The passing of centuries has had little impact on this cobbled 17th-century plaza, which has been at the center of Quebec City life since Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. The Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, the oldest stone church in North America, still stands here, and the Fresque des Québécois mural can be seen nearby.
With its cobbled surfaces and centuries-old stone-brick buildings, Place Royale’s film-set good looks make it one of Canada’s most charming squares. Almost all sightseeing tours of Old Quebec, whether done by foot or by bike, include Place Royale on their itinerary, alongside other historical city landmarks, such Place d’Armes, Chateau Frontenac, and the Plains of Abraham. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also stop near the square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- As the birthplace of New France, Place Royale is a must-see for history-buffs.
- The ground at Place Royale is cobbled and uneven and is best suited to able-bodied travelers.
- Allow some time to explore the boutiques dotting the square.
- Bring a camera as the square makes for a picturesque backdrop.
How to Get There
Place Royale is located in Quebec’s Lower Town (Basse-Ville) and is just a short walk from Quebec City Ferry Terminal. To get there from the Gare du Palais train station, ride the number 1 or 11 buses.
When to Get There
Place Royale is located within Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From May through October, many tourists descend on this part of the city, often from cruise ships, and the square can get busy. If you want to photograph the square without the crowds, get there early in the day.
North of the square just off Notre-Dame Street (Rue Notre-Dame) sits the large Fresque des Québécois mural, which covers the entire side of a 5-story building. The mural references the history of Quebec City, with some 30 notable figures included in it, among them former political leaders, artists, and writers.