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Paris on the St. Lawrence River

Oct 13, 2007
Quebec City, Canada is certainly the most European destination in North America and it is definitely worth a visit by teachers and students. If you are considering student group travel in this region, then here is a brief guide to what Quebec has to offer.

Quebec City is an astounding student tour find. Perched on one of the most beautiful riverside settings in North America, Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the United States. It is four centuries old.

Old Quebec is set out on terraces of land shelved up from the wide, blue river. It has beautiful ramparts and stone arches. The streets are cobblestone and redolent with some delicious but vaguely unfamiliar cooking. As you walk through town, the air rings with church bells on the hour.

The city has been so beautifully preserved that UNESCO designated Quebec a World Heritage Site in 1985. With great proximity to the United States, this dramatic, French-speaking destination offers a quick trip from the United States to a city which gives you the feel of a European vacation.

In 1535, Jacques Cartier discovered the site of Quebec City along the St. Lawrence River and in 1608 Samuel de Champlain founded New France in this area. It remained under French control until the British captured it during a half-hour battle on September 13, 1759. Despite the British victory, and 200 years of subsequent British control, almost the entire half million native Quebec City inhabitants claim French as their native tongue.

Quebec still has the feel of a rugged outpost city, as well as the feel of a civilized city of refuge, a seat of old-world culture, and an epicurean capital.

The 19th-century Louis XIV style Parliament Buildings are home to the National Assembly of 125 province representatives. If you are visiting the parliament buildings, here is a tip: "door three" of the front Parliament entrance admits you, during most weekdays, to a public restaurant providing a view of the inside of the building.

Just as local French speech is skewed with a Canadian influence, the local cuisine is largely French, with a touch of indigenous ingredients like maple syrup, wild berries and caribou steak.

Quebec City is set out in terraces overlooking the water. Above the city is La Citadelle, a star-shaped fortress inherited from the French and improved by the British to protect the port from re-encroachments by the French. Below the city, the old trading quarter of Lower Town has been revitalized into a vibrant arts, hotel, shopping and restaurant district, one main thoroughfare of which is Rue du Petit-Champlain.

Between La Citadelle and the Lower Town is the Upper Town, surrounded by thick stone walls and crowned by the centerpiece of a romantic and gravity-defying luxury hotel, the Chateau Frontenac.

The turreted, brick and copper-green Chateau Frontenac is the most memorable landmark in a city with enough ingredients to provide you with a rich supply of travel memories.

One of the joys of Quebec City is the way the inhabitants embrace every season.
Springtime comes late to this northern climate. In April, you can witness the annual ritual of sugarshacking, the local harvesting of maple syrup. In May, you will see the return of the wild geese and a bounding natural rebirth of flora and fauna from the long, blue-white winter.

The tourist high season begins in July, during which Quebec City hosts the musical events of the International Summer Festival, now in its 35th year.

All of this is enough to make Quebec City a can't miss North American student group travel destination. So, if you haven't been there yet, put it high on your list of places to visit next.
About the Author
Travel Adventures is staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. We've been creating unique and educational student travel experiences since 1987. We provide hassle-free travel arrangements while empowering teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world. Our experienced team of travel professionals is dedicated to exceeding your student travel expectations.Travel Adventures
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