Quebec City, located just above the St. Lawrence river, was settled in 1608. Over the years that followed, it has evolved into a Canadian version of old France. Nearly everything about the architecture and culture of the place is reminiscent of France. From the cobblestone streets to the horse-drawn carriages and the many patisseries, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time – half way around the world!
The Upper Town, referred to by the French-speaking locals as Haute-Ville, was once home to wealthy Quebecois. Its name and location set distinguished the area from the lower city where the city’s river trade was located. Upper Town is where you’ll find the famed Chateau Frontenac. This is one of the area’s most luxurious hotels; it was designed in the style of the Loire Valley. The Frontenac is known all over the world for its turrets and patina roof that towers over Quebec. The stone and brick structure stands high over the St. Lawrence making for remarkable views.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is another world-renowned landmark in Quebec. In fact, this cathedral was the first in the New World to be elevated to a basilica. Visitors and locals are welcomed during visiting hours. You may light a candle, meditate, or simply admire the chancel lamp which was given to the church from Louis XIV.
When you’ve seen all there is to see in Haute-Ville, spend some time exploring Basse-Ville, or Lower Town. It’s accessible by cable car. The original warehouses and flats that housed the dock workers have been renovated. The area is now popular for its four-star dining and elegant boutique shops. Make sure to stop at the Rue du Petit-Champlain. Some say that it is the oldest street in North America. In any case, it’s a great place for window shopping and lunching on one of the street’s many café patios.
Don’t worry about vising Quebec if you don’t speak French. Because it’s a Canadian provence, most residents also speak English fluently. And if you’re still concerned, consider traveling with a group of people who already know the area already.