Step back in time at Place-Royale, a famous cobblestone town square bordered by 17th- and 18th-century buildings. This is where French America was born, as the first French settlement was started here in 1608.
For more than 200 years, Place-Royale was the town’s main marketplace and center for business activity. In the very beginning, it was also the place where criminals were executed. The square and its houses fell into disrepair during the 1880s and were restored or reconstructed between 1960 and 1980.
Learn about Québec’s heritage with a tour of this small and beautiful plaza, named in honor of King Louis XIV. A replica bust of the French monarch adorns the square. The original bronze sculpture was removed in 1700 and later went missing. The current statue is from 1928.
Dominating Place-Royale is the Church Notre-Dame-des-Victoires built right on top of the spot of the city’s first settlement. Step inside this church, one of the city’s oldest, to view artwork and a fortress-shaped altar.
Get further insight into the square’s history at the Centre d’interprétation de Place-Royale, which is run by the Museum of Civilization. The interpretation center is on a site where 5,000-year-old artifacts were discovered. Some of these ancient objects are on display. Among other attractions is a 3-D movie about the life of Samuel de Champlain, the city’s founder.
Take a few steps away from the plaza to Chevalier House, a mid 18th-century building on Rue du Marché-Champlain. The building was once an inn known as The London Coffee House, which was frequented by naval officers and merchants. Today, the house and its two adjoining buildings are a free museum. See exhibitions on Québec’s architecture and artifacts from the Museum of Civilization’s archives. Conclude your tour with a visit to one of the small cafés or restaurants in the narrow cobblestone streets that flank the square.
Located in Québec City’s Lower Town, Place-Royale is a short walk from the Old Port district and from the cable railway terminal. The square is also served by local bus services.