Founded over 400 years ago, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. Walking through the streets of the Old Town can feel like visiting an open-air museum, with historic sights and buildings dotting practically every street. It’s no wonder UNESCO designated it a world heritage treasure! Our history is richer than the occasional cannon sitting in the corner of a park, though, and visiting our top historic spots is the best way to learn more about how English and French cultures intertwined to create who we are today. Of course, the most obvious sights include the city’s fortifications, but visitors are equally fascinated by the lesser-known history of Place Royale and Artillery Park. Finally, to learn more about today’s politics—a topic that heats up many a conversation in Quebec—a visit to the National Assembly, home to the province’s government, is a must.
La Citadelle de Québec
A star-shaped fortress located in a prime spot overlooking the St. Lawrence River, La Citadelle is a daily reminder of the city’s military past. Built by the British in the early 1800s, it is still an active garrison occupied by the Canadian Forces. The daily changing of the guard, based on Buckingham Palace’s ceremony, is one of the city’s unique summer experiences.
The Québec Fortifications National Historic Site
Québec City is the only city north of Mexico that is still surrounded by fortifications. The three-mile circuit around the Old City offers breathtaking views over the city, the port, and the river. Self-guided tours, guided tours, and family-friendly activities all reveal fascinating details about the city’s history.
Place Royale is a gorgeous public place that makes for pretty pictures, but it’s also one of our most significant historic attractions. Considered the birthplace of French America, it is precisely here that Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. The Place is bordered by historic homes, the oldest stone church in North America, and a history museum.
This military installation has a 250-year history that began with its construction by the French, who used it as their military headquarters in the mid-eighteenth century, and continued through its transformation into an ammunition factory during the Second World War. Today, it’s an interpretation center that houses an intricate scale model of the city in the 1800s.
Assemblée Nationale du Québec
Learn more about the history of Québec’s parliament by visiting the National Assembly, housed in an imposing eighteenth-century building inspired by the Louvre in Paris. Strolling through the gardens, attending parliamentary proceedings, or taking a guided tour are just a few of the activities that make it worth a stop.