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Few municipalities are as breathtaking on approach as Québec City. Situated along the majestic St. Lawrence River, much of the oldest part of the city -- Vieux-Québec -- sits atop Cap Diamant, a rock bluff that once provided military defense. Fortress walls still encase the upper portion of the old city, and the soaring Château Frontenac, a hotel with castle-like turrets, dominates the landscape. Hauntingly evocative of a coastal town in the motherland of France, the tableau is as romantic as any in Europe.


Québec City is the soul of New France and holds that history dear. It was the first significant settlement in Canada, founded in 1608, 400 years ago, by Samuel de Champlain. Much of 2007 was spent sprucing up the city for its 400th-anniversary celebrations in 2008, adding more access to the waterfront and an entirely new pavilion called Espace 400e that will open in spring 2008 and be the central location for celebrations throughout the year. Now it hasbecome a Parks Canada discovery center. Because of its beauty, history, and unique stature as the only walled city north of Mexico, the historic district of Québec City was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 -- the only area so designated in North America.