Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Qué, Town, pop 2752 (2001c), 3023 (1996c), 3146 (1991c), 3162 (1986c), area 62.64 km2, inc 1855, located on the north shore of the St Lawrence River 35 km east of Québec City, is known worldwide for its shrine, a pilgrimage site attracting over one million visitors yearly. In 1658 Étienne Lessard, one of the first settlers, ceded some land for the construction of the first wooden chapel dedicated to Ste-Anne, who was especially venerated in New France.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
Built too close to the river, it was damaged by the tides and rebuilt in 1661 at the foot of the slope. It was replaced by a stone church in 1676. Enlarged several times, the church welcomed thousands of pilgrims during almost 2 centuries. It was demolished in 1872 and replaced by the first basilica, which was destroyed by fire in 1922.
The present Roman-style basilica dates from 1926. Its treasures include sacred 18th-century vases engraved by, among others, François Ranvoyzé and Laurent Amyot and a large collection of ex-votos (see votive painting). The north chapel, built in 1878, holds several works saved from the demolition of the old church, including the steeple which had been rebuilt in 1788.
The altars were designed by Charles Vézina 1702-28; the crucifix and wooden chandeliers were sculpted by François-Noël Levasseur in 1779; the pulpit, put into place in 1807, shows the talents of François Baillairgé. L'Historial, the sanctuary museum, has 17th-and 18th-century religious paintings, including 2 attributed to Frére Luc.