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Must Visit Attractions in Quebec City

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Bordered by the St. Lawrence River, Old Québec or Vieux-Québec is the historic heart of the modern day City of Quebec. Divided into two distinct parts, the Upper Town and Lower Town, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gateway into the history of the province. The Upper Town is set atop the Cap Diamant and is the city's historic administrative and military hub. Its most iconic landmark, the Citadelle with its star shaped design is an arresting edifice while the Chateau Frontenac is a mesmerizing vision of Victorian grandeur. The Upper Town is also one of the sites of the Carnaval de Quebec, considered to be among the largest winter festivals on the globe. The Lower Town, at the base of the mount, is the livelier of the two with a bustling market and vibrant Old Port. Amid hundreds of historic buildings, tourist attractions, pubs and restaurants lie dozens of boutiques, galleries, souvenir shops and other distinctive establishments. The Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires is another of Old Québec's many treasures.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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