Saturday, September 9, 2017

La Belle Quebec: Trois Eglises

While I'm not one to hit every church in site when I travel, I do love and appreciate the architecture and flavor of various churches, as well as their histories, so while I Quebec City, I checked out a few.

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is a Roman Catholic church and it is located in Basse Ville (Lower Town) of Quebec City. The original church was started in 1687 on the first town square in the city and built on the site of Samuel de Champlain's original outpost. It was completed in 1723.

In the late 1600s it received the name Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire because the English were forced to retreat, providing a victory for the French. The "s" was added at the end in 1711 when a British fleet was sunk during bad weather.

The church we see today was restored in 1816 when the original was destroyed in large part by a battle with the British that preceded the famed Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.  It offers worship services and is quite a tourist site. In 1929 it was listed a National Historic Site of Canada.

I liked its clean simplicity, a minimum of the gold that so many churches seem to sport and the airy feel. Note the ship hanging from the rafters over the congregation.

It may be a myth or perhaps this is only in France but several years ago I learned that those in the fishing and shipping communities of Brittany in France often hung a boat over the congregation, a reminder of prayers for the safe return of the seafarers. In this case, it is a model of the ship Breze, commandeered by by Marquis de Tracy, a lieutenant governor in New France in the mid-`1600s.

Much of New France included those from Brittany and located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, perhaps this is the reason the ship takes prime space.

The second church we visited was The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, which is the home of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec and home to two parishes.

Founded in 1793, the building of a cathedral was a special project of the Diocese's first bishop.  The building took four years to build and was completed in 1804, the first Anglican cathedral built outside of the British Isles. It was designated a Historic Site in 1989.

The church was modeled after St. Martin in the Fields (London) and Marlebone Chapel in the Palladian Style and funded by King George III, who provided a folio Bible.

Alas, I have no photos of the remarkable Georgian silver exhibit that was there during our visit, or the bible but it was magnificent.

The church has a wide center and wide side aisles and magnificent stained glass at the altar. Surrounding the altar are the words to the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostle's Creed. Notably simple and elegant and design, there is a minimum of gold leaf, primarily on the arches.

The third church was the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, which is the oldest in the Americas north of Florida. It is also a National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The church has been at this site since 1647, though it has been destroyed by fire twice, including the 1759 Siege of Quebec. The facade is Neo-classic, based on the church of Sainte-Genevieve (Paris).  The second fire was by a Canadian faction of the Ku Klux Klan. It serves as the burial site of several governors of France as well as Catholic bishops.

It's clear they brought out the big bucks for this one. There is oodles of gold. Way more than I like but certainly it is quite impressive. As with the other two churches, services are still held here.

There are some lovely details, beautiful arches...

...and a splendid Therese de Lisieuz. A friend shared this in the comments: "Mary doesn't ever hold a crucifix.And then I noticed the roses (so beautifully carved) and the inscription, "...tomber une pluie des roses."
 "Après ma mort, je ferai tomber une pluie de roses" / After I die, I will let fall a rain of roses.

This is Therese de Lisieux.  A/k/a  The Little Flower, or the Little Child of Jesus. An enfant terrible, but what a personality!  A French nun, she died at 24, I think, tuberculosis, after slaying everyone at the convent with her piety, her sweetness, her sunny disposition and frequent reminders of her close friendship with le Bon Dieu. 

We might have stuck around longer to explore a bit more but church was starting. Nonetheless, an impressive place to worship.

As for me, I have been lighting candles, metaphorical and otherwise, for those in Houston, Florida, Louisiana, Mexico and the Atlantic coast, as well as the islands ravaged by Harvey, Irma and potentially Jose. I send wishes to friends virtual and in-person who are recovering from the storms or soon will be.

Miss anything -- here are links to Day One (Arrival) / Our terrific B&B / Day Two, Morning / Day Two, AfternoonDay Three /


Joanne Huffman said...

Lovely churches.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

There's a lot of gold in ALL the churches even the one you thought was minimal. I was truly impressed by the story of the boat over the people. I was surprised because I've never seen or heard anything like it. You certainly found some beauties. Your photos and descriptions were superb.

