Quebec City Tour: Notre Dame des Anges

Notre dame des anges
Gateway to Quebec’s smallest municipality

For most people in Quebec City, Notre Dame des Anges refers to the ironically-named street where you could pick up prostitutes in the days before Saint Roch was cleaned up and gentrified. Few locals realize there’s another place of the same name in their midst.

Notre Dame des Anges is the smallest municipality in the province (0.06 km2), with a mere 456 residents. It’s right in the heart of Quebec’s urban core but has managed to escape the recent municipal mergers that swallowed up most suburbs within a 10km radius. It was created in 1855 to protect its main occupant from taxes, the 300+ year old General Hospital. It survives today as a tax haven run by the mother superior of the Augustines.

Hopital general

The ruler of this fiefdom is a nun named Sister Plante, and much of her walled town is off limits to anyone who isn’t a part of the Augustinian order. In addition to the hospital, the municipality is home to their monastery. There’s also a cemetery where over a thousand French and British soldiers who fought in the Seven Years War are buried, including Montcalm himself.

Montcalm grave
Montcalm’s final resting place

Monastery Augustines Notre dame des anges

The highlight of the town is (apparently) the Chapelle conventuelle Notre-Dame-des-Anges, dating back to 1671. Since the hospital was located far from all the fighting between the French and English, it escaped the cannonballs that ruined most other city churches in the 1700s. This makes it the oldest surviving church in the city. I’ve never been inside, but I hear it’s worth the trip if you can convince the nuns to let you in. I met a few people who got through, and they say it’s the best church in the city, worth it just to see the naive paintings of the early colony painted by a former nun.

Chapelle notre dame des anges
Chapel (courtesy Wikipedia)

This entry was written by Patrick Donovan , posted on Saturday April 25 2009at 03:04 am , filed under Canada, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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