The duke of Wellington had this partially star-shaped fortress built at the south end of the city walls in anticipation of renewed American attacks after the War of 1812. Some remnants of earlier French military structures were incorporated into the Citadelle, including a 1750 magazine. Dug into the Plains of Abraham high above Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond), the rock bluff adjacent to the St. Lawrence River, the fort has a low profile that keeps it all but invisible until walkers are actually upon it. The facility has never actually exchanged fire with an invader but continues its vigil for the state. It's now a national historic site, and since 1920 has been home to Québec's Royal 22e Régiment, the only fully Francophone unit in Canada's armed forces. That makes it North America's largest fortified group of buildings still occupied by troops.
You can only go in by guided tour, which provides access to the Citadelle and its 25 buildings, including the small regimental museums in the former powder house and prison. The hour-long walk and dry narration are likely to test the patience of younger visitors and the legs of many older people. For them, it might be better simply to attend the ceremonies of the changing of the guard (daily at 10am in summer) or beating the retreat, a sunset ceremony to call in the troops (Fri, Sat, and Sun at 7pm in summer). Walk or drive up the Côte de la Citadelle; there are many free parking spaces.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: 418/694-2815
- Côte de la Citadelle (enter off rue St-Louis)
- Quebec City, QC
- Apr daily 10am-4pm; May-June daily 9am-5pm; July to Labour Day daily 9am-6pm; Sept (after Labour Day) daily 9am-4pm; Oct daily 10am-3pm; Nov-Mar, 1 bilingual tour per day at 1:30pm. Changing of the guard (30 min.) June 24 to Labour Day daily at 10am; beating the retreat (20 min.) July to early Sept Fri at 7pm (and Sat-Sun at 7pm at the Esplanade Park). May be canceled in the event of rain
- No Sweat
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