Quebec City is the capital city of the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. Sitting on the Saint Lawrence River about 250 kilometres northeast of Montreal, it is not quite the buzzing metropolis as its urban neighbour, but still has much to see.
When I visited in November 2014, I spent most of my few cold and gloomy days in the city within Vieux-Québec (Old Quebec). This historic neighbourhood and UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises Upper Town and Lower Town, which are delineated by their positions relative to the promontory of Cap Diamant.
French colonist Samuel de Champlain established Upper Town as the site of Fort Saint Louis in 1608, the city’s military and administrative centre which was later occupied mainly by British government officials and Catholic clergy following the British Conquest. Meanwhile, French and English merchants and artisans resided in Lower Town.
Today, Old Quebec remains the only North American city to have retained its ramparts, together with numerous bastions, gates, and defensive works — forming an urban ensemble which is one of the best preserved examples of a fortified colonial city.