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The History & Charm of Quebec

Quebec Travel

Of all the cities in Canada, Quebec is, undoubtedly, most intimately linked with the history of this country. Quebec has filled and dominated the history of Canada to such an extent, from the beginning of the 17th to the middle of the last century, that any stay within its walls constitutes a veritable communion with the past.

Visitors, whether they be Canadian, American, or European, find here the desire not only to familiarize themselves with the history of Canada, even North America, but also and above all, to live that history.

Quebec City Tourism

“If only the walls could talk” we often say. Well, in Quebec the walls do talk, because they are still standing solidly and hundreds of them date back one hundred and fifty years or more, some of them going as far back as 1637.

The only walled and fortified city in North America, Quebec remains an old stronghold where, in spite of destructive battles and unnoticed demolitions, the past still resists, even more victoriously, the ravages of the present.

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Thanks to the feelings of legitimate pride harboured by every well-bred Quebecker for his historic city, thanks to the respect being shown more and more for our rare national historic sites through wise restrictions and pleasing restorations such as Place Royale, Quebec tends to become more and more an irresistible and exclusive pole of attraction.

How enchanting, even for the most uninitiated visitor, to see Quebec, to gradually discover the splendor of its surroundings, the charm of its old fortifications, narrow streets and ancient buildings, to take in the beauty and atmosphere in their restful and true simplicity, to walk through Quebec to live and let live, to face everyday situations, to learn a little more each day, pleasantly and without effort, of the history of Canada and of America.

Quebec Tours

Quebec, however, is not merely a historic oasis but it is also a great modern North American city, with all public, tourist, cultural, and recreational services that the visitor could require.

Nowhere in the world is there anything quite like Quebec, for one thing, it is a natural citadel, marking the place where the St Lawrence river first narrows (Which is what “Kebec” probably signified in the language of its original Indian inhabitants). In addition, its setting of islands, mountains, and fertile farms give it a charm wholly its own. Indeed, before the days of steam navigation, Quebec was the key to the interior of the North American continent; hence it served as main base for the great French explorers who probed as far west as the rockies and south to the gulf of Mexico. For above Quebec, large sailing vessels dared not proceed.

Montreal Tours

Here is North Americas only walled city. Its fortifications standing today almost as they were when the British government completed them a century and a half ago.

Quebec differs fundamentally from all its neighbors in America, whether inside Canada or outside its borders: its population is French. Far from going unnoticed, this characteristic is responsible for a way of life that is unique. The atmosphere in Quebec is French, which is not commonplace in America! The Quebecois, whose ancestors came from France more than three centuries ago, have spread out across Canada and the United States, but their real stronghold in the 17th century was the valley of the Saint-Lawrence River. They settled and molded it and, hardy discoverers that they were, conquered the vast surrounding territory. One thousand six hundred kilometers from east to west and from north to south.

As far as we know, the first white man to see Quebec – then an Indian village called Stadacona – was Jacques Cartier (1535). This French captain from Saint-Malo at once recognized the strategic importance of this site but his sovereign was too busy with troubles at home to have any interest in empire building. Hence, it was not until 1608 that Samuel de Champlain actually established a permanent settlement here, which was to become the capital of the vast French holdings that at one time covered most of the present United States and Canada. But they were too thinly settled to be held and finally fell before the combined assault of Britain and her Atlantic seaboard colonies.

Obviously, Quebec abounds in history, and, fortunately for the visitor, most of the city’s older sections still stand intact. Many of them recently and authentically restored to their original state.

trips in quebec

Quebec is the capital of the province of Quebec. It is principally an educational and administrative center with a good deal of light and some heavy industry. It is almost wholly French speaking and “old world” applies to it better than to any other city in Canada!