Quebec City Region Hiking Trails Professional Review and Guide
"Under the French Regime, Québec City was Canada’s major urban centre and the seat of colonial administration. To supply the city and its administration, farming began in the surrounding countryside in the middle of the 17th century. The region around the city was also the first area of the St. Lawrence Valley to acquire a rural population. As a result, the area contains traces of the earliest seigneuries granted in New France.
The Haute-Ville (Upper Town) of Québec City is located on a 98m-high promontory called Cap aux Diamants (Cape Diamond), overhanging the St. Lawrence River, where it narrows to a mere 1km. In fact, it is this narrowing of the river that gives the city its name: in Algonquian, kebec means “place where the river narrows.” The heights of Cap aux Diamants dominate the river and surrounding countryside and offer a spectacular view. From the early days of New France, this rocky peak played an important strategic role and quickly became the site of major fortifications. Dubbed the “Gibraltar of North America,” today Québec City is the only walled city north of Mexico. The atmosphere and architecture of Québec City, once the cradle of New France, are more evocative of Europe than North America. Its narrow streets, flanked with beautiful stone houses, and the steeples of its many churches and religious institutions are reminiscent of New France."