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Québec City, Canada

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Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

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Parliament Building

Parliament Building

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Petit Champlain Street

Petit Champlain Street

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Québec City's alluring setting atop Cape Diamond (Cap Diamant) evokes a past of high adventure, military history, and exploration. This French-speaking capital city is the only walled city north of Mexico. Visitors come for the delicious and inventive cuisine, the remarkable historical continuity, and to share in the seasonal exuberance of the largest Francophone population outside France.The historic heart of this community is the Old City (Vieux-Québec), comprising the part of Upper Town (Haute-Ville) surrounded by walls and Lower Town (Basse-Ville), which spreads out at the base of the hill from Place Royale. Many sets of staircases and the popular funicular link the top of the hill with the bottom. Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and elaborate cathedrals here are charming in all seasons. The Old City earned recognition as an official UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, thanks largely to city planners who managed to update and preserve the 400-year-old buildings and attractions without destroying what made them worth preserving. The most familiar icon of the city, Fairmont Château Frontenac, is set on the highest point in Upper Town, where it holds court over the entire city.Sitting proudly above the confluence of the St. Lawrence and St. Charles rivers, the city's famous military fortification, La Citadelle, built in the early 19th century, remains the largest of its kind in North America. In summer, visitors should try to catch the Changing of the Guard, held every morning at 10 am; you can get much closer to the guards here than at Buckingham Palace in London.Enchanting as it is, the Old City is just a small part of the true Québec City experience. Think outside the walls and explore St-Roch, a downtown hot spot, which has artsy galleries, foodie haunts and a bustling square. Cruise the Grande-Allée and avenue Cartier to find a livelier part of town dotted with nightclubs and fun eateries. Or while away the hours in St-Jean-Baptiste, a neighborhood with trendy shops and hipster hangouts.

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Things You Can't Miss

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A Trip to the Old World in Old Québec
A Trip to the Old World in Old Québec

Cobblestone streets and quaint cafes give a European feel to Vieux-Québec, founded in 1608. The only original city walls in North America ring the area.

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Getty Images

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Stunning Vistas Along Dufferin Terrace
Stunning Vistas Along Dufferin Terrace

This cliff-top boardwalk overlooks the St. Lawrence River and much of the Lower Town. In summer, street musicians and artists provide entertainment.

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Vlad Ghiea/Getty Images

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Where Samuel de Champlain Founded the City
Where Samuel de Champlain Founded the City

In Lower Town, the pretty public square called Place-Royale includes a colorful mural and historic Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, founded in 1688.

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Alamy

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In a Vacation Rut?

Try one of these 9 life-changing summer adventures.

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For a Different City Viewpoint …
For a Different City Viewpoint …

Ride the ferry across the St. Lawrence to Lévis for a splendid panorama of the Upper and Lower towns. The inexpensive round trip takes only 45 minutes.

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Denis Corriveau/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

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Keep Travel Memories Alive With Custom Online Photo Albums

Use these tips to choose an online photo book service and create your own personalized photo album to share your travel memories with family and friends.

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A Spectacular Waterfall East of the City
A Spectacular Waterfall East of the City

Dropping 275 feet, Montmorency Falls thunder over a cliff higher than Niagara’s. Take a tram to the top and view the scene from the suspension bridge.

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Gaetane Harvey/Getty Images

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Want more quality time with your adult child? Check out these tips to plan a fulfilling trip that you both will enjoy and remember for years to come.

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