Momboisse Family Adventures Quebec City, Quebec

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Quebec City, Quebec
621 Nautical Miles from Charlottetown

As we cruised down the Saint Lawrence River we finally experienced the vibrant fall colors we had been waiting for.  

Arrival in Quebec City was breathtakingly 
beautiful.  Quebec truly lived up to its name, "crown jewel of French Canada." 

Taking the advice of my brother and sister-in-law, we booked a two hour Grand Tour of Old Town through Voir Quebec ($22 per person US).  We met our tour at 12 Rue Sainte-Anne an easy walk from our ship which was docked at Pier 22 (150 Rue Dalhousie Street).

Auberge du Tresor 

Our tour begins at the Place d' Armes which was created in the 1640's by Governor Montmagny to serve as a place for military exercise for the French troops who would see much action from the British over the next hundred years or so.  

The statue in this square is the monument to the Faith.  Erected in 1915 on the tercentenary of the arrival of the Récollets (French branch of the Franciscans Friars) in Quebec City.   

Here in the Place d' Armes under the shadow of the Château Frontenac our guide gave us a short history lesson on Quebec.

Jacques Cartier Meets Indians at Stadacone by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté

Before European exploration, the entire region was settled by various Aboriginal groups.  In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived and claimed territory on the Gaspe Peninsula (Gulf of Saint Lawrence) in the name of the King of France. The following year, Cartier was back again, this time he ventured down the Saint Lawrence to the Iroquoian village of Stadacone, which is near present day Quebec City.  In 1541 he was back for his last time and established the first French settlement and fort, Charlesbourg Royal.

In 1608, another Frenchman, Samuel de Champlain founded New France and Kebec, now known as Quebec City.  For the rest of the 1600’s, the French and the English fought over control of Canada.

Representation of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham by George B. Campion 

In 1759 the English settled the score on the Plains of Abraham - - and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 removed France from Canadian territory completing the British takeover.  The French language was replaced by English, though most people refused to give up French choosing to be bilingual instead.

It was clear that the French would not be Anglicized in language or religion forcing Parliament to pass the Quebec Act in 1774 which restored French civil laws and revoked the Test Act (used to suppress Catholicism).  

This didn't last long as Parliament repealed the Quebec Act in 1791 and the Canadian colony was divided into two provinces Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec). In 1867 four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) of British North America agreed to form a Canadian Confederation called the Dominion of Canada.  Today there are ten provinces and three territories.  

Our next stop is the monument to Samuel de Champlain and UNESCO. In 1985 the Historic District of Old Quebec was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage site.  It was the first city in North America to earn this distinction. 

Our tour curves around 

the massive Château Frontenac 

This was designed by American architect Bruce Price as one of a series of hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Along the wood planked
                          Terrasse Dufferin 

to the Governors' Garden and 

the Wolfe-Montcalm monument.  Here we took a seat and our guide re-enacted the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in three minutes.

The battle was fought just outside the walls of Quebec City on a farm owned by Abraham Martin (hence the name of the battle) - - the British Army was commanded by General James Wolfe against the French Army under the command of General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm. 

Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West

The battle on September 13, 1759 was the culmination of a three month siege of the area by the British.  Though won by the British, both generals were mortally wounded during the hour long fight.  Wolfe died on the field from three gunshot wounds and Montcalm died the following morning at the Ursuline Convent where he had been taken for treatment for his wounds.

General Montcalm, mortally wounded on the Plains of Abraham,
 is taken to Quebec by 
Louis Bombled 

The monument erected in 1828 has a Latin inscription which translates “Their courage gave them a common death, history a common fame, posterity a common memorial.”  

Leaving the Governors' Garden we are on Rue Haldimand and stop at the corner of Rue Saint Louis at Kent House.  Here is a view from Google Maps.

Currently undergoing major renovations, it doesn't look like much, but it has history.   A lot of history. 

Most of the foundation and much of the first floor at 25 Rue Saint-Louis is all that is left of the original house built between 1648-1650 for Louis d’Ailleboust de Coulonge the 4th Governor of New France and his wife Marie-Barbe de Boulogne.

Considered the oldest house in Quebec City it is actually named after its most famous resident, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn.  Prince Edward, who was the fourth son of King George III and father of Queen Victoria, lived in this house for three years in the 1790’s with his mistress Madame de Saint-Laurent.  But that’s not all.  In 1759, the Articles of Capitulation of Quebec (the terms of surrender) were signed here.  

Our tour is now in the heart of Old Quebec with horse drawn carriages the norm.  

34 rue Saint-Louis is what our guide says is a perfect example of French Canadian architecture - plain white front, and steeply pitched tin roof with dormers. Considered the second oldest house in Quebec, built between 1675 - 1676 for Francois Jacquet on land given to him by his neighbors, the Ursuline Nuns.  

