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Basilique Notre-Dame De Québec

Erected in 1647, the Basilique Notre-Dame ( Notre-Dame Basilica) has endured a volatile past. Destroyed by enemy attacks and fire, it was twice reconstructed on its original site and still retains portions of the original church. The basilica was the first parish church in North America and was given the title of cathedral in 1674, and then elevated to the rank of minor basilica in 1874. Notre-Dame Basilica is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, and was declared an historical monument in 1966.

The Building

Bombardments from the English Conquest in 1759 destroyed much of the Basilica when the city was under siege, and it was restored a few years later. The majestic building was then again ravaged by fire in 1922, and underwent further reconstruction that followed the 17 th century designs. The church’s bell tower and portions of the walls remain from the original 1647 structure. Many famous architects including the renowned Jean, François and Thomas Baillargé contributed to the extensive restorations and additions to the building.

The Crypt

Over 900 people were buried under Notre-Dame Basilica between 1654 and 1898. The crypt was constructed during the 1923 restoration and serves as the final resting place for most of Quebec’s bishops, archbishops and cardinals as well as many priests and lay people. Four former governors of New France are also buried in the crypt, including the legendary Louis de Buade de Frontenac after which another Quebec City landmark, the Chateau Frontenac, is named. Monsignor François de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec, is also entombed within the Basilica in a funeral chapel consecrated to him.

The Treasures

The ornate, neo-baroque interior of the Basilica is decorated with incredible works of art as well as many treasured artifacts. Many of the paintings adorning the church date back to the time of the French regime. Among many of the religious treasures, visitors will find a sanctuary lamp gifted by Louis XIV, as well as the bishop’s throne sculpted by master craftsman Lauréat Vallière. The stunning stained-glass windows depict scenes of the lives of various saints and the Virgin Mary. The gold-plated main altar, baldaquin, and episcopal canopy are magnificent sights to behold. Notre-Dame Basilica also houses three Casavant organs, and on the first Sunday of every month presents an organ concert at 3:30p.m.

Visiting Basilique Notre-Dame De Québec

The Basilica is located at 16 rue De Buade, at Côte de la Fabrique in Quebec City’s Upper Town.

Admission is free for those visiting for prayers or mass, or taking a self-guided tour. Guided visits of the Basilica and the crypt last one hour and must be reserved. The fee is $3 for adults and $2 for children and students. Reservations can be arranged by calling (418) 694-0665 or by e-mail at info@patrimoine-religieux.com.

The Basilica’s visiting hours vary by season. For the complete schedule visit Basilique Notre-Dame official website or call (418) 692-2533 for more information.

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