Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
4.5
Speciality MuseumsHistoric Sites
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Welcome to the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, a magical place on the edge of a continent where past and present come together to celebrate Canada’s diverse heritage. Please note that we have three seasons throughout the year: Low season Opportunities to experience the Fortress of Louisbourg's quiet streets during the low season allow visitors to imagine life in the toughest of conditions almost 300 years ago. While there are no services available, a low season visit may provide the best opportunity for visitors to experience the stillness of the streets, take in the beauty of the exterior architecture of the buildings, or simply enjoy the treasures that life's quietest moments may bring. For a new way to experience the site in the low season, try our Explora app. Through sound, video, photos, quizzes and text, you will hold stories about Louisbourg in your hands as you walk through both the reconstructed town and the fortress's ruins. Explora is available to download for free at the App Store and through Google Play. Shoulder season For those seeking quiet opportunities and some on-site services, visiting during the shoulder season is recommended. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring setting with beautiful visuals as they stand on our history-laden grounds. Several buildings with exhibits are open for you to discover. Explore the site on your own or embark on an Explora tour of the grounds. To enhance your visit you may purchase a guided tour or participate in the Time Travel program. Accessible guided tours are available as well. We recommend reserving a place on these tours in advance. By the end of June, the site will begin to fill with costumed interpreters as we ramp up for peak season. After Labour Day, the Fortress of Louisbourg winds down once again with costumed animators interpreting some buildings into September. No matter the season, be sure to find out from reception what activities and experiences may be on offer that day. Peak Season Peak season brings a different kind of magic on-site as costumed people add life to the streets and the homes. A foggy day cloaks the site in mystery and creates scenes and images not to be forgotten. A cold day with wind and rain may draw visitors to the warmth of a welcoming fire or to the cozy inn for a warming bowl of soup. A hot day shows the town and its various gardens at their brightest. On summer feast days colour and pageantry break the routine of daily life as the townspeople promenade in their finery. Chores are the order of the day on summer and fall mornings. With the rooster's crow comes bread from the ovens that supplies both soldiers and hungry visitors. Louisbourg's inhabitants are happy to share their stories, and can be found working the forge, tending the gardens and running the kitchens. The beat of drums and the chime of the garrison clock order the soldiers' day. The sound of a cannon marks midday. You can even fire a cannon or musket yourself by taking part in our 'Have a Blast' or 'Have a Ball' programs. Music might be heard from a waterfront tavern. Children play games in the streets, while the sentry at the gate challenges those who wish to enter the walled town. A public punishment gathers spectators. Sheep run through the streets, called home by the stable hand. Each hour offers something unique and real. During the peak season you can immerse yourself in an 18th century dining experience, available daily, at the Hotel de la Marine and Grandchamp House. For those who prefer a modern experience L'Epee Royale Cafe offers a cozy stop for hot and cold beverages and a variety of pastries. Groups can pre-arrange a dining experience by calling 902-733-3552. The daily fare varies with the season. Please check in advance for menu options and our ability to accommodate any special dietary requirements. Hours of Operation Low season: October 11, 2016 - May 21, 2017) Open Monday to Friday (except statutory holidays) 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Shoulder Season: May 22 2017 to June 30 2017 and September 5 2017 to October 9, 2017 Open 7 days per week 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Peak Season: July 1 - September 4 Open 7 days per week 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Dining Establishment Hours of Operation Grandchamp House Lower class (Less formal dining) July 1 - August 25 (Doors open at 10:30 a.m.) Hotel de la Marine Upper class (More formal dining) July 1 - August 25 (Doors open at 11 a.m.) Hotel de la Marine Lower class (Less formal dining) August 26 - October 9 2017 (Doors open at 10:30 a.m.) L'Epee Royale Cafe May 22 - October 9 2017 (Doors open at 10 a.m.) When the Fortress of Louisbourg is in low season, programs and services are provided through the Fortress Louisbourg Association after-hours programs. Whether it's the bustling street or the solitude of the shore, a visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg offers many opportunities for memorable experiences.
