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Old Quebec (Vieux Quebec) is an architectural gem and famous for being the only remaining walled city in North America. Quebec is recognized as the oldest city in North America and Old Quebec is easily walkable, consisting of an upper and lower town.
While the community feels distinctly French and over 90 percent of the population speak French as a first language, the architecture is a fusion of French, British and Canadian adaptations. Quebec is a major tourist destination, yet manages to keep its feel and energy.
Offering sightseeing and dinner cruises on the Saint Lawrence, the Louis Jolliet docks in the lower town and is easy to walk to. The Saint Lawrence itself is one of the world’s great waterways and served as the original entrance into North America for Europeans (the name Quebec means “narrowing of the river”).
Cars and busses do drive in the old town, but it’s really best visited on foot. There are many different tours – covering everything from art and food to history – but the best of them will include both the upper and lowers towns. Don’t be put off by the climb, as there are stairs and a funicular cog elevator.
The small neighbourhood (quatier) of Petit Champlain, located below the cliffs and the Château Frontenac, is an organized cooperative of art galleries, shops and restaurants. Everything is locally produced with a distinct Quebecois perspective. From Petit Champlain, walk the short distance to Place Royale, considered to be the first urban square north of Mexico.