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Quebec is Canada’s second most-populous province and its largest geographically. This amalgam of wilderness, history and culture occupies a landscape three times the size of Texas. A French-speaking province, Quebec has the character of Europe paired with rugged North American beauty. Visitor guides for Quebec note four seasons, with the south and west sections of the country featuring milder, snowy winters and humid summers, while central and eastern Quebec are subarctic. Northern regions reach arctic lows over long winters.

Capital city Quebec dates to 1608. The walled Old City nestles by the Saint Lawrence and Saint-Charles Rivers as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Remarkably, 11 architectural styles of the 1700s show up, from Traditional French to Art Deco. A visit to Quebec would not be complete without the river view from cliffside Terrasse Dufferin, which winds beside postcard-perfect Chateau Frontenac, the grand hotel opened in 1893 to lure wealthy sightseers. In winter, you may start at this boardwalk and hop a toboggan as a high-speed thrill ride.

A top attraction in Quebec is Quebec City Café, with classic fare, a stone fireplace and a view of Rue du Petit-Champlain. The walls of this house, nestled by the famous “breakneck stairs” of 1635, are 340 years old.

A seven-hour road trip west leads to Gaspé Peninsula, with a remote gulf coastline, wave-beaten cliffs and Percé rock, a top natural attraction in Quebec.

Running the opposite direction, Chemin du Roy marks the first route from Quebec City to Montreal. In 1737 it was the longest road north of Rio Grande, conveying stagecoaches, sleighs and mail coaches in all seasons. Today, you can bicycle or drive this waterside route, admiring grand old maples, villages, churches and homes.

Arts lovers will want to visit cosmopolitan Montreal, Quebec’s largest city. The Symphony House, opened in 2011 to host the Metropolitan Orchestra and Montreal Symphony Orchestra, is known for crystalline acoustics. Old Town boasts multicultural roots, an array of museums and art galleries, and world-famous cuisine. Foodies visiting Montreal might want to try Victorian-housed Europea, winner of critical awards for multi-course fine dining.