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  • jeep_girl_00
    St. John's, Canada1,891 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Journey Back in Time
    The Fortress of Louisbourg offers a captivating journey back in time. The authenticity and attention to detail in recreating an 18th-century fortified town are impressive. The costumed interpreters and restored buildings bring history to life. Breathtaking views add to the allure. It's a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking Canada's rich heritage. Don't forget comfortable footwear and take a photo of the map for exploring. Overall, a truly memorable experience. (Shuttle is every 15 minutes)
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 21, 2023
  • Candice S
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful historical experience
    Amazing value for the money! We thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the houses, talking with the interpreters, and participating in a reconstruction of a public punishment. We paid for a one hour motorized tour, which provided a great overview of the history of the area and fortress (thank you, Alice!). You could easily spend 4+ hours here.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 22, 2023
  • localcanadian793
    Halifax, Canada138 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing day spent!
    Absolutely amazing time spent here! We have two teens and weren’t sure what their reaction would be but they had such a great time! We opted not to do a tour and instead explored on our own, and we got to spend a total of 4 hours walking around, chatting with the “residents” and learning about the history of the fortress town. We are at one of the restaurants, which was a bit pricey (to add bacon to your burger they charge $4 and you only get one slice of bacon cut in half). Definitely plan to see the moon cannon and gun fire “show”. It’s incredible!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 27, 2023
  • Marcus M
    Halifax, Canada8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    More than a museum
    More than just a fortress, Louisbourg is an actual walled town positioned on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It has roads, a stunning chapel, houses and gardens and offers much to see and do. The staff are knowledgeable and attentive and the entire site is just so beautiful as is the surrounding area.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 7, 2023
  • Karen F
    Chokoloskee, Florida194 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must visit
    We have been to many historical sites all over this continent, and this is one of the finest. They’re a constant reenactments going on, and I have been thoroughly impressed with how well educated the rain actors are. The revitalization of this fortress was sponsored by the government in the 1960s to supply jobs for the locals as the mining Industry was Slowing in this area. There are numerous displays of the rebuilding of this for it and it appeared to me like many of the characters more involved in different phases of the rebuilding of this fortification. Yes, you must go see this.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 11, 2023
  • musicman1961
    202 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive
    The welcome center is excellent as you get a good background history. Beautiful building and great staff. Then you take a shuttle bus down to the fortress which is huge. If you can catch some events it will be interesting. Otherwise, you're basically walking around outside. If the weather is bad I'd say don't do it.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Bob S
    Bergisch Gladbach, Germany137 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth a visit
