Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sightseeing: Quebec City

Doug and I spent our first afternoon in Quebec City walking through the Quartier Petit-Champlain, considered the oldest merchant district in North America.  The 17th century renovated properties today offer several blocks of boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars. 
A bust of Louis XIV (the Sun King) was installed in the public square in 1686; it later became known as Place Royale.

Notre-Dame des Victoires Church was erected in 1688 upon the site called "Arbitation" built by Samuel de Champlain in 1608.

In the heart of the historic district, you'll see the Mural of Quebecers, a fresco in trompe-l'oeil style depicting 15 historical figures and 400 years of Quebec City history.

Adjacent to the historic Chateau Frontenac, walk theTerrasse-Dufferin, a boardwalk clinging to the rock escarpment and giving tourists wonderful views of the St. Lawrence River.

Battlefields Park was created in 1908.  Once the site of clashes between the British and French armies of Wolfe and Montcalm (1759) and then Murray and Levis (1750), the Plains of Abraham are recognized as one of the largest urban parks in the world.  It overlooks the St. Lawrence River.

This plaque at Battlefields Park tells the story of the historic area that was originally grazing land for livestock owned by Abraham Martin, a fisherman and river pilot. 

Today, the urban park is frequently compared to New York's Central Park or London's Hyde Park; in September 2012, a sold-out crowd of 70,000 people attended Madonna's MDNA Tour in the Plains of Abraham.

The Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed landmark in Quebec City, overlooks the shops and restaurants located along the St. Lawrence River.  It was built (opening in 1893) by railroad tycoon Cornelius Van Horne and was the first hotel to belong to the Canadian Pacific railroad empire.

We took the funicular (a sort of incline elevator) from Upper to Lower Town.  It has been operating since 1879 and is one of the only funiculars on the continent.

The Royal Battery, built in 1691, still displays 10 of its original 11 cannons; the fortification saw most of its action during the siege of Quebec in 1759.

The Musee de la Civilisation (looking from the second floor balcony over an interior courtyard) is a popular, unique museum illustrating life in the city during its 400-year history.

Before leaving the Musee de la Civilisation, we decided to see the special exhibition of Samurai armour and Japanese art objects from the collection of Richard Beliveau.  It was wonderful; Doug and I were glad we didn't miss seeing it.

I had a fun visit to Quebec City!!!

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