A Taste of Europe in North America
With over 400 years of history, Old Québec is a North American urban district with a European flavor. Founded in 1608 by the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, Old Québec retains its rich French heritage. Natives continue to speak French along with English. This Canadian jewel is located along the St. Lawrence River. It is known for its architecturally stunning stone buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, art galleries, and rich New World history. Old Québec is the only walled city north of Mexico. It is best explored on foot during the summer months when the average high temperature is in the mid-70s F. Enter Old Québec through the Porte Saint-Louis. This grandiose stone gate dates back to 1694.
Add the following historic sites to your travel plans.
Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame: Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame was declared a cathedral in 1674. Its interior is reminiscent of old-style European churches and cathedrals. It includes elaborate archways, impressive gold sculptures, stain glass windows, and ceilings and walls with gold leaf art.
Château Frontenac: This former castle is perched on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River. It is considered the most photographed hotel in the world. The hotel welcomes tourists, who are not guests, to view historical artifacts that are on display in the lobby and are up to 400 years old.
The Citadelle de Québec: The Citadelle de Québec was built by the British after an American invasion during the War of 1812. This fortress is an active military installation. If you visit during the summer, a ‘must-see’ event is the Changing of the Guard.
Parliament Building: The Parliament Building is a French-style building that was built in the mid to late 1800s. Its grounds include an exquisite fountain as well as bronze sculptures. Visit during the day to tour the interior. Add his architectural masterpiece to your nighttime travel plans to view it lit up.
Finally, include the Petit-Champlain district in your travel plans. The streets are lined with small boutiques, art galleries, and specialty stores. Complete your trip by visiting a French-Canadian bistro or patisserie.