Like you, I am lighting a metaphorical candle for the hurricane victims and those who are in the path of Irma and Jose.

Valerie-Jael said...

You visited some wonderful churches, but I am with you that there is sometimes too much gold - I prefer simplicity. Love the one with the ship. Thanks for sharing the photos, hugs, Valerie

Marilyn Miller said...

I do love spending a little time in a beautiful church when traveling and all three of these were beautiful, each in it's own way. From the gold decadence to simplicity, I love it all. Thanks for sharing.

Sandi said...

The KKK burnt the church?? I did not expect to read that! I had no idea there had been a faction in Canada.

"I learned that those in the fishing and shipping communities of Brittany in France often hung a boat over the congregation, a reminder of prayers for the safe return of the seafarers."

Oh, that's nice!

Joyful said...

You've posted some beauties of the city's churches. When I was travelling around the Gaspe a few years ago and through QC I was struck by the number of RC churches but I didn't have a chance to go into any of them. We were in a bit of hurry to get to NY state and my main goal was to get to Perce.

My name is Erika. said...

It's a very pretty church, isn't it? I love the ship. Speaks a lot of the history. Quebec City really is a gorgeous place. And I would like to meet Inspector Gamache there too. :) I wonder if a little town like Three Pines exists? Louise Penny must have gotten her inspiration someplace. Hope all is well. Hugs-Erika

RaeAbigael said...

beautiful photos and beautiful churches <3
anyway, i hope you can drop by my blog too and follow if you like! saying hello all the way from Southeast Asia! :))

xoxo, rae

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my gosh, these churches are amazing. I love the idea of the hanging boat!
Hoping Mother Nature settles soon.

Lynne said...

Lovely . . each of the three churches.
I too enjoy visiting churches when we travel.
I find it interesting to see the vast differences.
I prefer more simplicity . . . yet enjoy seeing the different, unique, opulent.

No words for all the suffering . . . Huricanes, fires in the west, earthquakes . . .what is happening!

Tammie Lee said...

Such beautiful details.
I rarely think of visiting churches while at home. But traveling it is a special thing to do, especially in Europe.

Lovely Sunday to you Jeanie.

Lisbeth Ekelof said...

I love those ships. I saw one for the first time, last year, when we visited Alkmaar in the Netherlands. That is also a seefarer town. They add a little bit of the real world to the churches.

Mae Travels said...

Many of your beautiful photos do resemble churches in Europe, but when you zoom out and show the amount of seating, it's clear they are much smaller. Interesting historical background!

best... mae at

eileeninmd said...

Hello, beautiful churches. The interiors are gorgeous, so many lovely details. The ship is cool. Great collection of photos. Thanks for sharing your visit.
Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

Rita C. said...

There seems something very contradictory with churches flaunting so much pomp - particularly Catholic - when their religious life take an oath of poverty. Aside from that comment, I love the artwork of the architecture of old churches. However, that first, simpler church drew me in the most. I am most curious of the oil paintings on the walls - did you get photographs of those? That seems as unusual as the ship hanging - intriguing, and a beautiful altar!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Hi Jeanie!!!! Great photos! You keep inspiring me!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, when we travel churches and cathedrals are always on our itenary. Each church here, although different is beautiful. I love the simplicity to the ornate. Such interesting history, I enjoyed hearing about the ship, I've never heard that. I immediately saw the resemblance of another to St Martin in the Fields. Thanks for the tour of these beautiful churches. Praying for all those affected from hurricanes...........

Victoria Zigler said...

I always thought churches were beautiful to look at. Don't like to be in them for anything more than that, so wouldn't want to stay for the services, but they are beautiful. I also think churchbells are a beautiful sound, and love that I can hear the bells from the nearby church from where I live.

I'm not the praying ktyp, but my thoughts are with those who ave lost so much from the devestation of the storms, as well as those who are in the path of the coming ones.

Susie said...

So beautiful. I love that church. I seem to like most churches. There's a calm feeling when in church. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

shoreacres said...

