Visiting Sainte-Pétronille, Île d'Orléans, Quebec: on an historic island in the Saint Lawrence River, near Quebec City
A peaceful, historic village
This village, on the historic island in the Saint Lawrence River (French: Fleuve Saint-Laurent) known as Île d'Orléans, is scenically located opposite Quebec City / Québec, of which it offers commanding views, especially on a clear day.
Particularly since the 19th century, Sainte-Petronille has been a popular location for weekend day-trips from Quebec City. Interestingly, North America's first golf club was founded here in 1869!
It was on Île d'Orléans that General James Wolfe camped with his forces, prior to his successful assault on the Plains of Abraham (French: Plaines d'Abraham), close to Quebec City in 1759. In what is now Sainte-Pétronille, General Wolfe and his forced stayed at a location then known as Mont-des-roses.
Between 1874 and 1980, the village was known officially as Beaulieu, when it was changed to Sainte-Pétronille. Prior to 1874, it formed part of the parish of Saint-Pierre-de-l'Île-d'Orléans, itself named for a church building there dating from 1717-1719, the oldest on the island.
Sainte-Pétronille has a church building thus named also. This stone building has a prominent spire, and conspicuous Syrian arches at its main frontage windows. The building was designed by architect Joseph-Ferdinand Peachy (1830-1903)(1), and dates from 1871; the spire was added in 1873.
There is also an Anglican chapel, St Mary's, in Sainte-Pétronille.
My visit here occurred on a very cold day, and I repaired to a tea shop, where warmth and sustenance were readily forthcoming, and from where the peaceful scenery could be taken in.
This picturesque locality is known for have been visited by artists for some centuries; these include the painters Willian Berczy (1744-1813) and Horatio Walker (1858-1938) — the latter buried in the village.
Many visitors to Sainte-Pétronille will also visit the Montmorency Falls (French: Chute Montmorency), located on the mainland just over the bridge linking the Île d'Orléans with the northern shore of the Saint Lawrence.
Some families who live in the locality can trace back their ancestry to 1652 as descendants of Eléonore de Grandmaison (1620-1673), who was predeceased by four husbands.
This mainly Francophone village has a website which, in anticipation of visits from many Anglophones, has an English web page with visitor intormation and maps (2).
February 20, 2015
(1) Architect Peachy was also responsible for the Eglise Saint-Sauveur, the Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the Église Saint-Zéphirin-de-Stadacona and the Maison Thibaudeau, in Quebec City; he also worked on the restoration of the Collège Morrin / Morrin College, now a National Historic Site of Canada / Lieu historique national du Canada.
(2) See: http://ste-petronille.iledorleans.com/fra/a-stroll-in-the-village-of-sainte-petronille.asp
Some sourcing: Wikipedia.
Also worth seeing
There are many outstanding historical and cultural sites worth visiting in and around Quebec City which are too many to mention here, but a few of these include:
Hôtel du Parlement (Parliament Building); this gracious 1886 building which houses the National Assembly of Quebec (Assemblée National du Québec), is described as exhibiting Second Empire style, designed by architect Eugène-Étienne Taché .
Château Frontenac; this mainly pre-World War 1 building on a huge scale is sometimes known as the most photographed hotel in the world, overlooks Old Quebec (Lower Town) - le Vieux-Québec (Basse-Ville) and, like the Citadel, the Saint Lawrence River.
Montmorency Falls (la Chute Montmorency) are a spectacular sight, on a scale which is higher than Ontario and New York's Niagara Falls.
Louis S. St.-Laurent Heritage House (Maison patrimoniale Louis-S.-St.-Laurent); the Right Honourable Louis St.-Laurent, Prime Minister of Canada (1948-1957) lived in this house, now a museum, until his death in 1973.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Quebec City (Aéroport international Jean-Lesage de Québec ) from Montreal and Toronto, with wide connections. VIA Rail maintains regular services with Montreal, Toronto and Windsor. A number of car rental companies offer service at Quebec City airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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