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Neighbourhood Guide: Petit-Champlain & Place-Royale

Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale (Basse-Ville, Lower Town) may be among the smaller neighbourhoods of Quebec City, but don’t let their size fool you, they pack a tourist punch like no other! After exploring Vieux-Quebec (Upper Town) it is time to take the funiculaire down to rue Petit-Champlain – or the walk down Côte de la Montagne and descend the breakneck stairs and into the heart Quartier Petit-Champlain.

I love visiting Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale, wandering the cobblestone streets in the morning before the shops have opened, admiring the view of Château Frontenac as it sits atop Cap Diamant, stopping in the square in Place-Royale for a croissant or chocolat chaud, or both. It is in this square, where Notre-Dames-des-Victories now stands, that Samuel de Champlain built his first home and fur trading post in 1608.

This is where the colony of New France began. The beginning of the great city of Quebec. But the neighbourhood did not always look as it does today. In the late 19th century, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale were occupied by Irish immigrants who worked in the Navy yards at the base of Chute de la Montmorency and along the Saint-Lawrence river, and when the Irish left Quebec to settle in other parts of Canada, the neighbourhoods were left abandoned.

In time, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale became a slum in Quebec City, the houses and buildings turned into warehouses and manufacturing companies. 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 neighbourhoods that they are today.

Take time to admire the old architecture, sip chocolat chaud 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 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.  

I hope you enjoy your time in Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale as much as I do!

Pamela xoxo


PETIT-CHAMPLAIN & PLACE-ROYALE BUCKET LIST

As one of the oldest neighbourhoods in one of the oldest cities in Canada, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale are the smallest neighbourhoods in Quebec City. Buildings dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; fascinating military, historic and religious sites; museums, walking tours; there are plenty of Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale Activities to keep you busy during your time in the city.

On this page you will find suggestions on military, historic and religious sites; spots to Instagram (and make your friends green with envy).

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 wharfs 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.

ECHO SPORTS

BIKE RENTAL • 35, RUE DALHOUSIE • 418.692.3643 • LOCATIONECHOSPORTS.CA

In summer Echo Sports rents bikes for 2,4, or 24 hours. Bikes for adults start at $15, and bikes for children start at $10. Echo Sports also offers guided bike tours of Petit-Champlain and Vieux-Port, Montmorency Falls, and Wendake. Tours start at $60 per person. In winter, you can rent fat bikes for $50 a day. Book a bike tour!

ÉNGLISE NOTRE-DAME-DES-VICTORIES

RELIGIOUS SITE • 32, RUE SOUS LE FORT • NOTREDAMEDEQUEBEC.ORG

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.

FUNICULAIRE

16, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • FUNICULAIRE-QUEBEC.COM • COST: $3 PER RIDE

The original funiculaire was built in 1879 with cabins that scaled the escarpment with a counterweight water system and steam power. In 1907, it was converted to electrical power, but was destroyed by fire in 1945 and reconstructed a year later in 1946. Riding the funiculaire is a fun way to get from Petit-Champlain to Vieux-Québec and offers wonderful views of both Petit-Champlain and the Saint-Lawrence River.

GHOST TOURS OF QUÉBEC

WALKING TOUR • 94, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.9770 • GHOSTTOURSOFQUEBEC.COM • DURATION: 1 HR 30 MINS • TOUR COST: ADULT $20, SENIORS/STUDENT $17

Language: French & English • Take a lantern-lit night tour through Vieux-Quebec with a costumed guide and hear about murders, executions, and ghostly tragedies that have taken place during Québec 400+ year history.

MAISON LOUIS-JOLLIET

HISTORIC SITE • 16, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN

Built in 1683, this historic house was the home of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer and fur trader who, along with Jacques Marquette (a Jesuit Missionary), mapped the Mississippi River in 1673. Louis Jolliet lived in the house until his death in 1700. Today the home is the entrance for the Funiculaire in Petit-Champlain.

MUSÉE DE LA PLACE-ROYALE CLOSED INDEFINITELY

MUSEUM • 27, RUE NOTRE-DAME • 418.646.3167 • MCQ.ORG • ADMISSION: ADULTS $7, SENIORS $6, STUDENTS $5 • OPEN: SAT & SUN 10AM TO 5PM

A museum dedicated to the history of New France and Place Royale. The museum features a 3D film on Samuel de Champlain (founder of Québec), a scale model of Quebec City in 1635, costume workshops, and re-enactments with actors in period costume. Buy a museum package!

QUEBEC CITY – LEVIS FERRY

FERRY • 10, RUE DES TRAVERSIERS • 1.877.787.7483 EXT 2 • TRAVERSIERS.COM • COST: ADULTS $3.50, SENIORS $3.15, CHILDREN 5-11 YRS $2.35 • OPEN: DAILY 6:30 AM TO 2:20 AM

Making the 1km journey from Quebec City to Levis takes about 10 mins, and offers a beautiful view of Quebec City’s skyline — worth the 20-minute round-trip ferry ride. No matter what time of year you visit Quebec City, make time to ride the ferry to Lévis and enjoy the Quebec City skyline.

