One of Canada’s most-visited shrines, the Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré (Sanctuaire de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré) attracts more than a million pilgrims every year. Though the shrine’s origins can be traced back to the 17th century, the colossal twin-spired basilica that stands today—which dwarfs the modest village in which it sits—is much newer, having opened only in 1934.
While the Shrine of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré serves as a pilgrimage site, it also attracts sightseers. Visitors come to admire the elaborate construction and its artful stained glass windows, mosaics, and sculptures. The basilica also contains relics (specifically bone fragments) said to belong to St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ.
Most visitors come here as part of organized day tours from Quebec City. Day tours typically include transportation to and from Old Quebec, and make stops at other locations on the outskirts of the city such as Montmorency Falls and Orleans Island (Ile d’Orléans) in the St. Lawrence River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The basilica is a must-visit for fans of history, religion and religious art, and architecture.
- Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica is an active religious site. Be respectful of those worshiping here.
- The basilica is partially accessible to wheelchair users.
- Masses take place several times daily, with extra services on Sunday. All masses are in French.
How to Get There
Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré is fewer than 30 minutes from Quebec City by car. Intercar buses depart from Gare du Palais train station in Quebec City, though departures are infrequent, with buses leaving only every few hours. Depending on their schedule, car-free travelers may find it more convenient to go as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
The shrine is busiest during the summer months, particularly during St. Anne’s feast day on July 26, and during the Novena to St. Anne, which takes place during the week leading up to the feast. Get there around opening (8am) to see the interior at its most peaceful and tranquil.
What Else to See in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
As tiny as the town of Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré is—with fewer than 3,000 residents—it does have a small cluster of tourist attractions. In addition to the basilica, you can see the Cyclorama of Jerusalem, a panoramic artwork depicting the Crucifixion; Musée Edison du Phonograph, a small museum devoted to phonographs; and the Atelier Paré, an economuseum that displays wood sculptures.