Québec City is perched on a cliff above the St. Lawrence River. In the 17th century the first French explorers, fur trappers, and missionaries came here to establish the colony of New France. Today, it still resembles a French provincial town in many ways. The culture, music, food, and art are all distinctly influenced by the French. At the same time, the Quebecois have created their own enduring culture with unique traditions, flavors, sounds, and sights. Québec City's split level landscape divides Upper Town, on the cape, from Lower Town, on the shores of the St. Lawrence. Separating these sections are cliffs of steep and precipitous rock, against which were built more than 25 escaliers (staircases). Both sections offer centuries old buildings and beautiful churches.
Vieux-Québec(Old Québec) is small, densely packed and steeped in four centuries of history and French tradition. Seventeenth and 18th century buildings have been carefully preserved and are bordered by many parks containing historic monuments. Place Royale is one of the oldest districts on the continent. Because of its meticulous preservation of this, the only fortified city remaining in North America, UNESCO has designated Vieux-Québec a World Heritage Site.