Exploring the Charm of Old Port Quebec City

The old walled city of Quebec, located on the Saint Lawrence River in Canada, is a delight to explore. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America, with a history and architecture that spans over 400 years. Within the stone walls of the old city, you’ll find winding cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, cafes, shops, and some of the continent’s oldest buildings.

As you walk through one of the four stone gates into the old city, you step into another time. The fortified ramparts surrounding the city were built in the early 17th century and still stand today. The oldest street, Rue Du Petit-Champlain, is at the base of the cliff below Château Frontenac. Lined with shops and cafes, it’s a perfect place to soak in the atmosphere.

Looming above the old city is the Château Frontenac, a historic grand hotel built in the late 19th century. With its stone towers and copper roof, the hotel is an iconic symbol of Quebec City. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, have a drink at one of the bars or dine at one of the restaurants to experience its ambiance.

Another spot not to miss is Place-Royale, a cobblestone square surrounded by stone houses with steep rooftops. This was the center of activity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today it is a great place to sit at one of the cafes, enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate, and people watch.

The oldest stone church in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, is another highlight. Built in 1688, it is an impressive example of French-Canadian religious architecture. Nearby you’ll find Quartier Petit-Champlain, one of the oldest shopping districts in North America, with many locally-owned shops and artisan boutiques.

No visit to Old Quebec City is complete without stopping by the Citadelle of Quebec. Perched high on Cap Diamant, the citadel is a star-shaped fortress built in the early 1800s. Today it still functions as an active military base. You can watch the changing of the guard, see traditional ceremonies, or just wander around the ramparts to enjoy the views of the river and city below.

Quebec City is a delight any time of year, but especially magical in December during Winter Carnival when the city is covered in snow and ice. Bundle up, embrace the cold, and enjoy a hot chocolate or caribou, a drink made of wine, whisky and maple syrup. Old Quebec City will capture your heart with its European charm, warmth, and vibrancy. No wonder it’s one of the top cities in the world.

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