Notre-Dame Basilica, photo credit Tourisme Montréal - Stéphane Poulin
Tour Distance: 325 km (201 mi.)
Duration: 2 to 3 days
Quebec’s imposing churches and places of worship are among some of our greatest heritage treasures! Unlike many churches found on other continents, time hasn’t taken a heavy toll on these buildings or their interior beauty. Brilliant masterpieces, these special sites are powerful symbols for the people of Quebec as well as for countless visitors from all around the world. While some may gaze in wonder before the beauty of the sites and works of art inside, others will find a place to spend some quiet moments.
A. Beginning Your Pilgrimage. Start at the Sainte-Anne-de- Beaupré Shrine in the Québec region. Every year, nearly a million visitors come to admire this neo-Romanesque church. Its vault is completely covered with mosaics dedicated to Saint Anne, and you can admire over 240 stained-glass windows. To learn more about the history of this great church, Saint Anne and worldwide devotion to her, you can also visit the Saint Anne Museum.
B. Next Stop: Old Québec City. Hop on Route 138 to Place Royale in Old Québec City to the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, one of the oldest in North America. Damaged as a result of attacks in 1759 during the French and Indian War, the church was rebuilt in 1763. Inside, the decoration illustrates the strong faith of the local people.
Interesting fact: the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church served as a filming location for Steven Spielberg’s movie Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks.
C. Head to Trois-Rivières. From Québec City, go east on Route 138, following the King’s Road lined with charming village churches, or take Autoroute 40 east, which will lead you directly to your next stop in Trois-Rivières, at Our Lady of the Cape Shrine. Founded in 1888, this is Canada’s largest Marian shrine. Located alongside the mighty St. Lawrence River, this shrine also has vast gardens and a historic chapel dating back to 1714.
Our Lady of the Cape, photo credit Michel Julien
D. Saint-Joseph’s Oratory. After your stop in Trois-Rivières, it’s time to head to Montréal to visit Saint-Joseph’s Oratory. You can get back on the panoramic King’s Road via Route 138 or opt for the faster track by taking Autoroute 40 to the Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, the world’s largest shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph. Founded by Saint Brother André in 1904, it is visited annually by two million pilgrims.
E. Must-See in Old Montréal. To finish your tour of Quebec’s most handsome religious sites in style, we recommend a tour of the Notre-Dame Basilica, located in Old Montréal. This basilica is considered the oldest neo-Gothic building in the country. Guided tours are offered so you can discover it and learn more about its history, majestic interiors and Casavant organ.