François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, once ruled a diocese that stretched to the Gulf of Mexico. Laval's original cathedral burned down and has been rebuilt several times, but the current basilica still has a chancel lamp that was a gift from Louis XIV, the Sun King.
The church's interior includes a canopy dais over the Episcopal throne, a ceiling of painted clouds decorated with gold leaf, and richly colored stained-glass windows. The large crypt was Québec City's first cemetery; more than 900 bodies are interred here, including 20 bishops and four governors of New France. Samuel de Champlain may be buried near the basilica; archaeologists have been searching for his tomb since 1950. There are panels that allow you to read about the history of this church. If you prefer, guided tours of the cathedral and crypt (by appointment only) are also available. The Centre d'animation François-de-Laval uses videos and pictures to illustrate the life of Québec's first bishop and founder of Canada's Catholic Church. A "holy door" was added to the church in 2014.