We pass an Italian restaurant, Parmesan - then at the corner of Rue du Parloir turn right 

to access the courtyard
of the Ursuline Sisters. 

Google Maps showing 
Chapelle des Ursulines

Marie de l'Incarnation brought the Ursuline Sisters to Quebec in 1639 to administer to the spiritual needs of the community as well as to start the first hospital and first school.  When they arrived they took up residence in one of the very few buildings in the Lower Town.  In 1642 they moved to their permanent home in the Upper Town.  

The carved wood of the altar was gilded by the Ursuline Sisters.  The statue to the left of the altar is of Saint Augustine, above the altar is Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus, and the statue to the right is Saint Ursula, their patroness. 

Marie de l'Incarnation died in 1672, she was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by Pope Francis in 2014. The remains of Saint Marie de l'Incarnation rest in the oratory just off the chapel (shown above).

The iron gate that once separated the nuns from the public during Mass (shown below).  Due to a lack of vocations and an aging community, the Ursuline Sisters moved in 2017 from their convent home of over 400 years to assisted living. 

Leaving the Chapel of the Ursuline our tour meanders down narrow Donnacona and des Jardins streets 

to the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral. Built between 1800 and 1804 this was the first Anglican cathedral built outside the British Isles. 

Continue down Rue des 
Jardins to Quebec City Hall   

and Place de Hotel de Ville.  Here we find the Monument of Cardinal Elzear-Alexandre Taschereau (1820-1898), an Archbishop of Quebec and the first Canadian Cardinal.   

Off the Place de Hotel de Ville  is the old Seminary of Quebec. Founded in 1663 by Francois de Laval for the purpose of training priests. It became an educational institution for boys in 1765, and in 1852 the first French university in North America.  The entrance is through the gate on the left below.  On the right of that gate, marked Holy Door in the picture is the Holy Door at Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral which was open from December 2015 to November 2016.

Entrance to the Holy Door was blocked, we entered through the gate to the seminary courtyard. 

Today, the seminary serves as a private Catholic secondary school.  

Our next stop is the
Basilica Notre-Dame de Quebec, 
the first Catholic cathedral
 erected north of Mexico.   

In 1633, Samuel de Champlain had a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary built here.  The current basilica is the product of a series of reconstructions erected on Champlain's original church. 

Four governors of New France are buried here, as well as Francois de Laval the first bishop of New France.  Saint Francois de Lavel was canonized by Pope Francis in 2014. Quebec City has two saints!!

The baldacchino is patterned after the altar in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.  

Down the Cote de la Montagne
to the Escalier Casse-Cou
(Breakneck Steps) 

into the Lower Town.

The lower entrance to the Funicular (just off the Breakneck Steps) is the Maison Louis-Jolliet.   

Built in 1683, this home belonged to Louis Jolliet who, along with Father Jacques Marquette, discovered the Mississippi in 1673.  Since 1879 the building has housed the lower station of the funicular connecting Lower Town to Upper Town. 

From here our tour explored some of the nooks and crannies of the Rue de Petit Champlain. Considered one of the narrowest streets in North America, it forms the heart of Quartier Petit-Champlain, the continent's oldest commercial district.  This pedestrian only stone street is filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants.  

At the end of the Rue de Petit-Champlain is a mural created in 2001 that depicts milestones in the history of Quebec City's working-class waterfront neighborhood.  

At the rue du Cul-de-Sac we pass three historic homes called the Chevalier Historical Houses. Built in 1752, these are part of the Quebec Musees de la civilization.

Our final stop on our walking tour is Place-Royale.  Located in the Lower Town, it is nicknamed "the cradle of French civilization in America" as it is considered the site where Samuel de Champlain started the construction of a fortified post in 1608. After a fire in 1682, the buildings were rebuilt with stone and in 1690, cannons were placed here to hold off the attacks of the British navy.  

In the Place-Royale is Notre-Dame-des-Victories Church (Catholic), dating from 1688, it was named for French victories over the British in 1690 and 1711.  Sadly, the church was locked up tight. 

We left our tour guide here and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring on our own before heading back to the ship

and our last night on 

board the Crown Princess.  

Farewell view of  Château Frontenac  
from our cabin. 

Until next time, Happy Adventures! 
For an interactive map and guided walking tour covering many of our tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store. The App covers an extensive library of articles and walking tours from over 470 cities worldwide, and now features articles from Adventures of a Home Town Tourist covering Carmel and Monterey (with more cities on the way).
Photography (with iphone 5s) by L.A. Momboisse and R.M. Momboisse unless otherwise listed below:

Jacques Cartier Meets Indians at Stadacone by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
Representation of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham by George B. Campion Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West
General Montcalm, mortally wounded on the Plains of Abraham, is taken to Quebec by Louis Bombled 


  1. Vacation with family is a very appropriate choice. Thank you for sharing your vacation experiences and knowledge.


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