THÉÂTRE PETIT-CHAMPLAIN

THÉÂTRE • 68, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.2631 • THEATREPETITCHAMPLAIN.COM

Originally a theatre house, Théâtre Petit-Champlain has also become a music and comedic venue over the years. A great way to experience local talent, and enjoy a night out in Quebec City.


FOOD & DRINK

As one of the main tourist destinations in Quebec City, Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale have a mixture of touristy restaurants, as well as delicious bistros and cafés. This page features the Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale restaurants we love and highly recommend. As such, this page will change from time to time as we discover new favourites and remove places that have shut down or have decreased in quality.

Are you ready to fill your belly with delicious eats from our favourite Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale restaurants? We suggest pacing yourself!

If you’re looking for the BEST restaurants in Québec City (in Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale as well as other neighbourhoods), then be sure to read this post, which is updated yearly.

BISTRO SOUS LE FORT

FRENCH • $$ – $$$ • 48, RUE SOUS-LE-FORT • 418.694.0852 • BISTROSOUSLEFORT.COM

A small bistro in Quartier Petit-Champlain with exposed stone walls, and slightly modern furniture. The menu is French-inspired, and the food is delicious. A delightful little escape from a busy day of wandering and shopping.

CÔTES À CÔTES

BISTRO • $$ – $$$ • 21, RUE SOUS-LE-FORT • 418.692.5151 • COTESACOTESGRILL.COM

A modernly designed bistro that is a bit over-the-top, but thankfully the food is good. The bistro is known for their ribs, as well as steaks, mussels, burgers, and poutine.

LA MAISON SMITH

CAFÉ • $ • 23, RUE NOTRE-DAME • MAISONSMITH.CA • FREE WIFI

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 jams and teas. The coffee is good, and the chocolate chaud delicious. A second location has now opened in Vieux-Quebec.

LE COCHON DINGUE

FRENCH BISTRO • $$ • 46, BOULEVARD CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.2013 • COCHONDINGUE.COM

One of four locations in Quebec, Le Cochon Dingue a Paris-style bistro. The menu is varied: steak frites, poutine, croque monsieur, bacon and cheese crème brûlée and so on. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the location is fantastic.

LE LAPIN SAUTÉ

FRENCH • $$ – $$$ • 52, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.5325 • LAPINSAUTE.COM

A favourite among locals and visitors, Le Lapin Sauté specialises in rabbit but also features duck, lamb, salmon, and cheese. Weekend brunch is highly recommended. The restaurant is small and cosy, with a fire crackling in the fireplace in winter, and plenty of patio seating available in summer.

LA PIZZ

PIZZERIA • $$ • 3, PLACE-ROYALE • LA-PIZZ.COM

A delightful Italian bistro, La Pizz has two entrances; one on rue Saint-Pierre and the other in Place-Royale (the square between rue Notre-Dame and rue Saint-Pierre). The menu features 21 different gourmet pizzas, as well as pasta and seafood dishes.

QUEUES DE CASTOR PÂTISSERIES

BEAVERTAILS • $ • 28, BOULEVARD CHAMPLAIN

A classic Canadian dessert; whole-wheat dough stretched into the shape of a Beavertail, then deep-fried in canola or soy oil and topped with everything from cinnamon and sugar to Nutella. After you’ve tasted one, you’ll be addicted!

RESTO LE CASSE COU

BURGERS & SANDWICHES • $ • 90, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.694.1121

This bright yellow restaurant sells quick easy meals like burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. A good option when you’re hungry and in a hurry. Easy to find (next to Cabane à sucre), Casse-Cou is a good option for cheap, fast, food.

SPAG&TINI

ITALIAN • $$ • 40, RUE DU MARCHÉ CHAMPLAIN • SPAGETTINI.CA

A family Italian restaurant in Petit-Champlain Sag&Tini is a 130-seat restaurant with a large patio in summer that offers views of the Saint-Lawrence River and Petit-Champlain. The menu is classic Italian; pizza and pasta.

Urban Guides: Quebec City -- discover locally owned restaurants in Quebec City


SHOPPING

One of the oldest shopping streets in North American, rue Petit-Champlain is overflowing with boutiques selling everything from clothing to art to jewellery to toys to maple syrup to kitchen gadgets. Skip the kitschy souvenir shops and take home a unique gift from Quebec City. While most of the shops will be found in Petit-Champlain, there are a few very good shops in Place-Royale – including one of our favourite gourmet food shops, Fou du Bio.

*New shops are bound to be added to this page, so be sure to check for the latest picks.

