Top Historic Sights in Quebec City, Canada

Explore the historic highlights of Quebec City

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is a small Roman Catholic stone church in the Lower Town of Quebec City. Built on the site of Samuel de Champlain’s 1608 Habitation, it is the first permanent French establishment in North America; a symbol of the French presence in North America. The construction was started in 1687 and completed in 1723. The church was largely destroyed by the British bombardment that preceded the Bat ...
Founded: 1687-1723 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City Hall

The City Hall of Quebec City (Hôtel de ville de Québec) was inaugurated on September 15, 1896. The building slopes downward as it was built on a hill and was once home to the Jesuit College (Jesuit Barracks) from the 1730s to 1878. Designed by architect Georges-Émile Tanguay (1858-1923), it is the second permanent city hall for the old city. From 1842 to 1896 City Hall sat at home of British Army Major General ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Citadelle of Quebec

The Citadelle of Quebec is an active military installation and official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. It is located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The citadel is the oldest military building in Canada, and forms part of the fortifications of Quebec City, which is one of only two cities in North America still surrounded by forti ...
Founded: 1693 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec

The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec is the oldest church in the Americas north of the Spanish colonies in Florida and New Mexico. It is a National Historic Site of Canada, and located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic District of Old Québec. Located on this site since 1647, the cathedral has twice been destroyed by fire throughout the centuries. A previous iteration of the church was de ...
Founded: 1647 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Historic District of Old Québec

Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. French explorer Jacques Cartier built a fort at the site in 1535, where he stayed for the winter before going back to France in spring 1536. Quebec city was actually founded by Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer and diplomat on 3 July 1608, and at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement called Stadacona. Quebec was t ...
Founded: 1608 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Château Frontenac

The Château Frontenac is a grand hotel in Quebec, Canada. The hotel is generally recognized as the most photographed hotel in the world, largely for its prominence in the skyline of Quebec City. The current hotel capacity is more than 600 rooms on 18 floors. The Château Frontenac was designed by American architect Bruce Price, as one of a series of 'château' style hotels built for the Canadian Pacifi ...
Founded: 1893 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Sainte-Trinité) is the cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec. The Diocese of Quebec was founded in 1793 and its first bishop, Dr. Jacob Mountain, gave his early attention to the erection of a cathedral. The completed building, designed by military officers William Robe and William Hall and built between 1800 and 1804, was consecrated on August 28, 1804. It was the first Angli ...
Founded: 1800-1804 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Fortifications of Québec

The ramparts of Quebec City are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America north of Mexico. The British began refortifying the existing walls, after they took Quebec City from the French in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The wall, which runs on the eastern extremity on the Promontory of Quebec, surrounds most of Old Quebec, which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in ...
Founded: 1620-1759 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Ursuline Monastery

The Ursuline Monastery of Quebec City was founded by a missionary group of Ursuline nuns in 1639. It is the oldest institution of learning for women in North America. Today, the monastery serves as the General Motherhouse of the Ursuline Sisters of the Canadian Union. The community there also operates an historical museum and continues to serve as a teaching centre.
Founded: 1639 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site

Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site commemorates the second voyage of Jacques Cartier; more precisely in 1535-1536 when he and his shipmates wintered near the Iroquoian village of Stadacona (Quebec City). It also recalls the establishment of the first residence of the Jesuit missionaries in Quebec, in 1625-1626. Moreover, by the end of the 17th century up to the opening of the national historic site in 1972, it host ...
Founded: 1535 | Location: Quebec City, Canada

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Aranjuez

Palacio Real de Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It was established around the time Philip II of Spain moved the capital from Toledo to Madrid. Aranjuez became one of four seasonal seats of government, occupied during the springtime (from about holy week). Thereafter, the court moved successively to Rascafría, El Escorial and wintered in Madrid. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After the Christian conquest, Aranjuez was owned by the Order of Santiago and a palace was built for its Grand Masters where the Royal Palace stands today. When the Catholic Monarchs assumed the office of Grand Master of the Order of Santiago, Aranjuez became part of the Royal estate. This fertile land, located between the Tajo and Jarama Rivers, was converted into the Spanish monarchy"s most lavish country retreat: during Spain"s Golden Age, Aranjuez became a symbol for the perfection of nature by mortal hands, as El Escorial was for art.

Such excellence was based on strong Renaissance foundations, as Charles V envisaged this inherited estate as a large Italian-inspired villa, a desire continued by Philip II who appointed Juan Bautista de Toledo to design leafy avenues that ran through the gardens and farming land. A series of dams was constructed in the 16th century to control the course of the Tajo River and create a network of irrigation canals.

The splendour of the estate was only enhanced by the Bourbon monarchs, who would spend the whole spring, from Easter to July, at the Palace. Phillip V added new gardens and Ferdinand VI designed a new system of tree-lined streets and created a small village within the estate, which was further developed by Charles III and Charles IV. As Ferdinand VII and Isabella II continued to visit Aranjuez during the spring, the splendour of this site was maintained until 1870.

The Royal Palace, built by Phillip II on the site of the old palace of the Grand Masters of Santiago, was designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo –under whom construction began in 1564– and later Juan Herrera, who only managed to finish half the project. Although glimpses of the original layout still remain, the building itself is more characteristic of the classicism favoured by the Hapsburg monarchs, with alternating white stone and brick. The original design was continued by Phillip V in 1715 but not finished until 1752 under Ferdinand VI. The rectangular layout that Juan Bautista de Toledo had planned, and that took two centuries to complete, was only maintained for 20 years, since in 1775 Charles III added two wings onto the Palace.

Real Casa del Labrador

As the Prince of Asturias, Charles IV was a frequent visitor to the pier pavilions built by Ferdinand VI and grew up playing in the Prince’s Garden. When he became King, he decided to build a new country house at the far end of these gardens, known as the Casa del Labrador (the labourer"s house) due to its modest exterior that was designed to heavily contrast the magnificent internal decor. It was built by chief architect Juan de Villanueva and his pupil Isidro González Velázquez, who designed some of the interior spaces. These rooms, developed in various stages until 1808, are the greatest example of the lavish interior decor favoured by this monarch in his palaces and country retreats. Highlights at this Site include the combination of different types of art and the luxurious textiles, in particular the silks from Lyon, as well as wealth of original works on the main floor, where Ferdinand VII added various paintings and landscapes by Brambilla.

King"s Garden, the Island Garden, Parterre Garden and the Prince"s Garden

Phillip II, a great lover of gardens, paid special attention to this feature of the Aranjuez Palace: during his reign, he maintained both the Island Garden, designed by the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and the King"s Garden, immediately adjacent to the Palace and whose current layout was designed by Philip IV. The majority of the fountains on this island were commissioned by Phillip IV, while the Bourbons added other features such as the Charles III benches.

Phillip V made two French-style additions to the existing gardens: the Parterre Garden in front of the palace and the extension at the far end of the Island Garden, known as the Little Island, where he installed the Tritons Fountain that was later moved to the Campo del Moro park by Isabella II.

The Prince"s Garden owes its name and creation to the son and heir of Charles III who, in the 1770s, began to use Ferdinand VI"s old pier for his own enjoyment. He also created a landscaped garden in the Anglo-French style that was in fashion at the time and which was directly influenced by Marie Antoinette"s gardens at the Petit Trianon. Both Juan de Villanueva and Pablo Boutelou collaborated in the design of this garden.