I was curious about the Plains of Abraham. I wondered if there was something Biblical about that, but no -- they are likely named after Abraham Martin, a fisherman and river pilot who moved to Quebec City in 1635 with his wife Marguerite Langlois and received 32 acres of land.

Although the ship certainly could be tied to the fishing communities, the ship is one of the oldest Christian symbols for the Church. There's a reason the name for the primary interior space of a church -- the "nave" -- and the word "naval" are related -- both are rooted in the Latin navis, or ship. The congregation I served in Houston has a wonderful ship hanging in its nave. It was added when the church was renovated. You can see a photo of it and a little more explanation here.

I love churches, and always visit as many as I can in a new place. Now that I can't get to my wildlife refuges and parks because of the flooding, I may finally get around to doing a post about some very special Texas churches.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, those churches are beautiful! I love popping into churches when traveling because the interior is often more impressive than you would think it would be judging by the exterior! I like tastefully used golf foil, so that third one was a bit much but it's still beautiful and it would be a beautiful place to attend mass. I had never seen or heard of the tradition of hanging a boat over the parishioners - love that idea!

Jeanie said...

Via email from a fun and knowledgeable friend!
I didnt realize how deeply dyed in the wool a Catholic I was 'til I was reading Trois Eglises.

Revel, revel, revel in the photos and then, 2nd to the last, the statue you identify as a beautiful virgin Mary.

I looked at it (hey, my namesake...) and looked again, and said, no....wait, Mary doesn't ever hold a crucifix. And then I noticed the roses (so beautifully carved) and the inscription, "...tomber une pluie des roses."

"Après ma mort, je ferai tomber une pluie de roses"

After I die, I will let fall a rain of roses.

That, my dear, is Therese de Lisieux. A/k/a The Little Flower, or the Little Child of Jesus. An enfant terrible, a total pain in the ass, but what a personality! A French nun, she died at 24, I think, tuberculosis, after slaying everyone at the convent with her piety, her sweetness, her sunny disposition and frequent reminders of her close friendship with le Bon Dieu. I think I would have hated her!

Therese. (I am looking for my accents aigu et grave, mais Yahoo does not have them. Pronounce it "tay-REZZZ"

"After I die, I will let fall a rain of roses."

Which she did. Drama queen.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, I am enjoying your tours. I love to visit palaces and cathedrals when traveling. All three are beautiful and I enjoyed the walk around them! We are expecting Irma in NE AL in a couple of hours with heavy rain and winds. Hopefully, we have secured everything outside!

Stacey said...

Gosh, this is so ornate and beautiful!

Wandering Wren said...

This is where it really helps having two passports! Instead of tiptoeing in and out quietly as the enemy, I can come as an Aussie and say how very interesting!!!
Wren x

Tracy said...

This was WONDERFUL to see, Jeanie! I love the simplicity with touches of the splendid of Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire. Many older churches with coastal locations have ships hanging from the ceiling too! You know, I didn't know about the great heritage of Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec... All that gold--WOW! It's very impressive, for sure. I like me a simple chapel too, though. I admire Saint Therese de Lisieux--a great Catholic icon. I like her. ;) Thanks for taking us to so many beautiful places... ((HUGS))

France Booktours said...

Thanks for your wonderful pictures, as always. Am actually preparing to go there myself!
By the way, I saw you left a message about the book Requiem in Yquem, in the wine series, at Paulita's blog. You can keep an eye on France Book Tours, as we usually have tours for each book in the series. The publisher does not require to post a review on a blog, so you could get the book and just post your review on amazon. To sign up to be informed of upcoming tours,it's at Emma (who also writes at Words And Peace)

Red Rose Alley said...

These Roman Catholic Cathedrals are beautiful. I am Catholic myself, so they really spoke to my heart. The architecture is grand and the statues are so special. You know, Saint Therese is one of my favorites. She is known for her "simple" ways. This is a pretty picture of her with the blue background and roses. You should read about her and the roses sometime. Thanks for sharing the cathedrals, Jeanie. The statue of Mary is beautiful.


Regine Karpel said...


Sandra Cox said...

The churches are magnificent aren't they?
Hope you had a day filled with sparkle.

koi seo said...

Your photos and descriptions were superb.


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