Have you ever meditated outdoors? Doing it surrounded by nature while the wind gently rocks you is nothing short of a magical experience. What could be more enchanting than relaxing in one of the many parks of Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Le Monastère des Augustines has five parks to suggest for your next meditation session in Old Quebec this summer!
Jardin des Gouverneurs
Located right next to the Château Frontenac between des Carrières and de la Porte Streets, the Jardin des Gouverneurs (Governors’ Garden) is a wooded urban park filled with narrow paths built around 1648 under the initiative of Governor Charles Huault de Montmagny. Peaceful and located only a few steps from Dufferin Terrace and lively Place d’Armes, the Governors’ Garden was opened to the public in 1838 after being exclusive to the colony’s governor. It is home to the first commemorative monument erected in Quebec City: an obelisk dedicated to the memory of Wolfe and Montcalm, who faced each other during the famous Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Settle down under one of the park’s beautiful trees, and relax while gazing out toward the Saint Laurence River.
Parc Cavalier-du-Moulin is possibly one of Quebec City’s best-kept secrets. Hidden at the very end of charming Mont-Carmel Street, this 1500 square-meter park is home to gorgeous elms, cottonwoods and serviceberry trees, and offers visitors an unparalleled view of Old Quebec. A vestige of the city’s French fortifications erected in the 17th century, back then, Cavalier-du-Moulin Park was a defensive military structure called “cavalier”. When it was built in 1663, it included a windmill (“moulin”), which explains the park’s current name. Nowadays, the park is an intimate, peaceful oasis which makes you feel more relaxed as soon as you set foot in it—a hidden treasure adjacent to the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec. The park is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and closes from November 1 to April 15.
Parc Bastion-de-la-Reine certainly offers one of Quebec City’s most spectacular views. Its history is closely linked with the Citadel of Quebec, the most important fortress built by the British in North America. The park constitutes a section of the buffer zone, an uncovered embankment which slopes gently in front of the fortification. Although it’s gaining popularity, it is still possible to enjoy its tranquil atmosphere. Don’t hesitate to head to the most western part of the park between des Grisons and de Brébeuf Streets. Enjoy the wonderful view on the Saint Laurence River, the Château Frontenac and the Petit-Champlain while breathing in deeply and letting yourself be overcome with gratitude and enjoying the present moment.
Parc de l’Esplanade
A huge park accessible via D’Auteuil Street, and which spreads from Dauphine to Saint-Louis Streets, the Parc de l’Esplanade is popular with frequent visitors of Old Quebec City. You might have noticed passersby perched atop its fortifications, taking a stroll, or enjoying a picnic. Climb its paths to reach the top of the fortifications and take in a lovely view of the Laurentians and D’Auteuil Street’s magnificent buildings, as well as the splendid Fontaine de Tourny and the Parliament Building. Before being turned into a park, the Esplanade was used as a zone to separate the fortifications from Quebec City’s urban fabric. The space was designed between 1779 and 1783, and was used for everything from military exercises and parades, to popular and even political gatherings. Nowadays, it’s a pleasant place to rest, and offers a game area for children.
Plains of Abraham
The green lung of Quebec City, Plains of Abraham Park is one of the most prestigious urban parks in the world, and one of the most important historical parks in Canada. The setting for the famous Battle of the Plains of Abraham of 1759, the park is home to numerous monuments and historic remains. The Quebec City jewel and cultural gathering location is beloved by city dwellers and made up of over 100 inestimably beautiful hectares of plains and flowery, grassed, and wooded valleys. It is brimming with places to rest and paths to stroll that are all more beautiful than the last. Explore it to discover your favourite spot, and don’t hesitate to visit everything it has to offer! Le Monastère’s favourite places are between Garneau Avenue and Martello Tower 1, as well as between the Flower Beds on Ontario Avenue and the Charles-Baillairgé pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Don’t forget to stop at Joan of Arc Garden on your way to take in around 150 plant and flower varieties.