Cruising down the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, you see forests of trees on the hillsides, extending down to the banks of the river. You feel like you are far from modern civilization. Then suddenly, seemingly
without any surrounding suburban sprawl, the ship comes upon a city situated atop a hill. This is Quebec City.
One of the oldest European settlements in North America, Quebec City is proud of its well-preserved heritage. Indeed, it boasts the only-walled city in North America north of Mexico. However, as the capital of the Province of Quebec, it is also a modern government center.
Quebec City lies on the north bank of the Saint Lawrence River near its meeting with the St. Charles River. The Laurentian Mountains are to the north of the city.
Although far inland, Quebec City is no stranger to the sea. The St. Lawrence has acted as a highway to the interior of North America since
colonial times. Quebec City is located at a strategic point where the river narrows and thus became a trading center. With the advent of modern ships and the St. Lawrence Seaway, much of Quebec City's role as a seaport has shifted downriver to Montreal.
Geographically, Quebec City can be divided into the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the New City. Most of the tourist
attractions are in the Old City while most of the governmental and commercial aspects of this modern city of over 600,000 residents are in the
The Old City is, in turn, divided into the Lower Town and the Upper Town. Lower Town is the area along the river where the first Europeans
settled. Upper Town is on the plateau atop the cliff that faces the river.
Quebec City is very much a French-speaking city and looks to France for much of its heritage. While many people, particularly in places frequented by tourists, speak English, they do appreciate a "Bonjour" or other attempts at their language. Quebec has also inherited the French-style of cooking and the city is known for its good food.
Above: The Quebec City skyline at night.
Below: Looking down from the Citadel at the Lower
Town. The ship is Queen Elizabeth 2.
The legislative branch of the government of the province of Quebec, known as the National Assembly, meets in the Hotel du
Parliament (above). It was designed in the French Second Empire style. Tours include the National Assembly Chamber (where the members of provincial parliament sit) and the
Legislative Council Chamber (standing committees have been held here since 1968).
Above: Underscoring the continuing bond between Quebec and France, the French Navy frigate Guepratte (F 714) pays a call
on Quebec City.
Cruise destination travel guide - - Canada - - Quebec City - - Overview