    Well worth a visit to this historic French/British fortification. Loved the re-enactment actors who populated the place and really helped us understand what life was like back in the day. Plan on spending at least a couple hours at this site, more if you chose to eat at the restaurant, where you are issued only a spoon to eat your meal no matter what you order. The huge linen napkin bibs provided added a special touch to the experience.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 28, 2023
  • Culture Vulture 60657
    Chicago, Illinois10,681 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An excellent experience
    I've wanted to visit Louisbourg for years; it did not disappoint. It operates in a similar way to Williamsburg, Virginia: you stroll around, ducking into doorways and encounter costumed interpreters who play the roles of historic personages from the 18th Century who lived there. They demonstrate their crafts and tell you about their lives. They happily answer questions and engage with you. It's picturesque, historically accurate, entertaining and informative. The reconstructed buildings, which are only about 25% of the original site, contain exhibits and period furnishings, giving a good picture of what life may have been like for the people centuries ago. Plan to spend at least 3 hours there.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 19, 2023
  • eVe 🇸🇬🇸🇬🇸🇬
    Singapore, Singapore1,214 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Walk down memory lane of Cape Breton
    We arrived at Fortress of Louisbourg at opening hour of 9.30am and was greeted at the gate by a young guide. She presented a short history of this historic site and highlighted buildings of interests. Thereafter, we were free to roam the place on our own. I particularly liked those guides who dressed in period costume which enabled them to bring alive their presentation.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 1, 2023
  • Jamie H-D
    Poole, United Kingdom1,488 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fantastic experience
    Free entry with a Parks Canada Pass to this fantastic reconstructed historic site, it is huge with SO much going on, even in shoulder season every building you go in has something happening. We decided to pay a bit extra to have a tour which included the firing of a rifle and an original style hot chocolate in the kitchen area, it was well worth the money. You really need to spend a good few hours here to make the very most of your time and to experience everything possible. All of the staff and actors were brilliant, so professional, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, we really enjoyed our time here. A must do if you are in the area, we didn’t know just how much this area had an impact on Nova Scotia and the world from 1744.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 15, 2023
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TravellinDaveHead
Toronto, Canada340 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021 • Couples
Very interesting attraction, with very friendly and informative staff dressed in period garb telling stories of life as it was at the time this fort was in use. While it’s a shame that not much is original, it’s been reconstructed nicely and definitely still worth a visit. We spent maybe 3 hours there, but you could easily spend longer if time allows and you want to learn all that you can. I highly recommend checking out the lighthouse afterwards, which you will see across the water from the Fort. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive away. While I certainly would not come to Cape Breton just for Louisbourg, it’s definitely worth the short drive from Sydney.
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DeanMurphy2020
Orlando, FL7,689 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
This National Historic Site at the northern tip of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia [Latin for New Scotland] is only 25 percent reconstructed. Originally settled in 1713 [a decade after the founding of Russia’s Saint Petersburg], and was initially called Havre à l'Anglois, a small fishing village. Fortifications were constructed and eventually surrounded the village. By the 1740s, it was dubbed Louisbourg, after France’s Louis XIV [14th] and the most expensive/expansive European fortifications in North America. Militarily, it was in a poor location: on low-lying ground surrounded by mountains away from the sea. The Brits captured it in 1758 during the Seven Years War, but destroyed the garrisons and pulled out a decade later. Partial reconstruction began in the 1960s and ’70s. The site is operated by Parks Canada as a living history museum, much like the restoration of Williamsburg, Virginia.

