The Lower Town of Old Québec, as compact as it is, has a surprising diversity of neighborhoods – neighborhoods that overlap and complement one another. It is the oldest part of town, containing architectural vestiges of the first European traders to settle here. It is a bustling port, with the deep St. Lawrence nearby, constantly busy with maritime traffic. It is a prime shopping destination, the charming boutiques of the Little Champlain Street beckoning to passersby all year long.
The Lower Town is also a district of art galleries. Not to be confused with the Quartier des Arts of the Upper Town, the galleries of the Lower Town are scattered along a crescent-shaped brushstroke at the base of Cape Diamond between la Place Royale and the Old Port. Rue Notre-Dame, rue du Sault-au-Matelot, rue St-Pierre, and rue St-Paul each leads into the next, taking aficionados on a journey through the Québec City art scene. Whether you are looking for the perfect painting for your living room wall or just looking, the Lower Town galleries will satisfy your appetite for art appreciation.
There is a spectacular annual event – la Nuit des Galéries – that gives these galleries a night of their own. By mutual accord, they keep their doors open until 11:00 p.m. as flocks of art enthusiasts stroll from one to the next on the lighted pedestrian streets of the Lower Town. It is always a magical event, enjoyed in the clement cool of a September evening. This year, la Nuit des Galéries has again been cancelled because of COVID restrictions, but for the second year running, it has been replaced with a contagion-free alternative: le Mois des Galéries! Every Saturday in the month of September, the galleries will offer a special welcome and enhanced programming to their guests: artists in residence, demonstrations of various art techniques, and more. As you make your agenda for this month, consider spending an afternoon visiting the art galleries of the Lower Town.