Perched atop Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond) and overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City was first settled by the French in 1608 and named for a native Algonquin word meaning 'where the river narrows'. The ambience, lively spirit, high safety rating and comfortable blend of past and present make Quebec's provincial capital worthy of its place among the world's top cultural destinations.
The cradle of French civilisation in North America and still notably European in spirit, the historic Old Quebec neighbourhood has an unmistakable charm. Small cafes, cosy restaurants, classy boutiques, lively terraces, elegant squares, theatres, museums and street performers all come together in a fascinating weave of old-world allure.
Millions of visitors are drawn to Quebec City every year, savouring the famed Quebec gourmet scene and the beauty of the historic old district's winding cobbled streets, where 17th and 18th-century stone houses, churches, parks and a number of monuments still stand. The city is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List and is one of the only fortified cities in the Americas.
Despite having been ceded to the British in 1759, the city's population remains 95 percent French-speaking, lending a definite joie de vivre and French elegance to the atmosphere.