After walking from the parking lot in front of the Musée de la civilisation (which I couldn’t visit due to time constraints) into Basse-Ville (Lower Town) of Québec City, I was immediately transported from North America to what felt like Europe. The first thing I came to in this UNESCO World Heritage city was Parc de la Cetière, where foundations of the first homes in the city were built between 1650 and 1670. Across from the foundations is the Fresque de Québécois, a mural of Québec history and culture.
Place Royale was just a few steps away. This is the spot where Québec was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. Lining the square were several historic buildings. In the middle is a bust of French king Louis XIV. At one end sits Église Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, built in 1688.
I wandered through some of the side streets, paying special attention to the architecture and historic buildings. There are several shops and cafes on some of the streets, especially Boulevard Champlain and Rue du Petit-Champlain. It’s a very quaint little area.
There’s also Maison Chevalier, a historic home (actually what used to be three homes) built in 1752. It became a museum in 1965 focusing on life in the 18th and 19th century. I decided not to visit. Admission is free as of September 2016.
Finally, I came to Escalier Casse-Cou, the stairway that leads from Basse-Ville to Haute-Ville (Upper Town). The name literally means “Breakneck Steps”. If you don’t want to walk and risk breaking your neck, there is also a funicular.
Once at the top of the stairs and before continuing on to Haute-Ville, I stopped at Parc Montmorency and took in the views of Basse-Ville and the St. Lawrence River. There was also a great view of Château Frontenac, the most recognized landmark in Québec, and a statue of politician George-Étienne Cartier. Parc Montmorency was once the site of two parliament buildings from 1791 to 1883, with the new parliament building located outside of the old city.