As part of a guided tour group of 46 members, a worse day could not have been chosen. Having lived in Florida for 40 years, temperatures below 60ºF, for me, are frigid. The high temp that day was 54, cold sleet-like rain, and blustery winds. Holding a worthless umbrella, I felt like Mary Poppins. In the cathedral, the historian dressed in period garb didn’t use a microphone. Echoes in the cavernous vaulted ceiling reverberated. I heard only dates and tidbits of information. The recitation at the beginning of this review is from research performed at home. I’m sure the experience would be educational—on a warm, dry day.
Written September 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve D
Toronto, Canada54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
We arrive early in Sept, on a gloomy day, which seemed about perfect to visit a doomed European fortress plunked down upon the isolated shores of Cape Breton. Built at great cost by the French to keep open their access to New France through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it was easily isolated and with no relief force to break the siege, it fell to the British relatively easily both times it was attacked. In short, it was the wrong solution to the problem facing the French.

The presenters on hand were excellent and quite knowledgeable (fluent in both French and English, of course).

Even though only 1/4 of the site has been reconstructed, it still will take you several hours to go through most of it. The restoration is remarkable in the detail and scope. If you are at all interested in Canadian (and to a lesser extent American) colonial history, you will love this place.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

838nikkis
St. John's, Canada32 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
Surprised how well-reviewed this is, maybe we did not visit on the best day or our circumstances were not ideal for it, but we did not enjoy it very much. If you are taking a stroller or you have mobility issues, I do not recommend it. You have to take their bus from the visitor centre to the site, which is not a walkable distance. Then, most of the buildings require you to go upstairs or do not have an accessible entrance. We did not see much staff around to interact with. There was a number of tour buses the day we were visiting and the staff we did see seemed to be catering mostly to them which meant they were only speaking french and furthermore the rum tasting was blocked off for the tours so we couldn't access it. The lunch options were very very basic and a long wait. It was a dull experience for the amount of effort it took to get there. Also, there wasn't much signage around explaining things. Disappointing.
Written September 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tanyankd
Moncton, Canada237 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Couples
I had no idea about this place- didn’t come across it in any of my research, but it’s very worth visiting. After going through the sleepy town you enter a whole new world, informative and rein-acted by the staff who. Guide you around the sites. They shot off a musket and all very informed of the history. It was reconstructed and is apparently 2/5 the size it was originally. Sheep grazing, museum-style walk throughs. My only suggestion is to dress warmly, can get a strong wind off the water.
Written October 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RSoxFamily2011
Yarmouth, Canada456 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
A walk into the past, 1744.... The buildings are unbelievably well cared for, the panels to read are well done and clear and the costumed employees are friendly, knowledgeable and in character - it was like we were talking to the actual characters! The area is spectacular, with many buildings housing photos and artifacts from days gone by.... each telling a story that the guide will expand on. We took advantage of the "Lartigue House Experience" and spent the night in the fortress. The house is beautifully appointed, with heat and electricity, though only 2 rooms have lights. We took our own bedding, food and dishes and lanterns and thoroughly enjoyed this peaceful and beautiful experience!! We plan to do it again next season!

This may be a long drive from many places, but you will be rewarded with incredible views and wonderfully enthusiastic employees!!
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jamie H-D
Poole, UK1,488 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
Free entry with a Parks Canada Pass to this fantastic reconstructed historic site, it is huge with SO much going on, even in shoulder season every building you go in has something happening.
We decided to pay a bit extra to have a tour which included the firing of a rifle and an original style hot chocolate in the kitchen area, it was well worth the money.
You really need to spend a good few hours here to make the very most of your time and to experience everything possible. All of the staff and actors were brilliant, so professional, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, we really enjoyed our time here.
A must do if you are in the area, we didn’t know just how much this area had an impact on Nova Scotia and the world from 1744.
Written October 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

diggcm
Bedford, Canada108 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Family
I loved Louisbourg as a child and was excited to take my son here. I was worried that there would not be a lot to see with Covid restrictions. But there was still lots to do and see. The period actors are very knowledgeable and can answer most questions or will find out the answer for you.

It’s a beautiful place with ocean almost surrounding it. So many photos opportunities with the lighthouse and crashing waves in the background.

This piece of Nova Scotia history really should be a must see if you visit Nova Scotia or if you are from here.

I would go again and again. You could easily spend the whole day here and grab a bottle of Fortress Rum on the way out!
Written August 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rlmptl
Lloydminster, Canada1,209 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
This was one of the most amazing places we saw in the Maritimes and the icing on the cake is that we rented the Lartique house for 133 for the night and stayed overnight. so many interesting things to see in the fort and even on off season there was still buildings open and people in costume and they have interesting things to say. WE will never forget the magical night we stayed here the house came equipped with two queens and a small single with lovely little kitchen with a microwave we had a hot plate with us but you can rent a propane stove. you need to bring your own sheets and pillows and blankets we packed an extra suitcase for this and it was warm and cozy there is not working fireplaces and there is some electricity. we wanted to have a fire and paid extra for wood but it was raining. So fun to drive around the fort after hours to see stuff and one of the staff that was still there his name was John was so informational and we felt like we really knew the history of the place which made our stay even so much more enjoyable. Be sure to walk up to the graves areas everything is really far and so much walking you need good mobility. They do have walkers which i used. the gift shop was very interesting and same with the little cafe hubby had coffee and next day we we took the private tour with Max for 106. Please allow 7 to 8 hours to see everything or even more when everything is open. there are bathrooms and wear sunscreen and bring water and sunhats and plenty of good warm clothes cause we went in may end of month ...make sure you put this place on your bucket list
Written June 22, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wayne H
Toronto, Canada63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
The Fortress of Louisbourg is a National Historic Site operated by Parks Canada. It's location and presentation consists of a one-quarter partial reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress at Louisbourg. The fortress was constructed in the early 18th century and was an integral fortification in the mid 18th century constructed by the French as protection from the British.
Written August 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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