Wedged between the St Lawrence River and Cap Diamant, Quebec City’s Lower Town (Basse-Ville) is part of the Vieux Quebec UNESCO World Heritage site. Home to the city’s oldest buildings, there’s plenty to see in Basse-Ville, including the oldest shopping street in North America (Rue du Petit Champlain), and one of Canada’s narrowest streets (Sous-Les-Cap).
A popular place for a wander, and Quebec City’s oldest residential area, Lower Town’s century-old dwellings play host to boutiques and bistros, antique stores and galleries. In summer, street performers entertain outside bustling sidewalk cafes, while in winter the snowy streets are decked with fairy lights and ice statues.
Place Royale is a popular visit while in Basse-Ville. This square is where the Father of New France, Samuel de Champlain, first built a French colony on the shores of St Lawrence. Here you can also see the famous Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church, a National Historic Site which was built on the site of Champlain’s first outpost. Other sights of interest in Lower Town include the Musée de la Civilisation, the Musée naval de Québec, the Caserne Dalhousie, and the Théâtre Petit Champlain.
In the heart of historic Quebec City, to reach the Upper Town from Lower Town, either take the (affectionately named) Breakneck Stairs, or the funicular which costs $2.25 per ride.