Few places in North America are as steeped in history as Québec City, Canada. Older than Jamestown and founded before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, it is the only city north of Mexico whose original fortifications remain intact. The Québec City historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is still home to religious orders and hospitals that date back to the 17th century. Its Place-Royale would look familiar to the explorer Samuel de Champlain, even with its modern attractions of gift shops and cafés. On the Plains of Abraham, you can walk the battlefield where, in 1759, the French forces under General Montcalm were decisively trounced by the British, led by General Wolfe.
The British took control of all of New France within a year of that 1759 battle, but even so French culture still lives on here in Québec City. More than 95 percent of Québec City's population speaks French as its first language, though it's easy to sightsee and navigate the city in English. As you tour the museums and historic sights of Québec City that celebrate Québecois history and dine at restaurants that serve its distinctive cuisine, you'll discover a remarkable culture that has survived and thrived into the 21st century.