For such a quintessential Canadian town, Quebec City sure does feel like France. French is the official language of this historic hub, whose medieval centre is packed with church spires and stone buildings. Still, Quebec retains an identity all its own: meat pies and poutine are menu staples, while seasonal festivals put French Canadian culture on spectacular display. Today, fortified walls still protect one of North America's oldest cities.
Leisurely walks are a great way to explore Quebec City's winding lanes. Strolls along the Terrasse Dufferin boardwalk offer scenic views of the St Lawrence River. UNESCO-listed Old Quebec is divided between an Upper Town and Lower Town linked via funicular railway, which provides sweeping views of the neighbourhood's centuries-old houses and squares. Wherever you roam, you'll never be out of view of the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac hotel, whose hillside perch dominates the skyline.
You may be hard-pressed to resist picking up a souvenir or two in Quebec City's many shopping districts. Antiques are a popular find along rue St-Paul, while the La Maison Simons department store specialises in modern fashions. You'll find just as much to look at while perusing Quartier du Petit Champlain's bistros and boutiques.
Looking for traces of Quebec City's European past? The Plains of Abraham mark the spot where France and Britain fought over now-Canadian land. At the Citadelle of Quebec, you'll see defensive fortifications where militaries protected Quebec from attack. It's also worth peeking inside the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, Canada's oldest church.