AMIMOC

SHOES • 85, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.914.9933 • AMIMOC.CA • OPEN: MON – FRI 10 AM – 9 PM, SAT & SUN 10 AM – 5 PM

Originally crafted by Huron Native Americans, the moccasins and mukluks, Amimoc also sells Martino and Maël boots.

ATELIER LA POMME

FASHION • 47, RUE SOUS-LE-FORT • 418.692.2875 • OPEN: SAT – WED 10 AM – 5 PM, THURS & FR 10 AM – 9 PM

A women’s clothing boutique in Quartier Petit-Champlain, Atelier La Pomme specialises in leather and suede jackets, purses, and dresses.

BOUTIK ART DENIS NICOLAS

SCULPTURES • 48, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.914.6873 • LABOUTIKART.COM • OPEN: MON – FRI 10 AM – 9 PM, SAT & SUN 110 AM – 5 PM

Quebec artist, Denis Nicolas gained a passion for stone sculpture from his father, his pieces are typically made from Onyx, Agathe, or Amethyst.

BOUTIQUE FRADA

FASHION • 13, PLACE-ROYALE • 418.780.4206 • FRADA.CA

A women’s clothing boutique featuring designers like Simon Chang, Frank Lyman, Papillon Blanc, and Bali.

BOUTIQUE MÉTIERS D’ART DU QUEBEC

HANDICRAFTS • 29, PLACE-ROYALE • 418.694.0267 • METIERSDART.CA • OPEN: DAILY 9:30 AM TO 9 PM

A bright boutique with floor to ceiling windows at the front and displays filled with delightful 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 bucket list.

CHARLEVOIX PURE LAINE

WOOL SWEATERS, SOCKS & TOQUES • 61 ½, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.7272 • CHARLEVOIXPURELAINE.CA

A boutique in Quartier Petit-Champlain selling goods like socks, toques, scarves and so on made from Charlevoix sheep’s wool; they also sell items made with locally produced felt.

CIDERIE ET VERGES PENDNEAULT

CIDERIE • 73, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.558.2365

Québec is famous for its cider, and now Quartier Petit-Champlain has a ciderie boutique selling a variety of ciders as well as iced cider produced on Isle-aux-Coudres. A fabulous Quebec souvenir.

FOU DU BIO

GOURMET FOOD SHOP • 20, RUE SAINT-PIERRE • 581.999.8058 • FOUDUBIO.COM

A delightful new addition to Place-Royale, Fou du Bio is a gourmet épicerie (food shop) located on historic rue Saint-Pierre. The shop features products that have been produced in Quebec City, Charlevoix, and other areas of Quebec. If you’re looking for fresh bread, cheese and picnic snacks, come early as things sell out quickly.

GALERIE D’ART ROYALE

ART GALLERY • 53, RUE SAINT-PIERRE • 418.694.2244 • GALERIEBEAUCHAMP.COM • OPEN: DAILY 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

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.

GALERIE DUGAL

JEWELLER & FINELY CRAFTED ROCKING CHAIRS • 15, RUE NOTRE-DAME • 418.692.1564 • GALERIEDUGAL.COM

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 from both artists, especially finely crafted rocking chairs, and unique pieces of jewellery.

LA FUDGERIE

FUDGE SHOP • 16, RUE DUL-DE-SAC • 418.692.3834 • LAFUDGERIE.COM • OPEN: MON – FRI 110 AM – 9 PM, SAT & SUN 10 AM – 5 PM

A favourite among those with a serious sweet-tooth, La Fudgerie is known for their homemade chocolates, nougats, and fudge — they sell over 80 different varieties. In winter, they also serve some delightful cups of chocolat chaud.

LA PETITE CABANE À SUCRE

MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCTS • 94, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.5875 • PETITECABANEASUCRE.COM

Quite possibly one of the best maple shops in Quebec City, this boutique has everything maple, from syrup to lollipops to cream to tea to icewine, and more!

LE BLANC MOUTON

FASHION • 51, RUE SOUS-LE-FORT • 418.692.2880 • BLANCMOUTON.COM

Opened in 1989, Le Blanc Mouton featured handwoven mohair clothing for women created by Nicole Vincent and Pierre Dugré, the boutique is now run by their daughter and carries designers whose values are similar to those of the owners.

LE CAPITAINE D’À BORD

FASHION • 63, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.694.0624 • CAPITAINEDEBORD.COM • OPEN: SAT – WED 9 AM – 6 PM, THURS & FRI 9 AM – 9 PM

A nautical and luxury sportswear boutique in Quartier Petit-Champlain, the shop sells both men’s and women’s fashion. Represented clothing lines include Peter & Shark, Meyer, and Armor-Lux.

