Quebec City

Situated on a historic rampart, the provincial capital of Quebec City is historic, medieval and lofty, a place of stone buildings and weathered cannons, horse-drawn coaches, ancient trees and narrow, steeply angled streets. Here the historic streets provide an easy clue as to what this city looked like in Colonial days. Once known as the “Gibraltar of the North,” Quebec’s Upper Town is built high on a cliff and surrounded by fortress-like walls. From there, one of the city’s best-known landmarks, Le Chateau Frontenac, towers so high it’s visible from ten miles away. Meanwhile, the Lower Town section of the city surrounds Cape Diamond and spreads up the valley of the St. Charles River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence. It’s worth noting that the Upper and Lower sections of the town are divided by a funicular railway, which affords magnificent views of the harbor, river and hills beyond. The most ardently French of all Canadian cities, Quebec City is a place where it’s not uncommon to encounter folks who don’t (or won’t) speak English, and who proudly stick to their Gallic ways. Best of all, its plentiful cafés and shops deliver hours of old-world distractions.