One Last Look at Quebec City--A North American Gem
LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 1/4/2012, 4:08 p.m.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on Quebec City, a fabulous North American city that exudes a distinctly European feel and ambiance in every aspect of the cultural landscape.
We've delved into its rich history, breathtaking topography, gracious denizens, scrumptious gastronomy, unique districts, excellent outdoor activities and a great deal more. There's so much to see, do and share.
So now I leave you with a few more nuggets of the many places I visited in town that have left an indelible impression on me, making Quebec City a new addition to my list of favorite places to visit in the world.
A visit to Quebec City would not be complete without a stop at Basilique Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame Basilica), built in 1647 and still standing today as the oldest parish in North America. This magnificent structure encompasses jaw-dropping architectural features, from its ornate columns to the detailed Episcopal throne dais, works of art, arches, stained glass windows, frescos and massive pipe organ.
Another historical church in town is the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Built in 1850, it is the first Anglican cathedral built outside Britain (it is often referred to as "the Mother Church of the Diocese of Quebec"). The church is significant because it was built during the time Quebec City was controlled by the British-in fact, the wood to build the church was imported from a British forest, which lends to the church's authenticity and history.
The city's most famous landmark is Chteau Frontenac (now called Fairmont Le Chteau Frontenac), reportedly the most photographed hotel in the world. Offering the ultimate in European grandeur and luxury, the hotel is named after 16th-century governor Louis de Buade, count of Frontenac, and offers commanding views of the St. Lawrence River. The interior architectural details and history are what has drawn everyone from pauper to prince to experience the royal ambiance here.
For a literally moving view of the city, ride the Funiculaire du Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec Funicular). Operating since 1879, this historical landmark was first operated by steam power and a counterweight water process, which was replaced by electrical power in the early 1900s. Since that time, the Funicular has experienced fire, reconstruction, renovations and modern technological upgrades. It offers unparalleled views of the St. Lawrence River and nearby Chteau Frontenac and Place-Royale in the heart of Vieux Quebec (Old Quebec). The entrance to the funicular, built in 1683, is historic as well; it is the former home of 16th-century fur trader Louis Jolliet.
Quebec City is home to numerous stunning and historical fountains, including the Fontaine de Tourny, situated in the Parliament Hill area in front of the Parliament Building. A gift to the city by one of its oldest families for its 400th anniversary, the fountain was found in a pawn shop in France and brought here piece by piece, refurbished and embellished into a lofty masterpiece of sculpture-its figures paying homage to the Amerindians, Quebec's first inhabitants-and water features that are a great source of pride for the city's denizens.