At the bottom of Côte de la Montagne, escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs) and the funicular, lies the Petit-Champlain district, a picture-perfect neighbourhood resembling a quaint riverside village. Petit-Champlain has plenty of exclusive boutiques, while art and history come together at the Royal Battery (1691) and place de Paris, home to Jean-Pierre Raynaud's sculpture, “Dialogue avec l'histoire.” The restored houses lining Rue du Petit-Champlain are now home to bistros, art galleries and specialized handicraft boutiques (leather, jewellery, decorative arts, clothing, wood and more).
Since Québec’s foundation in 1608, this area has evolved to a small portside village with fur trading posts and elegant homes. Over the years, its fortunes waxed and waned. Today, as a result of an expansive urban restoration project, Quartier Petit Champlain comprises narrow streets lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques and bistros. Visitors come in droves throughout the year to see the impressive historical architecture and cobblestone streets, making Quartier Petit Champlain one of the most popular attractions in the city. Grouped in a co-op organization since 1985, the artisans and merchants of this neighbourhood are the proud keepers of this precious architectural heritage. Don’t miss the Petit-Champlain fresco by Murale Création. This mural, in trompe-l'œil style, tells of the origins of the district, as a port and as a community. In addition to depicting the bombardments, landslides and other major events to have occurred here, it illustrates the lives of the people who built, inhabited, worked in and set down roots in this district.
In this historic district is located Maison Louis-Jolliet, the former home of Louis Jolliet, the European explorer credited with putting the Mississippi River on the map, so to speak. The house was built for Jolliet in 1683, and he lived there until his death in 1700. The lower terminal of the funicular, connecting Lower Town to the Dufferin Terrace, is in this historical house. Also worth visiting is Maison Chevalier, whose 18th and 19th century interiors have been fully restored.
All year-round, visitors are enchanted by the romantic European atmosphere of this quaint neighbourhood, site of the Québec's first port, and can see here some of the colony's first houses.
More information at Quartier Petit Champlain.