The place where the river narrowsQuebec City, founded in 1608is a French-speaking province in Eastern Canada. It is on the north of the St. Lawrence River, and it merges with the Rivière Saint-Charles.  Quebec is the last persisting fortified city in North America, North of Mexico. When the French started settling in Quebec, their primary need was security, and so, they built enclosures using wood and stone to fortify the city.

Architecture of Cities: Quebec City- The National Capital - Sheet
Quebec City_©rojatarde

Culture and Heritage of Quebec | Quebec City

Firstly, Quebec addresses the Francophone (French-speaking) culture. Multiple exhibits and attractions promote and seek the deep-rooted francophone culture of the province. Various sites showcase the cultural aspects of Quebec. Maison de la littérature exhibits Québec’s literary heritage, Centre de valorisation du Patrimoine vivant: explores music, dance, storytelling, handicrafts of Quebec, and Espace Félix traces the greatest Francophone poet.

As for the Heritage, Quebec is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quebec has phenomenally preserved its historical heritage and has embedded itself on the top charts of architecture. One can perceive multiple architectural styles in Quebec, therefore making its heritage so diverse and vibrant. 

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Quebec heritage_© Robin and Arlene Karpun

L’aile de la Procure (1678-1681)

The Québec Seminary National Historic Site of Canada, situated in the Historic District of Old Québec, is an educational institution. It was built for a community of priests to establish a Parish ministry, mission work and clergy. The style of this building is heavily influenced by French architecture. The roughcast walls, pavilion, and the bell turret on top of the building—all these represent the French style of Architecture. 

The complex’s spatial configuration includes the placement of buildings and enclosed or landscaped areas such as the Grand Séminaire Garden, the Innengarten, and the Petite Cour. Important typologies of buildings within the complex, which are improved by architectural design, harmonises with the cityscape.

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©Yves Marcoux

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (1800-1804)

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, a National Historic Site in 1989, differs from Catholic church buildings in its tremendous simplicity. The sober facade has a triangular pediment supported by means of four columns that body three arches, each proposing a door surmounted with the aid of a window. The church, dealing with Place d’Armes, is nearly identical. The doorways are changed with the aid of home windows in the two outer arches which flank a central window with two lateral bays, a traditional Palladian feature.

The construction is topped with a bell tower that rises one metre above that of Notre-Dame-de-Québec Cathedral-Basilica, its Catholic neighbour. In 1830, the diocese geared up the tower with eight English change-ringing bells of terrific quality, giving resonance to the Anglican neighbourhood of Quebec City. The carillon is nevertheless in operation today.

The church’s indoors are in the Palladian style. The ornamentation draws on a traditional motif from Antiquity—scrolls decorate the columns and are repeated in the liturgical furniture. The choir’s foremost ornamental aspect is the altarpiece which integrates the carved display in the back of the altar with the central window overlooking Place d’Armes.

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The Maison de la Littérature

The Maison de la Littérature is the phase of the wealthy records of the Old City of Quebec, sitting on what has been a unique UNESCO World Heritage site. Integrating new buildings into these surroundings introduced countless challenges. 

An instance of a Gothic Revival church in Quebec City, the Wesley Temple, has been modified in use many times because it used to be performed in 1845 by architect Edward Staveley. Beginning as a Protestant church, it persisted two consecutive generations as an auditorium space, then a public library that operated on the decreasing ground solely whilst the principal flooring remained closed for countless years.

Reconstructing the reminiscence of the temple’s many lives used to be a complicated architectural task. The siting of the new addition—a present-day glass box—was cautiously conceived in order to retain the temple’s integrity and presence as a civic centre. It enhances the web page as a timeless piece of architecture, a glowing glass jewel that revives this historical city landscape.

©Olivier Vallerand
©Olivier Vallerand

In summary, here are few essential architectural features of Quebec:

Key features- Exterior 

Medium-pitched gabled roofs with façades
Plain pediment doorways
Semi-elliptical windows

Key features- Interior

Vaulted ceiling
Flag-stone floor,
Segmentally-arched windows,
Panelled dado
Corinthian columns with intricate leaf carvings

Streets of Quebec | Quebec City

The streets of Quebec are straight up out of a postcard! The cobblestone paved streets flanked by historic buildings, boutiques, eateries and sidewalk cafes, is a European dream realised in America. The architecture of Quebec is rather romantic. So if you’re in Canada and are looking for a cultural change, a romantic European getaway, or a French architectural intervention, then Quebec has its arms wide open for you!


Here are some of the most charming streets of Quebec:

Rue du Petit‑Champlain

At the foot of a cliff, simply under Château Frontenac, Rue du Petit‑Champlain is a slender cobblestone road with vibrant symptoms and quaint shops, making it the most photographed avenue in Québec City’s ancient sector. The plunging view from the pinnacle of Escalier Casse‑Cou (“breakneck stairs”) is tremendously spectacular. Magical in the summer season, and in winter, this charming part of Old Québec is breathtaking.


Rue Sous-le-Fort

The stone houses on this avenue are quite romantic. There’s an extremely good low-eye view of Château Frontenac from the nook of Rue Saint-Pierre. Take the time to discover all the nooks and crannies of this picturesque neighbourhood. Each residence has a story!


Rue Sous-le-Cap

This avenue strolling alongside Cap Diamant cliff dates again to the time of New France. The walkways between structures make this avenue completely unique. One may sense as though they have stumbled into another world.

©robin- arlene
©robin- arlene

Quebec is nothing short of a French wonderland and an Architecture and Historical haven. 


  1. Travel. (2010). Historic District of Old Quebec — World Heritage Site — National Geographic. [online] Available at:
  2. ‌Hachette Book Group. (2014). History of Architecture in Montréal & Québec City. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Aug. 2021].
  3. ‌ (2018). Québec City | The Canadian Encyclopedia. [online] Available at:
  4. ‌UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2019). Historic District of Old Québec. [online] Available at:
  5. ‌ (n.d.). View of The Architecture of Old Quebec, or The History of a Palimpsest | Material Culture Review. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Aug. 2021].
  6. (n.d.). Explore Old Québec City | All the Best Things to Do. [online] Available at:
  7. ‌ (n.d.). – [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Aug. 2021].
  8. ‌ (n.d.). Ville de Québec – Cathedral of Holy Trinity. [online] Available at:© quebec/interet/cathedrale_© holy_© trinity.aspx [Accessed 28 Aug. 2021].

She is an architect, trying her hands at architectural writing currently. She’s charmed by the 3C’s of architecture- conscious, contextual, cultural. Her heart does not lie in a high profile job or an elaborate resumè. She yearns to enrich the architectural world with honest, humble, and free-spirited writing.