Quebec City

Quebec CityPhoto: Canadian Tourism Commission

Quebec City is the capital city of the province of Quebec (though it is referred to as the National Capital in the province). The name Quebec originally referred to just the city, and is an aboriginal word for "where the river narrows" as the St. Lawrence River dramatically closes in just east of the city. It is situated on 200 foot high cliffs with stunning views of the surrounding Laurentian mountains and the St. Lawrence River. The architectural beauty on every European style street illustrates the city's rich culture and history. 

French is the first and official language here and it is recommended that you at least attempt to speak some French. while older locals will struggle when attempting to sustain a discussion in English, most youths under 35 should be able to speak conversational English.

The city has a remarkable history, as the fortress capital of New France since the 16th century and the vibrant historical center makes for an incredible visit. The entire old section of the city located between the Citadelle and the Marina has been designated as a UN World Heritage Site. The city is also host to the Quebec Winter Carnival or Winterlude in February which is the largest winter Carnival. Prepare to be cold - the streets can be filled with mountains of snow and the wind coming off the St Lawrence can be freezing. Temperatures of -30 Celsius are not rare during January and February.

Many sights of interest are in the Old Town (Vieux-Québec), which is the walled city on top of the hill. Many surrounding neighborhoods, either in Haute-Ville ("Upper Town") or in Basse-Ville ("Lower Town"), are also fascinating: Saint-Roch, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, Vieux-Port and Limoilou. 

If you aren't renting your RV from Quebec City itself, Quebec City is 2.5-3 hours by RV from Montreal, on either Highway 40 or 20 (north and south side of the St. Lawrence, respectively). Tip: For a slower but more interesting tour of Quebec's heartland, drive along the Chemin du Roy, which follows the north bank of the river instead.

The city spreads westward from the St. Lawrence River, for the most part extending from the original old city. The true downtown core of Quebec City is located just west of the old city. Across the river from Quebec City is the town of Lévis. Frequent ferry service connects the two sides of the river.

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