The Town of Louisbourg

Louisbourg is probably the most visited town on Cape Breton Island because that is where a famous, reconstructed French fortress lies at the end of town.  The reconstructed version of The Fortress of Louisbourg is only a very small fraction of the original fortress that stood in the 18th century but it is still big enough to require at least an entire day to see the whole thing!  There are guides in period costume and you can choose to avail of one of these guides for a guided tour or you can explore the fortress on your own.  The grounds of the fortress are complete with buildings made to look like the originals and include the governor’s house, soldier’s quarters, a chapel and a jail.  There is also a yard filled with farm animals, a restaurant serving 18th century meals and a number of exhibits explaining life at the fortress and the various artifacts that are on display throughout.

Most people travel to the town of Louisbourg to visit the fortress but many overlook the other things that the town has to offer.  At the very start of the town is the Sydney and Louisbourg Railway Museum which houses a comprehensive and interesting history of the railway through artifacts and exhibits.  A little ways down the road is the turn off to the lighthouse.  The current lighthouse is almost a hundred years old and is located at the sight of the original lighthouse which was built in 1734.  There is a picnic area, scenic look-offs and a walking trail in this area as well.

The main street of the town is home to a number of gift shops and restaurants including the popular Grubstake Restaurant, which just may be one of the best restaurants on the island!  Beggar’s Banquet is a place where one can enjoy a meal while being entertained 18th century-style – and patrons are even provided with period costumes to go along with the ambiance!  The Louisbourg Playhouse is a unique venue that was created especially for a movie set a few years back but the town decided to make it a permanent fixture and the playhouse hosts live entertainment from all over the world.  Cape Breton is known for its beautiful beaches and Louisbourg is no exception; Kennington Cove is a sandy beach located at the far end of town and also has a lovely walking trail that snakes along the rocky coast.
Andrea MacEachern is a freelance travel writer and amateur photographer living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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