It’s like visiting a foreign country without going abroad. Just a short drive from Maine, New York, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland, one can visit Montreal or Quebec City, the Province’s capital with the same name. It’s built on two levels and offers visitors a chance to live in a French milieu.
First visited by the Portuguese and used for fishing then later in 1536 by Jacques Cartier on behalf of the King of France. Inhabited in 1670 and ceded to France after the Seven Years War.
This is the place where the French and the British fought for the future of Lower Canada, as it was then called. It’s the famous battle between General Wolfe of Britain and General Montcalm of French Canada. The British were victorious but both generals lost their lives. It took place on The Plains of Abraham, which can be visited freely, almost in the center of the city. Now, the city welcomes visitors from all over the world. They are drawn by the winter carnivals, the snow or the bright sun along the St Lawrence River each summer. There’s whale watching nearby and not only wonderful restaurants but hotels that look like castles or chateaus, hence the marvelous Chateau Frontenat, see below.
Lower Town Chateau Frontenac
You can even see the provincial parliament buildings as this is the capital. The province is immense and all of France, Spain and Germany would fit into its area with room left over. It covers 1.5 million K square. It borders the great St. Lawrence that goes from the gulf inland to the Great Lakes. At the eastern edge is Parkland and Percé Rock.
This is the home of Laval University, rated one of the best educational establishments in all of Canada.
Here, the main language is obviously French but as time goes by, more and more people speak both languages and Quebecers are taking a breather from the days when certain factions of the privince voted for Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada (not that the attempt to separate is totally gone).
There are highways from Quebec to Gaspé in the east.
To the west, a few hours away in Montreal and to the east is the mouth of the great river and Gaspé which welcomes great ships from across the Atlantic.
But just off the coast to the south east only 20 miles away are two tiny French islands that are 2373 miles from the nearest port of France. The islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon have opted to be part of France for over two centuries with men joining the French army and many losing their lives.
People have had their ups and downs with fishing competion very strong. Today the waters around the islands are protected.
During the years of prohibition, there was as much as 2 million gallons of liquor smuggled into the United States. When prohibition ended, the island’s income suffered.
But Montreal farther west, still reigns as the largest, most cosmopolitain city with a mountain in the middle of the city, skyscrapers, upscale restaurants and hotels and an old section where one can still get the feeling of France in the New World.
Plan your holiday ahead: Contact Quebec Tourist Office at 1-877 783 1608
[email protected] at 1255 Peel Street # 100 1 877 742 1335 TOLL FREE
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