Escorted Rail Tours to Québec City
Discover the history of French-speaking Canada
Québec City is the only fortified city north of Mexico City. The area celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008, having been founded by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1608. Few cities in North America have reached this milestone.
When Champlain chose the location of his settlement he named it 'Kébec', which was an indigenous word meaning 'place where the river becomes narrow'. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Québec City was the centre of New France and its enormous territory, which at the time covered all of Eastern Canada, the Eastern United States, the Great Lakes and Louisiana, extending from Hudson's Bay in the North to Florida in the South.
Champlain chose to build his first home at the foot of Cape Diamant, in a neighbourhood known today as Place-Royale. You can discover the history of this place, considered to be the cradle of French civilization in the Americas, at the Place-Royale Interpretation. From its origin as a fur trading post to its present status as Québec's provincial capital, Québec City has changed dramatically, but has been careful to preserve and restore elements from its past. Québec City was under French rule between 1608 and 1759, except for the period between 1627 and 1632, when the Kirke brothers controlled the city.