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Best Landmarks in Quebec City

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Standing proudly against the magnificent backdrop of the Hotel du Parlement, Fontaine de Tourny is a fine example of Quebecois' love for their city. The fountain was built in the mid-19th Century by French sculptor Mathurin Moreau, and graced the city of Bordeaux until 1960. After numerous years of disuse, the fountain was purchased and brought to Quebec by an eminent city-based businessman as a gift to its people. Named after the street on which it originally stood, the large fountain features majestic sculptural details and an astounding 43 outlets. Come evening, the fountain, illuminated in all its glory, is truly a sight to behold.

This most beautifully preserved area of Vieux-Québec is also one of the city's cherished shopping districts. Quartier Petit Champlain is certainly heavily thronged to and many establishments cater to the visiting hordes. There are, nonetheless, many unique boutiques to be unearthed. Quebec fashion designers are featured heavily on the rue du Petit-Champlain, including Oclan, Point de Mire, Les Vêteries and Zazou. Numerous art and crafts galleries provide everything from souvenirs to high-end housewares; well-known stores include Brin de folie and the Galerie d'Art Bégin and Pauline Pelletier. High-quality jewelry is on offer at the magnificent Pierre Vives and Louis Perrier Jewelers. The district abounds with cafes and restaurants.

This is one of Quebec City's most popular parks and historical attractions. Commemorating the daring 1759 attack in which Quebec fell to the British under the leadership of General Wolfe, Plaines d'Abraham features two striking Martello Towers offering rotating displays and great views over the St Lawrence River. The interpretive center is housed in the Musée du Québec.

Place Royale is a collection of buildings and narrow streets born in 1608 when explorer Samuel de Champlain established a secure fur trading post. It changed hands between the British and French, surviving fires and battles and eventually became Quebec City's version of "downtown." After a complete restoration, Place Royale is now the city's most picturesque place, sporting restaurants and cafes, as well as many tourist attractions. Be sure to visit the Maison Chevalier, the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church and the Interpretive Center.

History, which is everywhere in the city, is most evident in its beautifully preserved fortifications that date from the early 17th Century. As the only remaining walled city in North America, Quebec has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors are free to walk along the nearly five kilometers (3.10 miles) of walls witnessing the Fortifications of Quebec National Historic Site. The interpretation center offers an intriguing look into the military and architectural design features. Guided walking tours offer further insights.

A star-shaped enclosed fortification located atop the promontory of Cap Diamant, the Citadelle of Quebec contains 300 years of military history within its stone-cut Vauban walls. Constructed out of sandstone between 1820 and 1850, this grand British fortress rests on four bastions and three curtain walls and comprises of 24 buildings. The citadel is popularly known as the Gibraltar of America, and is the official residence of the Canadian monarch and the Governor-General of Canada, besides also functioning as an active military structure. Owing to its longstanding military association, the Royal 22e Régiment of the Canadian Forces is stationed here. One of the most significant landmarks of Quebec, the Citadelle of Quebec invites droves of tourists to take a guided tour of the fortress and the museum, witness the awe-inspiring changing of the guard and enjoy sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River from its historic ramparts.

Dating back to the year 1647 and replacing a former chapel, the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec is a listed World Heritage Church and the first of its kind to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica. The church is a fine example of Neo-classical architecture and its interior was designed by Jean Baillairgé. A tour to the cathedral would take you through the main features of the cathedral that includes the stained glass windows, paintings and the tomb of Quebec's first bishop, François de Laval.

The grand Château Frontenac is not only the most recognizable feature of the Quebec City skyline, it holds the Guinness World Record for being the "most photographed hotel in the world". Perched on a hill overlooking St. Lawrence River, the monumental chateau-style hotel was custom built in 1893 for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a luxury resort. The original hotel was designed by Bruce Price and completed by William Sutherland Maxwell who added the iconic central tower in 1924. Although not the tallest, Château Frontenac dominates the city skyline with its peculiar silhouette; an undeniably exalted example of Victorian Architecture. The hotel is now the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, featuring over 600 guestrooms of varying sizes, each luxuriously appointed and many offering incredible views over the St Lawrence River.

There may be no better view of the city than that from 725 feet (221 meters) above sea level, which is why this observatory is a great place to discover Quebec City. Located on top of the Marie-Guyart Building, the Observatoire de la Capitale has an interesting interpretation center where visitors can learn about the history of Quebec City on urban, industrial, maritime, architectural, political and geographical levels. Guided visits are offered daily.

Constructed in the late 19th Century in an atypical Second Empire style, this preeminent landmark oversees Quebec's parliamentary proceedings in the province's capital city. Every bit as impressive as its counterparts in other provinces, Quebec City's Parliament Building bears a striking resemblance to another North American monument - the Philadelphia City Hall. The building comprises of four distinct wings that forge a square spanning nearly 100 meters (328 feet) on each side. While the building is home to the revered National Assembly Chamber and the National Assembly Library, hours can be spent admiring the remarkable edifice itself, which has more than 25 statues of notable figures built into its facade. The immaculately landscaped grounds of the structure are another marvelous feature, replete with fountains and well-maintained gardens.

The Port of Quebec is more than 150 years old. This was a place where once ancient European ships docked and so, the post has a fascinating connection to the history of Quebec City. The port organizes mini-cruise excursions for tourists and locals. During the tour, tourists navigate through the waters of St. Lawrence River, giving them a panoramic view of Quebec City. The tour also entertains people on-board through multimedia shows and videos talking about Canadian culture.

The Pierre Laporte Bridge is Canada's longest suspension bridge, spanning the distance between the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Built in 1970, the Pierre Laporte is also the world's longest non-tolled suspension bridge. Although originally intended to bear the name of Frontenac, the majestic structure was christened in honor of the Vice-Premiere Pierre Laporte who was kidnapped and killed shortly before the completion of the bridge. Just 200 meters to the west of the iconic Quebec Bridge, the Pierre Laporte is the more contemporary counterpoint to the world's longest cantilever span.

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