Monday, February 16, 2015

Québec's Basse-Ville

 
Because you know I'm all about that Basse.

If Old Québec's Haute-Ville seemed charming and lovely all covered in snow, the Lower City was a veritable winter wonderland. This is the oldest part of the city, so cute and old, in fact, that it doesn't seem entirely real. Located at the base of Cap Diamant, there are two ways to get there on foot. The first is by walking, starting with a slightly steep and winding street, and ending with a staircase known as 'Casse-Cou', or Breakneck, Stairs. Today's version is perfectly safe, with railing and space to stop and take pictures, but the old ones were supposedly treacherous enough to earn their name.



And now you've arrived Rue du Petit-Champlain, which is straight out of a Disney movie. Loads of shops and restaurants line the street. Grab some maple candy, which is so very good and so very Canadian (especially if you get the kind that's shaped like tiny Maple leaves - oh, Canada!).



Away from the commercial hustle and bustle, Place Royale recalls the history of Québec.This is where Samuel Champlain first founded the city, for France, in 1608. You'll find both a museum on the city's French roots and the picturesque Notre-Dame-des-Victoire, the oldest stone church in North America. 




At the far end of the square you'll find a giant mural that incorporates characters from 400 years of city history. (A few of whom seemed a little under-dressed for the weather.) To return to the Upper-City, we took the funicular. It's a super-steep railway rather than a hanging gondola, and gives great views of the Saint Lawrence River as you're crawling back up.

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