The only thing better than a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning is a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning on La Place Royale.
A few months ago – for a very brief moment, admittedly – I had the cobbled Place Royale to myself. It was early, rain was threatening, and the visitors to the city were still in their hotels finishing breakfast. I took the opportunity to order a cup of coffee and pretend that I was the first to discover this charming corner of North America. With no one there, I could linger over my coffee and drink in 400 years of history.
Place Royale has been the heart of Québec City’s lower town since the founding of the city. The site of Samuel de Champlain’s first structure, it is now the focal point of any visit here. Standing at one end of the square is Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, an unassuming church that commemorates the city’s dogged resistance to enemy attack. Surrounding it are the stone buildings that housed the city’s merchants and their merchandise. And in the center of the square is Louis XIV – the Sun King – who turned a fledging commercial colony into a fully-functioning part of the French Empire.
If you get there at just the right time – after the delivery trucks and before the tourists – you too can have Place Royale to yourself. You will savor your coffee and enjoy the view.