the falls are higher than Niagara, they are not as wide. A provincial park, the Parc de la Chute Montmorency, surrounds the waterfall and is accessible throughout the year.
Tourists can view this from a number of places like the cable car, a footbridge at the top, or stairs which go down to near the bottom. A mountain of ice builds up at the bottom of the falls in the winter, caused by the freezing spray and called the “Sugarloaf” (or “pain de sucre”).
Architecture: Discover Unique Styles & Structures
Maison Louis Jolliet:
Louis Jolliet, who discovered the Mississippi River together with Father Jacques Marquette, lived in this house until his death. It was designed for him in 1663. Later he became a successful fur trader and navigator, and in his later years was hydrographer for Louis XIV. Jolliet died in 1700.
The Batterie built in 1690 and was part of Louis XIV’s defense system to fend off British attacks. There were originally 11 cannons built on in 1712, 10 of which still remain. Damaged in attacks in 1759, it has been restored several times.
Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, the Citadel is a National Historic Site of Canada. Built on top of the Cape Diamant, above the St. Lawrence, it is part of the defences of Quebec City. The Citadelle is considered to be a part of the walls around the city, and is still occupied by troops of the Canadian Army. There is a guided tour, and in summer there is a changing of the guard ceremony.
Seminaire de Quebec:
This seminary played a major role in the development of the colony. It was founded by Bishop Laval as a training center for priests in 1663, and was later converted to a boys’ school. Later, it became Laval University, the first French speaking university in North America. The university has now moved to Ste-Foy, but the faculty of architecture still uses the original seminary buildings. This part of town is often called the “Latin Quarter”.
Chapels: Step Onto Sacred Ground
Ursuline Chapel and Museum:
The Ursuline nuns of the Roman Catholic order arrived in Canada in 1639, established a convent and later, a girls’ school. This would be the first in North America, and still operates. There is also a museum, and the collection shows the 120 years of Ursuline life during the French rule (1639-1759). There are also native North American artifacts.
The Ursuline chapel has been restored since the wars, but still contains many original walls, and much of the interior of the 1723 chapel. It has been recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and runs two campuses.
Basilique-Cathedrale Notre Dame:
The oldest in North America, this site of Catholic worship was built in 1647. It used to be in control of the religious administration of all New France, up to the Mississippi River.
The interior of the church is rich and colourfully decorated. There is a chancel lamp given by Louis XIV, and Governors Frontenac, François de Callières and Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de la Jonquière, and most of the bishops of Quebec, are buried in the crypt. During the attacks of 1759, the church was destroyed, and in 1768 Jean Baillarge started the rebuilding. Subsequently, four generations of the Baillarge family would contribute to the church’s restoration.
This is the oldest church in the city. Construction was started in 1688, in stone, and was named “Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire” when Admiral Phipps was defeated in 1690. The Ursuline nuns, who had prayed for the city’s deliverance, attributed it to the Virgin Mary.
Later, the name was changed to “Notre-Dame-des-Victoires” when Admiral Walker’s fleet was shipwrecked in the river in 1711. The altar is sculpted in the form of a castle, and there is a side chapel dedicated to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. There’s also a model of “le Brezé”, which was the ship that transported the Marquis de Tracy and his soldiers to New France in 1664, suspended from the ceiling.