The Saint-Louis Gate is one of the entry points in the fortified walls surrounding Old Québec. On the inside of the walls, rue Saint-Louis stretches from the gate to Château Frontenac, while on the outside can be found the Parliament Building and Grande Allée.
This iconic gate is part of the fortification system comprising bastions, gates and defensive structures that account for Québec City's renown as a fortified colonial city and the reason Old Québec was named a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Only three other gates that were part of the original fortifications survive: the Kent, Saint-Jean and Prescott gates.
What to do at the Saint-Louis Gate
- Climb the stairs to the top of the gate to admire rue Saint-Louis and Parliament Hill. These stairs also open up onto the walkway running along the top of the fortifications. As you follow this walkway to the Saint-Jean Gate, you will marvel at the view of Old Québec afforded from this vantage point.
- Note the monument commemorating the historical conferences of 1943 and 1944, attended by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to discuss World War II plans.
The history of the Saint-Louis Gate
The first Saint-Louis Gate was in the late 17th century under the French Regime at its present location.
During the British Regime, the army closed the gate doors at night to restrict travel between the city and outlying areas, which disrupted trade and hampered the city's development. When the British troops left in 1871, the gate doors were removed to permit traffic to flow freely.
Appreciative of the historical value of this architectural treasure, the newly appointed Governor General of Canada, Lord Dufferin, was opposed to having the ramparts and gates torn down. He, along with an Irish architect specializing in the reconstruction of medieval military structures, developed a plan to preserve and enhance these defensive works. The result of their efforts are the fortifications and gates seen today. The current Saint-Louis Gate dates back to 1878 and is both much larger and more esthetically pleasing than the original.