Quebec City, the capital of the province of Quebec, is located at the mouth of the St Lawrence, where it widens into the Gulf of St Lawrence. The Quebec City metropolitan area has a population of 671,000 though the city itself has 167,000 residents.
Quebec City is the only fortified city in North America, and was the cradle of French civilization in North America. The port was the gateway to the interior for ocean-going ships up until the mid-19th century; primarily for exports of fur and later lumber. The city has expanded and modernized, but has chosen to maintain and restore the Old Town, both along the River and up near the Citadel (the Old City is now a UNESCO world heritage site).
The city has lots of recreational avenues for its residents. The Plains of Abraham Park and historical monument, at the site of the 1759 battle, is now one of the continent’s largest urban parks, enjoyed by all. To the east of the city is the 83 metre Montmorency Falls (30 metres more than Niagara Falls) which can be seen close-up by a cable car. Residents also enjoy the annual Quebec City Winter Carnival, the celebration of winter in this northern city.
The Trans-Canada Highway passes along the south shore of theSt Lawrence River. Travellers should cross just west of Levi to see this historical city. If you want to get off the beaten path, drive along Route 132, which winds close to shore through many 400year old French villages.
Cyclists should travel along Route 132 from Montreal until they reach Riviere Du Loup. This route is relatively flat, and avoids the heavy truck traffic on the AutoRoute. You can catch a pedestrian ferry across the river from Levis to the Old Town of Quebec City, and return to your bikes on the south shore.