I drove to Quebec City, about ten miles. Today is the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, an important festival in Provence Quebec. More than 250,000 people gathered the night before on the Plains of Abraham for a concert and fireworks display. The streets of the Old City were still packed with revelers and sanitation workers were clearing up debris left over from the big party.

Walk through the old city. Do not drive. The streets are very narrow. The old city, old Quebec, is surrounded by a wall with only a few gates to allow entry. Stop at the Jesuit Chapel built in 1817. This is a very simple chapel whose architect was a member of the Baillairge dynasty. They seem to have designed most of the churches in Provence Quebec.

At the end of the street, next to the fortifications, is Artillery Park, a National Historic Site of Canada. The park has buildings that you can visit. The most interesting of them is the Dauphine Redoubt. The lower two stories were built by the French in 1712. The British added a third story and the Canadians added a fourth story when the complex was used as a munitions factory from 1902 to 1964. The park includes officers’ quarters and a barracks, which is the longest building built by the French in North America. Until then the soldiers were housed in civilian houses.

From the Artillery Park, walk through the historic streets to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the oldest parish in northern Mexico. Bishop Laval, the diocese’s first bishop, toured most of the diocese, which stretched from Newfoundland to New Orleans, LA. He remembers that all the land along the Mississippi was once claimed by France. On the other side of the square is the Town Hall and next to it is the Seminary, which eventually became Laval University.

A short three-block walk is the luxury hotel, Chateau Frontenac, which dominates the Quebec skyline. The tower was not part of the original hotel. When a fire destroyed the old hotel, the tower was built and the hotel surrounded it. This seems to be one of the focal points of the city. Many people congregate around the hotel, perhaps because of the many parks that surround it.

A walk down Rue St. Louis will bring you to a tree with a cannonball in its roots, a memento of the fall of Quebec in 1759 under a hail of more than 20,000 cannonballs.

Walking through the streets is a real pleasure. Although the sidewalks are narrow and the streets wind up and down the hills, the experience is that of being in an 18th century French village.

The changing of the guard at the Citadel is a must-see event. Built on the original French site in 1820 to protect against US attacks, the Citadel is home to the 23rd Regiment of the Canadian Army. Formed during World War I, as the only French-speaking Canadian regiment, they have also seen combat action during World War II and the Korean Conflict. Every day at 10:00 am the traditional changing of the guard takes place, complete with the music band and their pet goat. Sixteen men plus their officers are on duty for twenty-four hour periods. The ceremony lasts thirty-five minutes and is then followed by a one-hour tour of the facility.

The fort is the largest fortification garrisoned by regular troops in North America. In a star-shaped layout, the main defense faced the river and the guns had a range of two and a half miles. During the tour, the commander’s wife waved to the group from a second-story window and showed off her two-year-old puppy, Chelsea. The Citadel overlooks the Plains of Abraham, where Montcalm lost the battle against Wolfe during the French and Indian War. During the battle, both lost their lives. There is free two-hour parking inside the fortress walls. The entrance is winding and the main gate is very narrow, the original structure of the fortifications.

Drive through the Plains of Abraham. There is also free parking here, the visitor center, the museum of fine arts, and beautiful views of the river. Here, the cliffs that protect Old Quebec slope down to the sloping approach to the river, a perfect entrance for the army to attack.

Go over the top of Montmorency Falls. The falls have been damaged to harness electricity. A suspension bridge allows people to look down from the top, and a cable car takes passengers from the bottom to the top and vice versa. Since the falls are higher than Niagara Falls, using the cable car is better than taking the stairs.