M0851

ACCESSORIES • 66, BOULEVARD CHAMPLAIN • 418.614.0851 • M0851.COM • OPEN: MON – FRI 10 AM – 9 PM, SAT & SUN 10 AM – 5 PM

A Montréal-based company, M0851 is a high-end leather boutique selling leather jackets, bags and accessories.

MADAME GIGI CONFISERIE

CHOCOLATIER • 84, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.694.2269 • CHOCOLATERIEGIGI.CA

A small chocolatier in Quartier Petit-Champlain specialising in Belgian chocolates, chocolate pizza, macarons, and fudge. They serve a decent chocolat chaud as well. Although the shop is small, there are a few tables and chairs if you want to sit down and take a rest from shopping.

SCULPTEUR FLAMAND

SCULPTOR • 49, RUE DU PETIT-CHAMPLAIN • 418.692.2813 • SCULPTEURFLAMAND.COM • OPEN: SUN-WED 9 AM – 5 PM, THURS & FRI 9 AM – 9 PM, SAT 9 AM – 7 PM

Alain Flamand is a master sculptor whose shop has been a part of Quartier Petit-Champlain since 1981. Handmade sculptures are on display throughout the shops four floors.

SHAMÂNE

BEAUTY & SKIN CARE • 70, BOULEVARD CHAMPLAIN • 418.638.1264 • SHAMANE-COSMETIQUES.COM • OPEN: MON – FRI 10 AM – 9 PM, SAT & SUN 110 AM – 5 PM

A cosmetics boutique, Shamâne specialises in cosmetics and soaps made from donkey milk — said to slow down the ageing process.

Urban Guides: Quebec City Guidebook - shop at locally owned boutiques


NIGHTLIFE

Petit-Champlain and Place-Royale are known for shopping and restaurants, not nightlife. That being said, there are a couple pubs in the area that are worth checking out – one of which serves up a delicious cheese platter that is actually affordable!

L’ONCLE ANTOINE

PUB • $-$$ • 29, RUE SAINT-PIERRE • 418.694.9176 • OPEN: DAILY 11 AM – 1 AM

A Scottish pub in a mid 18th-century house in Place-Royale, L’Oncle is a favourite among tourists who enjoy pints of Québec microbrewery and typical pub fare. Cosy and always a good time.

LE PAPE GEORGES

PUB • $-$$ • 8 1/2, RUE DU CUL DE SAC • PAPEGEORGES.CA • OPEN: MON-WED 4 PM – 3 AM, THURS – SUN 12 PM – 3 AM

A quaint bistro-bar in Petit-Champlain, Le Pape Georges has been recently renovated to include an extended bar and cosy leather bar chairs. The bistro-bar has live music, and a small, but delicious, menu. 

Q-DE-SAC-RESTO-PUB

PUB & SPORTS BAR • $-$$ • 10, RUE DU CUL DE SAC • RESTOPUBQDESAC.COM • OPEN: SUN – THURS 11:30AM – 10:30PM, FRI & SAT 11:30AM – 12AM

A new addition to Petit-Champlain, Q-De-Sac Resto-Pub is a large bistro and sports bar tucked down rue du Cul-de-Sac, near Le Pape Georges. The food is traditional pub fare with a gourmet Québécois twist; like poutine made with bacon and foie gras. A large patio is set-up in spring and taken down at the end of Autumn. A lively place to hang out.





POPULAR RESOURCES

  • Québec City Travel Planner: Search through our handy travel planner for information on everything from driving routes, taking the train, when to visit, how to get around and more!
  • Urban Guide Québec City guidebook: Discover the local food and culture of Québec City in this guidebook focused on promoting local artisans, producers and businesses. Explore popular neighbourhoods, or embrace the local side, both are represented in this guidebook on Québec City.
  • Great Canadian Bucket List by Robin Esrock: A travel writer based in Vancouver, Robin has travelled throughout Canada collecting one-of-a-kind travel experiences –including some spectacular ones in Québec! One of our favourite books for travel adventures in Canada.
  • Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer: Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winner, Champlain’s Dream is a captivating read about the man who established the colony of New France, and considered to be the father of Québec. A tome worthy of any book collection.
  • Québec: The Story of Three Sieges by Stephen Manning: Understanding some of the key battles in Québec’s history is one of the best ways to begin to understand the mentality of Québec, and the relationship between French and English. This book is one of the best in terms of the major battles that helped to shape Québec’s future.
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny: A local favourite, Louise Penny crafts a captivating murder mystery set in Québec City. Book six in her Chief Inspector Gamache series, you don’t need to read the first five to enjoy this story which will take you through some of our favourite places in Old Québec.
  • An Essential Winter Packing List: Planning to visit Québec City during the winter months? Make sure you pack these items for a warm and fun trip!
  • Winter Bucket List: 40+ Things to See & Do: The air may be crisp, and the ground may be covered in fluffy white snow, but there is still plenty to see and do in Québec City in winter!

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