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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg
National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg
Lieu historique national du Canada

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Each summer the Fortress springs to life. Dozens of costumed animators become the town's residents of the summer of 1744. Period homes, exhibits and theme centres line the central streets of Rue Toulouse and Rue Royale, as well as along the busy waterfront (quay).


Men, women and children enact the full range of society from the leisurely activities of the rich to the hard physical labour of the poor. You'll see engineers, musicians, soldiers, merchants, street vendors, bakers, servants and fishermen.


The "residents" will surprise and delight you with stories, dances, music, nailmaking, cooking, sewing, gardening and animal care.


At the elegant home of Étienne Verrier, the King's engineer, meet Claude Verrier. Find out about the layout of the town, its fortifications and the engineer's activities at the time of the siege.


At the Ordonnateur's Residence, chat with the elite of Louisbourg to get a different view of colonial life.


Experience the family life of a military officer of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine. Visit the home of Captain and Madame DeGannes. Discover some tricks of open-hearth cooking and the skill of lace making.



Surrounded by ramparts, the King's Bastion is a fort within a fortress. The King's Bastion Barracks is the largest building on site and in its day was one of the largest buildings in North America.


Visit Chapelle St. Louis, Louisbourg's garrison chapel, the soldiers’ Barracks rooms and the refurnished governors residence.


See the Two Decades exhibit on the reconstruction of Louisbourg during the 1960s and 1970s.


See artifacts found during 20 years of archaeological excavation.


Talk to a soldier. You'll find them happy to tell you about guard duty, living conditions, armaments, security, food and a soldier's life in general.



These modern areas offer a variety of activities relating to specific aspects of the Louisbourg story.


At the Ordonnateur's Residence, learn about Louisbourg, the seaport, view original objects from 18th century Louisbourg and see paintings that portray the Louisbourg during the summer of 1744.


Watch Compagnies Franches de la Marine, a 15-minute video about a Louisbourg soldier's life, in DuHaget House.


See an exhibit about the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Louisbourg’s teachers of young women.


In the de la Plagne house there is an exhibit about the Mi’kmaw community through history to the present day.


In the Carrerot House, discover period building techniques.


Visit the Museum and see a scale model of the Fortress and some of the Site's earliest artifacts.



Costumed staff in three period restaurants prepare and serve delicious food and beverages based on 18th-century tradition and recipes. The restaurants observe the church calendar. So don't plan on eating meat dishes on days of abstinence (Fridays and Saturdays)!


At the Hôtel de la Marine and the Grandchamps enjoy a full meal or a light lunch. Here the townspeople and off-duty soldiers would have eaten, drank, gambled and gossiped. Plan on sharing a knife, as you'll get only a large spoon as your eating utensil!


Experience fine dining and New World ambiance at L'Épée Royale. Here you can show off your proper breeding and eat with a full set of cutlery.


Modern snacks and beverages are available at the Destouches House.


Visit the King's Bakery and buy a soldier's daily ration of bread!


The restaurants and bakery are open from June 1 to September 30. Inquire about reservations for groups during this period, for daytime or special night time events. Call (902) 733-3230 June to September; (902) 733-3548 October to June; FAX(902) 733-3046. These concessions, along with two gift boutiques are operated by the Fortress Louisbourg Association.

For further information on this organization, contact

Fortress Louisbourg  Association
265 Park Service Road,
Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
B1C 2L2

Call (902) 733-2280 or Fax (902) 733-3046.



Held each year in late August to commemorate King Louis IX (1214-1270), once patron saint of France. Enjoy the recreation of this 18th-century celebration with cannon salutes, musket firings, dancing, gambling, children's games, music and a TeDeum sung in the chapel.

Be Careful

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a faithful reproduction of an 18th-century town. Many areas require caution when visiting. Some cobblestone walking areas are uneven and buildings dimly lit. Ramparts and walls are unprotected by guard rails, or barricades. You may see both domestic and wild animals on-site; do not try to pet or feed them.


The ruins walk takes you through 18th century archaeological ruins of buildings and fortifications. A self-guiding brochure and exhibit panels describe each location. The walk begins near the Museum on the reconstruction site.

The Mi’kmaq Trail is a short loop located opposite the visitor centre. Interpretive panels provide information of the life, culture and historic association of the Mi’kmaq with the French settlers. There is a spectacular panoramic view of the fortress from the top of the trail.

Simon Point nature trail leads through the woods to the ocean. The tail head is along the Kennington Cove Road.

The Royal Battery interpretive walk starts just past theVisitor Centre on route 22. Ground interpretive panels explain the role of this fortification in the Louisbourg defensive system.

Picnic near the site of the oldest lighthouse in Canada or at landing areas of siege forces.


Watch for harbour seals, pothead whales and boats.


Walk to the ruins near the Royal Battery parking lot.


Oceanside picnicking is available at Kennington Cove until September 30.


Picnic tables are also available on the reconstructed site in the King's Garden.



There are two beautiful ocean beaches offering supervised swimming (in July and August)  and non-supervised swimming at nearby Kennington Cove and Anson's Cove, accessible until September 30.



Choose from a number of streams, brooks and lakes. You'll find speckled trout in accessible waters. Relax by one of three brooks: Kennington Cove, Landing Cove or Gerratt. Or hike the Old French Road walking trail to enjoy angling at one of the more remote lakes.


Some fishing areas are not clearly marked, so check at the Visitor Reception Centre for specific directions and conditions. Bring your valid national park or provincial fishing licence with you. Neither is available for sale at the Site.



Kennington Cove Road is great for the novice skier and offers a shelter at the halfway point. A beautiful ocean view awaits you at the end of the trail, serviced with pit toilets.


Intermediate skiers will be challenged by the trail at the Old French Road. This trail runs through mixed hardwoods and balsam fir with a few steep sections and no facilities. Skilled skiers can continue on to either the Kennington Cove Road or on the Old French Road, but there are no facilities. Trails are groomed on an occasional basis only. For up-to-date information on trail conditions call (902) 733-2280.



Special presentations and guided tours are available for school groups, bus tours and other special interest groups. By booking in advance, presentations can be tailored to meet specific needs. Extra charges may apply to some programmes.



Public washrooms and telephones are available in the Visitor Reception Centre and in select buildings at the Fortress. For details, check the site map or ask a guide.



If you have a disability, you can arrange for a pass at the Visitor Reception Centre to drive your own vehicle to the Fortress. Fortress streets are wheelchair-accessible, with assistance. For more detailed information,  ask at the Visitor Reception Centre. Some Fortress Busses are wheelchair accessible and wheelchair lifts are available at the Visitor Centre and the Beauséjour  House on-site. Please note that wheelchairs are not provided at the site.



Pets are not allowed in the fortress. You may want to consider kennelling your pet since there are no kennels nearby. Check the Yellow Pages for current listings.  Pet sitting services are available in the town of Louisbourg. Service Dogs are permitted on the Fortress site.  Dogs are permitted in other areas of the Park if they are leashed and under control at all times.



Inquire at the tourism information centre located in the S&L Railway Museum for information on tourist services and activities available in the local community. A full range of dining, accommodations, camping,  local museums and other services is available.