Between Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and the St. Lawrence River, Lower Town (Basse-Ville) is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec). Aside from cobbled streets lined with boutiques, galleries, and French-style bistros, the neighborhood is also home to Place Royale, the site of the first settlement of New France.
Lower Town is the oldest part of Quebec City and contains a high concentration of historic buildings and sights. Some visitors wander the streets independently, perusing the galleries and boutiques of the area. Others explore on biking and walking tours, which focus on key historical locales, including Place Royale and the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, one of the oldest stone churches in North America, as well as following scenic pathways near the St. Lawrence River.
Things to Know Before You GoLower Town is a must-see for all first-time visitors to Quebec City.
How to Get There
Lower Town and Upper Town are connected by about 30 sets of stairways. The Old Quebec Funicular, accessible via Rue Petit-Champlain in Lower Town connects to Dufferin Terrace in Upper Town, linking the two parts of the city.
When to Get There
With its European-style architecture and small street-side boutiques, Lower Town is charming year-round. Go in summer when the weather is warm, so you can wander in comfort and enjoy alfresco meals on restaurant terraces. In winter, the snow-sprinkled streets are picturesque, though the subzero temperatures may be a challenge for those not used to such conditions.
Exploring Lower Town
Many visitors’ explorations of Lower Town begin at the Old Port (Vieux-Port), where cruise ships dock. From here, browse food stalls at the Old Port Market (Marché du Vieux-Port) and stop by the Museum of Civilization, which hosts exhibits focusing on local cultures and people. Other points of interest in Lower Town include the Naval Museum of Quebec, situated on the riverfront, and the large-scale Fresque des Québécois mural near Place Royale.