Place-Royale is one of the smallest neighbourhoods of Quebec City, but don’t let its size fool you! After exploring Old Quebec City’s Upper Town, take the funicular down to rue Sous-le-Fort – or the walk down Côte de la Montagne and descend the breakneck stairs and onto rue Sous-le-Fort, then walk down to rue Notre-Dame and turn left.
This is where the colony of New France began. The beginning of the great city of Quebec. Place-Royale, Quebec City did not always look as it does today. In the late 19th-century, Place-Royale was occupied by Irish immigrants who worked in the Navy yards at the base of Montmorency Falls and along the Saint-Lawrence River. When the Irish left Quebec to settle in other parts of Canada, the neighbourhood was abandoned.
In time, houses and buildings were turned into warehouses and manufacturing companies, and Place-Royale became a slum in Quebec City. It wasn’t until the late 1950s when the government decided to revitalise the area that the houses and buildings were restored to their original state. Creating the charming quaint neighbourhood that you see today.
Take time to admire the old architecture, sip chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) or a café au lait at a cafe, shop for Quebec-made products to take home – and possibly give away as gifts to your friends. Embrace the crowds during the day as they add to the vibrant ambience of rue du Petit-Champlain. In summer, the streets embrace their heritage during the Nouvelle France (New France) Festival. In winter, during a blizzard or just after it has stopped, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale turn into a winter wonderland that cannot be missed.
THINGS TO SEE + DO IN PLACE-ROYALE
BATTERIE ROYALE (ROYAL BATTERY)
Historic Site • Corner of rue Saint-Pierre & rue Sous-le-Fort
Erected by Governor Frontenac in 1691, the Batterie Royale was named after King Louis IVX and used to defend the city from attacking ships on the Saint-Lawrence River. The battery was used during the Siege of Quebec in 1759 and destroyed by the British. After the Seven Years War, the battery was no longer needed and it was eventually built over, covered by wharves and warehouses and the like. The Batterie Royale was discovered in the 1970s and restored in 1977. During the summer months, a gunner can be found at the battery in full military uniform, teaching visitors how to fire the cannons.
Religious Site | 32, rue Sous-le-Fort |
Originally built in 1723 (construction began in 1687), Énglise Notre-Dame-des-Victories is one of the oldest churches in North America. During the Siege of Québec (1759) the church suffered extensive damage, and, as a result, it was completely restored by 1816. The church is a popular site in summer when the doors are open to the public; from September to May the doors are only open on Sundays.
Fun fact: The church makes an appearance in the movie Catch Me if You Can, towards the end when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character is cornered by the police.
Ride the Ferry from Quebec City to Levis
Quebec City should be appreciated from every angle possible, which means you should probably make time to ride the ferry from Quebec City to Levis (Lévis).
FOOD + DRINK
Quebec-Inspired | $$ | 36 1/2, rue Saint-Pierre | 418.872.4386
L’Orygine is a beautiful restaurant that is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. The restaurant is bright with natural accents, all of which coincide with its organic theme. The menu, which changes with the seasons, is Quebec-inspired, using locally sourced organic ingredients. If it cannot be grown in Quebec, it probably will not be on the menu. The oysters are quite good too.
CÔTES À CÔTES
Bistro | $$ | 21, rue Sous-le-Fort | 418.692.5151
A rustic-contemporary bistro in design, Côtes à Côtes has old exposed wooden beams, tin-topped tables, and purple accents. While the occasional zebra stripes are a little confusing, the bistro itself is inviting, and a popular spot with tour groups – thanks, in part, to their large outdoor patio. The menu features ribs, as well as steaks, mussels, burgers, and poutine.
FOU DU BIO [CLOSED AUG 2020] Gourmet Food Shop | 20, rue Saint-Pierre | 581.999.8058 Fou du Bio is a gourmet épicerie (food shop) located on historic rue Saint-Pierre. The shop features Quebec terroir such as duck and goose pâté, preserves, charcuterie, cheese, and wines. You will also find beautiful ceramic, wood, and art created by Quebec artisans. A display case near the cash desk features homemade baguette sandwiches, terrines, and mousse created by the owner, cheese and small charcuterie. A small selection of bread and pasty is also available and sell out quickly. One of our favourite épiceries in Old Quebec City.
Pâtisserie | $ | 36 1/2, rue Saint-Pierre | 418.872.4386
Owned and operated by the same people as Bistro L’Orygine, Kerrmess is located at the back of the building in a brightly lit room adorned with a wide array of sweet treats. Try their ice cream sandwich or a gourmet popsicle, the tarts and cakes are sinfully delicious as well! Most items are made with locally sourced ingredients.
