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The way that most people would come into the city, assuming that they had not come on the bus would be along the Grande Allée from the battlefield and under the Porte St Louis and then down the rue St Louis, so why don't we start our wander around the city from the Porte St Louis?

This is the street that I usually take when I drive through Québec after visiting the battlefield on the Plains of Abraham and which takes me on down to the old part of the town and then over the Rivière St Charles, but after all of my exertions around the city today, next time I come I'll be taking a different route. I know my way around the city so much better after all of this.

rue st Louis ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

You won't ever be stuck for something to eat in the rue St Louis - there's quite a large choice of restaurants along here. I can now even tell you what a Pizza Québecois is, something that I'm sure you have been dying to know. It's mushrooms, cheese, green peppers, pepperoni and tomato sauce.

But as an aside, look at the buildings along here in this photo. This could be any street anywhere in urban Late-Georgian England. Welsh Row, Nantwich sprang immediately to my mind, but I'm sure that you have your own favourite street.

Maison Curieux rue st Louis ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

Maybe not this house though. This is apparently the oldest building in the street and it's called the Maison Curieux.

There's a curieux story about this house, so they say. The owner was displaced and the house was demolished in 1709 because the city fathers at the time wanted to build the city walls right through the site. However what with one thing and another, principally the Treaty of Utrecht about which we talked a short while ago the walls through here were never built and the plot lay idle for 20 years.

Mind you, why they would want to build a wall here on a slope where the highest part of the land was outside the walls and so the attackers would have a clear view inside the defences is something that puzzles me, but never mind.

Eventually the family of the original owner brought an action against the city for repossession of the land which, after much ado (the usual situation in 18th Century litigation), was victorious and the house was rebuilt.

As for the name of the house - the Maison Curieux - this doesn't refer to the house but to the original owner, and the Curieux isn't a description of him but his surname. But then again, we've talked before about Québecois surnames . The new arrivals back in the early days of the colony were often given sobriquets to describe some particular personal characteristic - Couchetard or "Late-to-bed" being a good example of this - and as time wore on and people began to put their previous life in European France far behind them, they adopted these names as surnames. But I'd be interested, as I'm sure that we all would, to know the characteristic of this person that earned him the nickname Curieux

cannon ball embedded in tree rue st louis ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

Ooooh - now just look at this! There's what looks like a cannon ball embedded here in this tree. How strange!

Of course, the burning question is "was the cannon ball here first and did the tree grow aroud it, or was the tree here first and the cannon ball fired into the tree?" Mind you, cannon balls are big heavy things and had it been fired into a tree it ought to have demolished it, or at least in the course of time been swept upwards by the growth.

Chambers Wesley United Church Paroisse St Pierre rue Saint Ursule quebec canada september 2013

Halfway down the hill there's a right turning, the rue Saint-Ursule. I turned down there to look at a couple of churches.

In fact, I turned down here twice because during my mega-ramble in 2012, both churches were covered with scaffolding and netting and so I couldn't see anything. I was driving through Quebec one evening in September 2013 so I passed by here and this time, no scaffolding and no netting either.

This is the Chambers-Wesley United Church of the Paroisse St Pierre. Built in 1853, is interesting in that it shelters two Protestant congregations, one Francophone and one Anglophone; We've seen something similar to this before, although not quite the same situation, at the Church of St James in Trois-Rivières which holds bilingual masses.

This would have been a much better photo in April 2012 - we wouldn't have had the leaves on the trees then.

Chambers Wesley United Church Paroisse St Pierre rue Saint Ursule quebec canada september 2013

The sign by the door informs us that the Church is a Communaute Chretienne Ouverte and Acceuillante - an open and welcoming Christian Community, and that, dear reader, is very far from the truth.

When I tried the door into the Church, I found it to be locked and bolted. In fact the only door that was unbolted was the one to a small annexe where a builder had left all of his tools.

It seemed to me to be quite ironic that the builder has more faith in God and his fellow man than the Religious Authoristies

Sanctuare Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur rue Saint Ursule quebec canada september 2013

Across the road and partially hidden by the leaves on the trees is the Church of the Sanctuare Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur - the Sanctuary or Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. This church was designed by François-Xavier Berlinguet and built as recently as 1910.

It is said to be a replica of the Gothic Chapel of Notre Dame du Sacré Coeur at Issoudun, between Bourges and Chateauroux in France and not too far away from where I live, and I've seen many worse religious buildings than this during my travels too.

The very attractive building to the left of the church is now an avocat's office.

park rue Mount Carmel quebec windmill ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

At the end of the rue Mount Carmel is a small park and this was formerly the site of the Québec windmill.

There are several things that are interesting, not the least being that back in days of yore they certainly appreciated the power of the wind, as I did earler when I was walking around the fortifications. With the cheap electricity of the 1920s and 30s many of the windmills were ripped out but with the soaring energy prices of the 21st Century I just don't understand why they don't start putting them all back.

It is of course all down to the NIMBY factor. It's not the wind turbines that they don't want its that they want them Not In My Back Yard. They wouldn't care if they received their electricity from a nuclear reactor or a coal-fired power station, as long as it was next to someone else's house.

I remember once a plan to put up some wind turbines on the Maer Hills between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Market Drayton in the UK. There was a huge campaign to "Save Our Unspoilt Maer Hills" and so I went off to have a good look. And there on top of the "Unspoilt Maer Hills" was - you guessed it - a mobile telephone mast.

On questioning the locals about this, I was told
"well, we need the telephone mast!"
Dismantling the central distribution system and making communities responsible for creating their own power would soon put a stop to all of this nonsense.

But leaving the rant for a moment and returning to the windmill, in 1690 in the hornets' nest stirred up by Frontenac, which we also mentioned earlier a certain Admiral Phips sailed up the St Lawrence from the English colonies to attack Québec. We'll talk about him later too, but I'll just mention that the windmill was fortified and a few guns were installed in it, so that it could be used as a redoubt to protect the city.

side street rue st louis georgian french vernacular architecture ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

Meanwhile, back in the rue St Louis I happen to take a glance down another side street. The buildings on the left of course look, as I have been saying, like any kind of Georgian or early Regency street anywhere in the United Kingdom, with the typical bay windows, something that you don't really find in vernacular French architecture. The ones on the right look like typical bourgeoise rural French architecture from any kind of period you might care to name. Nevertheless, it's an interesting contrast of styles.

The large concrete monstrosity is interesting too, in a peculiar kind of way. I'll have to go for a wander around there for a closer look.

maison maillou ville de quebec city canada avril april 2012

At the end of the rue St Louis on the right just before the Place d'Armes we find this beautiful old house. It's called the Maison Maillou and during the period of the British Army's "occupation" of Québec it was the home of the Army's Treasurer General.

The "Maillou", by the way, refers to Jean Maillou, an architect who designed the building in 1736.

The building is commonly said to be a typical example of a Québecois building of the period of the early 18th Century, which shows just how wrong common thought can be. In fact, Maillou built it as a single-storeyed building and it was not until 1767 (the second half of the 18th Century) that the second storey was added.

It was smaller too in Mailllou's day. The two bays on the right were added in 1799.

But anyway, let's retrace our steps a little and look for this concrete monstrosity that caught our eye just now.

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