Place Royale & Le Petit Champlain, Quebec
Escalier Casse-Cou, literally means Breakneck Steps, is the steep stairway linking the Upper Town and Lower Town. There are 170 steps, with shops and restaurants lining at both sides.
From here, you can get a good view of the narrow streets and the buildings of Lower Town.
Rue du Petit-Champlain is the oldest street in Quebec. It was once the main street of a busy village where the riches lived. Today it is lined with small boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and cafes.
This mural is located near the end of rue du Petit-Champlain. It's in a smaller scale compared to the more famous Fresque des Quebecois. But it is quite detailed with life-size paintings, depicting the lives of villagers in the past.
The stairs give a nice perspective of the passage from the Upper town to the Lower town. I highly recommend it instead of taking the funicular all the time. There are even coffee and restaurants along the way.
This staircase is tucked between two rows of buildings and winds precipitously down from côte de la Montagne to rue du Petit-Champlain. A staircase already existed in the same location in 1660. Originally known as "l'Escalier Casse-cou" in French, the Anglophone population of the city named it the "Breakneck Staircase" in the 19th century.
The Breakneck staircase was redesigned in 1968. The most recent renovations date back to the 1990s. The many terraces located along the staircase give onto boutiques and restaurants located in 19th century homes.
I won't even try to explain this entry. Nowadays, every time a Must See is listed, it's called cliché and followed by apologies.
well... it's sometimes a waste of time, and sort of dumb to think that everything worth seeing about a place has got to be "cliché". You can go to Quebec City and spend all your time in the suburbs, or outside the Old Walled City. There's lots of fun to be had there too.
But you haven't been to Quebec City if you haven't been intra-muros. So forget the cliché, forget the crowds... yes, lots of people in Old Quebec. But also, the greatest concentration of bars, restaurants, theatres, cafés, daylife, nightlife, everything. So don't miss it just to be a reverse snob. You'll never be able to say you've been there unless you join the crowds. The crowds are not just tourists, Quebeckers flock to the Old Town too, all the time.
The pic is taken in front of L'Habitation, the first dwelling in Quebec City, founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. High up there is the Château Frontenac, THE Québec landmark. It's all wonderful, even to one born and raised there, like me!
I suppose the name "Breakneck Stairs" is self-explanatory, fall down the stairs and break your neck. This is one of two ways to get from the upper town to the lower town, the other is a funicular, both of which arrive at the intersection of rues Petit-Champlain and Sous-le-Fort.
From the Place Royale web site:
Place-Royale was originally built by Samuel de Champlain as a fort and a trading post. Place Royale's rich history has always had it's roots in trade.
The Vieux-Port (Old Port) area adjacent to Place-Royale was one of the four largest ports in North America till the end of the 19th Century when the St-Lawrence river was dredged to allow year-round access to Montreal.
The area is situated on the banks of the St-Lawrence River with spectacular views of the Upper-Town. The funicular allows easy access to the upper part of the city. On Place-Royale you will find the fresque des Quebecois and the oldest church North of Mexico.
Place-Royale and the Old- Port abounds with boutiques, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries, comfortable and luxurious hotels and Craftspeople.
Whether you are looking for gourmet dinning or a cafe terrace to relax and have a drink or that special item to take home, you will find everything you want in this area.
Place Royale/Old-Port has many activities throughout year. During the month of August the sector returns to the days of Quebec’s foundation with Les fetes de la Nouvelle- France. During the month of December Christmas time in Quebec fills the streets with carolers, and lots of other holiday-spirited events. January and Febuary is when the Québec winter Carnaval takes over the city. A comprehensive list of activities sponsored by the Musée de la civilization and other information on PLACE ROYALE is a must before planning your vacation.
Built in 1752 for ship owner Jean-Baptiste Chevalier, the existing structure incorporated two older buildings, dating from 1675 and 1695. It was run as an inn throughout the 19th century. The Québec government restored the house in 1960, and it became a museum 5 years later. Inside, with its exposed wood beams, wide-board floors, and stone fireplaces, are changing exhibits on Québec history and civilization, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Place Royal was the original market area of central Quebec City. After years of decline, it has been reconstructed to its former look. There are many historic buildings here including houses and the other Notre Dame church of Quebec City. This area also hosts live music and other performances in the summer.
Located in the Place Royale in Lower Town, the Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victory Church) is the oldest church in Quebec, built in 1688 on the site of Samuel Champlain's 1st residence. Champlain was the Father of New France and founder of Quebec City. The name of the church comes from the French victories over the British in 1690 and in 1711.
Admission is free, go inside to see the scale model suspended from the ceiling of Le Breze, the ship that transported French soldiers to New France in 1664 to fight the Iroquis. The paintings throughout the interior are all copies.
Verrerie La Mailloche is located on the corner of Escalier Casse-Cou. If you enter from the top of the steps you will walk right into the glass boutique. If you enter from the bottom of the steps you will feel the intense heat of the glass blowing furnace. This is the workshop. Grab a spot and watch the artisans at work as they use their amazing talents to create these beautiful masterpieces. Admission is free.
The Governor’s Promenade begins at the western end of the Terrace and leads to the Plains of Abraham. At the eastern end, steps lead to Petit Champlain, the lower town. You can ride the Funaculaire du Vieux-Quebec, a glass enclosed cable car that runs at a 45 degree angle up the bluff from one level to the other. It's more fun to take the steps down and the cable car up again. At the bottom a short walk down Cote de la Montagne brings you to a set of steps leading to vibrant Petit Champlain. The street is lined with buildings exhibiting excellent early architectural styles. Many are now cafes and specialty shops. Two of the oldest buildings in Quebec, Place de Paris and Place-Royale, are located in the lower town.
Rue de Petit Champlain is famous as the oldest street in North America. It is full of restaurants, cafes, shops and tourists. It is located in the Old Port area of Quebec, just below the front of the Chateau Frontenac.
When visiting this quaint area, you will feel like you've gone back in time several hundred years as you look at the cobblestone streets & old buildings. You will see people dressed in old-style clothing as they make pottery and other crafts. There is a great mural at 102 rue du Petit-Champlain depicting many of the old craftsmen at work in the area.
Place royale is the centerpiece of Quebec's old town. dating back more than 400 years, the site is home to the first french settlement on the North American continent. the place royale represents what would be the marketplace during the early years. The cobblestone streets, the beautiful fountain and the gorgeous church all add to the ambience of the place royale. any trip to quebec city would nt be complete without seeing it for yourself.
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.