LA MAISON SMITH
Cafe | $ | 23, rue Notre-Dame | 581.742.6777
A gourmet and speciality food shop and café, La Maison Smith are located across from Notre-Dame-des-Victories church (the oldest church in North America, circa 1688) and a busy place in high season. The café sells pastries, maple treats, and macarons; as well as wraps and salads. The coffee is good, and the chocolate chaud delicious. A second location has now opened in Old Quebec.
Pizzeria | $$ | 3, Place-Royale |418.692.3003
A delightful Italian bistro, La Pizz has two entrances; one on rue Saint-Pierre and the other in Place-Royale (the square where Notre-Dame-des-victories is located). In summer, the restaurant has a small patio near each entrance, both with charming views. The menu features 21 different gourmet pizzas, as well as pasta and seafood dishes.
Italian | $$ | 40, Rue du Marché-Champlain |418.694.9144
A family-friendly Italian restaurant in Place-Royale, Quebec City, Sag&Tini is a 130-seat restaurant with a very large patio in summer. The restaurant is a mixture of modern-contemporary décor and rustic features such as exposed stone walls and ceiling beams. The menu is packed with popular Italian dishes like meatballs with Pomodoro sauce, Fettucine Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognaise.
Fine Dining | 36, rue Saint-Pierre | 418.872.4386
One of the most sought after dining experiences in Quebec City, Tanière3 is owned by the same group which run Bistro L’Orygine, and Légende. Located in what was once the cellars of Leber and Charest house, Tanière3 is a multi-course gastronomic experience you will never forget. Choose from their Dining Cellar or Chef Cellar experience.
Reservations are required (they charge a $50 CAD deposit when you book).
Clothing | 13, Place-Royale | 418.780.4206
A women’s clothing boutique, Frada is located beside Notre-Dame-des-victories. The boutique carries clothing by designers such as Simon Chang, Frank Lyman, Papillon Blanc, and Bali. A lovely spot for comfortable and beautiful clothing.
BOUTIQUE MÉTIERS D’ART DU QUEBEC
Handicrafts | 29, Place-Royale | 418.694.0267
A bright and airy boutique with floor to ceiling windows at the front, and displays filled with handicrafts made by Quebec artisans. If you’re looking for a unique gift or souvenir, this boutique should be at the top of your shopping list.
GALERIE D’ART ROYALE
Art Gallery | 53, rue Saint-Pierre | 418.694.2244
One of several art galleries owned by the Beauchamp family (they have another gallery across the street from Galerie d’art Royale), the gallery features artwork by Quebec artists. Pop in to admire the pieces, or buy one as a souvenir and have it shipped home!
Jeweller & Finely Crafted Rocking Chairs | 15, rue Notre-Dame | 418.692.1564
A gallery featuring the work of Quebec artists: Jean-François Dugal, an expert woodworker, and Brigitte Perrier, a goldsmith and jeweller. The shop features work by both artists, especially finely crafted rocking chairs, and unique pieces of jewellery.
PUB L’ONCLE ANTOINE
Pub | $-$$ | 29, rue Saint-Pierre | 418.694.9176
A cave-like pub located in a mid-18th-century house, L’Oncle Antoine is a favourite among tourists and locals. Enjoy the exposed stone walls and ceiling inside (hence the cave-like feeling) or hang out on the patio in summer. L’Oncle Antoine offers three house beers that cannot be found elsewhere (they have others as well!). The menu is small and typical pub fare. The French onion soup is quite good though and yummy any time of year.
Pub L’Oncle Antoine
A cozy pub located in one of the oldest buildings in Place-Royale. Come for a French Onion soup, but stay for the drinks and local characters!
Place-Royale is such a small neighbourhood with walking streets, and not really the best place for big hotels. That being said, there are short-term apartment rentals available!
LES LOFTS CHAMPLAIN
9.6/10 ON BOOKING.COM
15, RUE SAINT-PIERRE
A part of Place-Royale for a couple of years, Les Lofts Champlain offers a 1-bedroom ground floor apartment in the heart of the neighbourhood. Close to shops like Fou du Bio and the delights on L’Oncle Antoine. A wonderful base for your time in Quebec City.
BOOK APARTMENT: Booking.com
LES LOFTS NOTRE-DAME
9.3/10 ON BOOKING.COM
15, RUE DES PAINS BENITS
Located on a quiet side street beside Notre-Dame-des-victories, Les Lofts Notre-Dame is a one-bedroom apartment with a sofa bed. The apartment is modern contemporary and quite comfortable. It is, however, located up a flight of stairs!
BOOK APARTMENT: Booking.com