The liveliest spot in Old Montréal, this gently inclined square hums with performance artists, street musicians and the animated chatter from terrace restaurants lining its borders. A public market was set up here after a château burned down in 1803. At its top end stands the Colonne Nelson, a monument erected to Admiral Lord Nelson after his defeat of Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar.
Nelson’s presence is a thorn in the side of many French Québécois, and there have been many attempts to have it removed. Francophones later installed a statue of an obscure French admiral, Jean Vauquelin, in the nearby Place Vauquelin, just west of Hôtel de Ville on Rue Notre-Dame.