"Lower Town (Basse Ville)" Place Royale & Le Petit Champlain Tip by Scotsgal

  CHATEAU FRONTENAC, QUEBEC CITY
by Scotsgal
 
 

The oldest and most interesting part of the Lower Town is the section to the immediate east of the Upper Town. The two 'towns' are connected by a funicular that travels up and down the cape, but the most rewarding path between them is carved out by a collection of steep, winding streets and short-cut staircases, one of which is encouragingly called Break-Neck Staircase (Escalier Casse-Cou). The well-trafficked thoroughfares at the cape's base include Rue du Petit Champlain and Rue Sous le Cap, two of the oldest streets in North America and, with mere individual widths of 2.5m (8.2ft), also two of the narrowest. The Lower Town's main meeting point is the 400-year-old Place Royale, a human vortex surrounded by nicely aged buildings and overpriced tourist emporiums.

On the western side of Place Royale is the Église Notre Dame des Victoires, a modest edifice built in 1688 and ranked the oldest stone church on the continent. Hanging in the church's interior is a replica of a wooden boat called the Brézé, considered a luck charm for Atlantic navigators.

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  • Updated May 24, 2003
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